Modigliani: Johnny Depp to direct first film in 25 years; Al Pacino to co-produce the biopic on the Italian artist and sculptor


Fresh off his victory in the Amber Heard defamation suit, Johnny Depp is all set to direct a movie 25 years after he made his first, a neo-Western in which he co-starred with Marlon Brando, reports Variety. Depp's directorial debut film, The Brave (1997), was panned by critics and it also tanked commercially. The actor will now return behind the camera, with Al Pacino acting as producer, for Modigliani, a biographical drama about Italian artist and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, who lived between 1884 and 1920.

It is being viewed as an attempt by Depp to restart his life after having seen Hollywood steer clear of him and being left with only European projects, notably French filmmaker Maiwenn's upcoming film Jeanne du Barry, a historical romance drama about a royal's concubine, in which he plays the controversial King Louis XV, notes 'Variety'. Jeanne du Barry will be Depp's first major acting role since the 2020 independent film Minamata, in which he played war photographer W. Eugene Smith.

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The same year, Depp was forced by Warner Bros. to exit the Harry Potter spinoff series Fantastic Beasts after he lost his libel case against the British tabloid 'The Sun', which had characterized Depp as a "wife beater". Mads Mikkelson replaced Depp as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beast: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Modigliani, based on American playwright Dennis 'National Anthems' McIntyre's play of the same name, takes place in 1916 Paris. McIntyre, who died at the age of 47 in 1990. was famous in his lifetime for highlighting the ills of American society in his plays. The original play has been adapted for screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski. The film's publicity release says Modigliani, "long considered by himself a critical and commercial failure, navigates a turbulent and eventful 48 hours that will become a turning point in his life, ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend."

In another statement, also quoted by 'Variety', Depp said: "The saga of Mr Modigliani's life is one that I'm incredibly honoured, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen. It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph -- a universally human story all viewers can identify with."