Johnny Depp is addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding his latest film “Jeanne du Barry.”
Oscar nominee Depp shared during the film’s Cannes press conference on Wednesday that he does not “feel boycotted” personally by Hollywood anymore — even despite protests around his latest film in Cannes.
“Did I feel a boycott by Hollywood? Well, you’d have to not have a pulse to feel at that point, ‘None of this is happening, it’s just a weird joke or I have been asleep for 35 years,'” Depp said during the Cannes press conference. “Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing, because of something that is merely a bunch of kind of vowels and consonants floating in the air, you feel a boycott.”
Depp has previously been outspoken about being a victim of cancel culture surrounding the abuse allegations from ex-wife Amber Heard; Depp won a defamation suit in 2022 against the “Aquaman” actress.
He added, “Do I feel a boycott now? No, not at all. I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood because I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t have much further need for Hollywood myself. I think it’s a very strange, funny time where everybody wants to be themselves, but they can’t, they must fall in line, conform and if you want to lead this life, I’ll be on the other side.”
Depp leads writer/director/star Maïwenn’s French royal period piece “Jeanne du Barry.” Maïwenn has been accused of assaulting a French journalist, which she seemingly admitted to during her own press tour.
“You believe what you believe. The truth is the truth,” Depp said. “Maybe people talk about the film in this way or they’ll talk about your work in a certain way, but the fact is they’re all here because we made a film, not because we have a product to sell but we made a film.”
Depp continued, “I was surprised to be chosen for this role. Yeah, I thought someone had made a terrible mistake. Maybe you want to try a French guy as King Louis. She thought about it for a second. I thought about it for a second. It was brave of her to choose some hillbilly from Kentucky.”
As for his own image being reflected in the role, Depp added, “You need to figure out a way that the viewer can forget who you are, all the baggage you carry… that was my biggest hope that the viewer would forget who had in front of him.”
Depp called the recent claims on his character “fantastically, horrifically written fiction” amid his losing roles, such as in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.
“The majority of you who have been reading for the last five or six years, with regards to me and my life — the majority of what you’ve read is fantastically, horrifically written fiction,” Depp said. “The fact is, we’re here to talk about the film. But it’s like asking the question, ‘How are you doing?’ But what’s underneath in the subtext is, ‘God, I hate you.’ That’s the sort of media thing.”
Even fielding questions over his presence at Cannes is further proof of such bias, Depp noted.
“The focus should be about the fact that it’s a miracle to get a film made that you care about in the first place, so you succeed right there. But to get a film like this made and with the caliber of people and the vision of a forward-moving artist, that should be the real focus,” the “Edward Scissorhands” star said of the “Jeanne du Barry” Cannes premiere. “All this stuff that you can stuff your shoes with or line your parrot cage with [is irrelevant].”
As for calls for Depp to be banned from the festival, he said, “So we’re talking theoretically, what would I do if people didn’t want me to come to the Cannes Film Festival? What if one day they did not allow me, under no circumstances, no matter what, I cannot go to McDonald’s for life? Because somewhere, if you’ve got them all in one room, there would be 39 angry people watching me eat a Big Mac on a loop just for fun. Who are they? Why do they care? Some kind of some species, some tower of mashed potatoes, covering the light of a computer screen, anonymous with apparently a lot of spare time. I don’t think I’m the one that should be worried. People should really think what it’s all about really.”
But Depp still isn’t considering his 2023 Cannes premiere part of a “comeback” of any kind.
“I’ve had about 17 comebacks, apparently,” Depp summed up. “I keep wondering about the word ‘comeback,’ because I didn’t go anywhere,” Depp said. “As a matter of fact, I live about 45 minutes away. Maybe people stopped calling. I don’t know what their fear was at the time. I didn’t go nowhere. I’ve been sitting around. So ‘comeback’ is almost like I’m going to come out and do a tap dance or something like that.”
Reporting by Eric Kohn.