French writer/director/actress Maïwenn, née Maïwenn Lo Besco, has admitted to assaulting a journalist amid an ongoing lawsuit.
The “Jeanne du Barry” director and star is the subject of legal action taken by Edwy Plenel, the editor-in-chief of Mediapart magazine. Plenel alleged Maïwenn pulled his hair and spat in his face while dining at a Paris restaurant. The reporter filed a police report on March 7 and cited that the encounter took place in late February.
In a new live TV interview on nightly talk show “Quotidien,” Maïwenn addressed the assault allegations.
“Can you confirm? Can you say more?” host Yann Barthès asked the filmmaker (via Deadline).
“Can I confirm that I assaulted him, or that I received a complaint?” Maïwenn responded before clarifying, “I didn’t receive a complaint. I learned about it in the press.”
Barthès inquired, “And did you assault him?”
Maïwenn said, “Yes,” before sidestepping the details. “Nice try, but it’s not the moment for me to talk about it. I’ll talk about it when it’s the right moment. I am very anxious about the launch of my film,” she concluded.
Maïwenn’s “Jeanne du Barry” is opening the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Controversial actor Johnny Depp stars as Louis XV, with Maïwenn playing his titular lover. She said that she did not “hesitate” to cast Depp in the role despite the domestic violence allegations shared by ex-wife Amber Heard.
“Very quickly I said, he lost the first trial, he won the second,” Maïwenn explained. “We could say it was one person’s word against another. I didn’t feel I had the right to judge.”
She admitted to not wanting to come across like a “groupie” when first meeting with Depp to discuss the film prior to his casting.
“I gathered myself for five minutes beforehand to make sure I didn’t go in with ‘a groupie’ head but rather a director head, to really see if I could see him in the role,” she shared. “I only spoke French…He was fantastic in the film. He was really invested. He speaks really good French and knows all of French history.”
Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux stood by the “Jeanne du Barry” as the opening night film, saying in April, “I don’t see Maïwenn’s film as a controversial choice at all, because if Johnny Depp had been banned from working it would have been different, but that’s not the case. We only know one thing, it’s the justice system and I think he won the legal case. But the movie isn’t about Johnny Depp.”