This time last year, millions of Americans were consumed by the never-ending drama surrounding one of the most shocking celebrity trials of all time.
As you probably recall, Johnny Depp successfully sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation, alleging that the actress cost him millions when she referred to herself as a survivor of domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed piece for the Washington Post.
The trial included countless shocking allegations of abusive behavior from both parties, and it seemed that despite the outcome, Depp had only damaged his career further by filing suit against Heard.
But surprisingly, the once-beloved screen icon was soon back to work.
Immediately after the trial concluded, Depp joined guitarist Jeff Beck as part of the backing band for what would turn out to be the rock legend’s final world tour.
And now, Depp might be in the early stages of a cinematic comeback, thanks to a second chance offered by filmmaker who’s far removed from Hollywood.
Controversial French actress and director Maïwenn has cast Depp her Louis XV in her new historical drama, Jeanne du Barry, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday night.
Multiple outlets have reported that Depp was greeted with rapturous praise on the red carpet, and the film received a seven-minute standing ovation after it concluded.
But not everyone was thrilled with Depp’s return to the silver screen.
On social media, victims’ rights advocates used the hashtag #CannesYouNot to protest Depp’s warm reception at the iconic French festival.
“The Depp v. Heard trial became the vehicle through which the backlash against the #MeToo movement went viral. Hollywood industries seem to be riding that backlash to return to the status quo,” one protestor told Variety.
“To open your festival with Johnny Depp? To be frank, it feels like a slap in the face.”
Actress Brie Larson, who is one of the judges at this year’s festival, refused to comment on whether or not she planned to see Depp’s film.
“You’ll see, I guess, if I will see it,” Larson said. “And I don’t know how I’ll feel about it if I do.”
As for Depp’s performance as Louis XV, critics seem to be divided.
“His performance isn’t bad, and neither is Maïwenn’s in the lead role. But the two of them, like the movie, rarely get our pulse racing,” wrote Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter.
“His French is not too shabby, but his regal gravitas is nonexistent, and he only truly looks at home in the role during occasional bouts of clowning, which hardly help sell his casting as an inspired choice,” added The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin.
“It would be a stretch to say this feels like the first spark of a glorious comeback.”
A French-language period piece probably won’t be the project to reignite Depp’s sputtering career.
But the film serves as a reminder that despite his long record of appalling behavior, Depp will probably never have trouble finding work.