Johnny Depp to Make Directorial Comeback with Biopic “Modigliani”

After a hiatus of 25 years from directing, Johnny Depp is set to return to the director’s chair for the upcoming biographical drama, “Modigliani,” which explores the life of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. The film is being produced by Al Pacino and Barry Navidi, with backing from IN.2, the European division of the production company Infinitum Nihil.

Adapted from Dennis McIntyre’s play of the same name by screenwriters Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski, “Modigliani” is set in 1916 Paris and chronicles the life of the Italian-born painter and sculptor, Amedeo Modigliani. The film’s narrative revolves around a pivotal 48 hours in Modigliani’s life, during which he grapples with personal and artistic challenges, ultimately solidifying his reputation as a legendary artist.

In a statement, Johnny Depp expressed his deep honor and humility in bringing Mr. Modigliani’s life story to the screen. He emphasized that Modigliani’s life, marked by hardship and eventual triumph, is a universally relatable human story.

“Modigliani” represents Depp’s latest endeavor to revitalize his career, following his high-profile defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard. The trial concluded with both parties being found guilty of defamation. While Hollywood has been cautious about working with Depp, he has managed to secure roles with European production companies. He is also set to star as King Louis XV in French filmmaker Maïwenn’s upcoming historical romance drama, “Jeanne du Barry.”

“Jeanne du Barry” will mark Depp’s first major acting role since his appearance in the 2020 independent film “Minamata,” in which he portrayed war photographer W. Eugene Smith. In 2020, Depp exited the “Fantastic Beasts” series after losing a libel case against The Sun, which had characterized him as a “wife beater.” He was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Gellert Grindelwald for “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”

Johnny Depp, renowned for his roles in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Sweeney Todd,” made his directorial debut in 1997 with “The Brave,” a neo-Western that received mixed reviews. Since then, he has primarily focused on producing and executive producing films, including “Hugo,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Minimata.”

“Modigliani” also represents another collaboration between Al Pacino and Barry Navidi, who have previously worked together on films like “The Merchant Of Venice” (2004), “Wilde Salome” (2011), and “Salome” (2013).

Barry Navidi, speaking about the project, revealed that it had been close to Al Pacino’s heart for many years. He described “Modigliani” as a glimpse into Modi’s life rather than a conventional biography. Navidi expressed his dream of working with Johnny Depp again, praising him as a true artist with an extraordinary vision to bring this compelling story to the screen.

The news of Johnny Depp’s directorial comeback was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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