Versailles Drama ‘Jeanne du Barry’: Johnny Depp’s Fraught Return to Cinema

Versailles Drama ‘Jeanne du Barry’: Johnny Depp’s Fraught Return to Cinema
Maïwenn’s Jeanne du Barry opened this year’s 76th Cannes Film Festival, and it’s already drumming up much publicity due to one of its stars: Johnny Depp. In Jeanne du Barry, Depp plays French King Louis XV (1710-1774). The king becomes infatuated with a courtesan who visits Versailles, Jeanne du Barry (Maïwenn), and later falls in love with her – much to the dismay of the royal court and his disapproving daughters, whose mother, the Queen, Marie Leszczyńska, has just died. Jeanne Vaubernier – who later becomes Jeanne du Barry through marriage – is a working-class woman from humble beginnings, and it’s believed she’s not suitable for court life at Versailles. She comes from nothing but is a determined social climber who desires a better life than the one she was born into. “Jeane du Barry” film poster. Photo credit: Cannes Film Festival press office As the film’s narrator says at the beginning of the story, a girl who comes from nothing is prepared for anything. We learn that Jeanne is the illegitimate child of a monk, and her mother, Anne, does what she can to support Jeanne and provide for the pair. Jeanne’s introduction to the king through a friend is all it takes to radically change the course of her life. Johnny Depp as King Louis XV demonstrates not only his French language abilities, but also his silver screen comeback. The film marks Depp’s return to cinema following a highly publicized trial with ex-wife Amber Heard, which included allegations of abuse. As a result, Jeanne du Barry’s inclusion in the festival programming was not without its critics. While the film is Depp’s first leading role in three years, he dismisses the idea that it’s a comeback. Speaking at the Cannes press conference for the film, Depp said, “I keep wondering about the word ‘comeback.’ I didn’t go anywhere…Maybe people stopped calling out of whatever their fear was at the time. But I didn’t go nowhere.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Festival de Cannes (@festivaldecannes)

Lead photo credit : Jeane du Barry. Photo credit: Cannes Film Festival press office

More in Cannes, Cannes film festival, Jeanne du Barry, Johnny Depp, King Louis XV

Previous Article Register for Bonjour Paris Live: The Siege of Paris: a Conversation With David Lawday
Next Article Paris Vignettes: Unique Objects

Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.