Appearing at the Cannes Film Festival the day after premiering his first film in three years, Johnny Depp said Wednesday that he has "no further need" for Hollywood.
Depp made a rare public appearance to face questions from the press following the opening-night premiere of "Jeanne du Barry," in which Depp plays King Louis XV. The French film, directed by and starring Maïwenn and featuring a French-speaking Depp, is the actor's first film since a jury last year largely sided with him in his legal battle with his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Part of Depp's argument in that 2022 defamation trial was that he had lost work due to Heard's allegations. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10 million in damages, vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage. Heard was also awarded $2 million.
"Did I feel boycotted by Hollywood? You’d have to not have a pulse to feel like, ‘No. None of this is happening. It’s a weird joke,’" Depp told reporters. "When you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing because of something that is merely a function of vowels and consonants floating in the air, yes, you feel boycotted."
Depp was most notably asked to step down from the "Harry Potter" spin-off franchise "Fantastic Beasts." Now, though, he says he's not interested in returning to studio projects.
"I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood, because I don’t think about Hollywood. I don't have much further need for Hollywood, myself," Depp said. "It’s a strange, funny time where everybody would love to be able to be themselves, but they can’t. They must fall in line with the person in front of them. If you want to live that life, I wish you the best."
Maïwenn and Johnny Depp attend the "Jeanne du Barry" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
"Jeanne du Barry" opened Tuesday in French cinemas. It doesn’t have U.S. distribution as of yet.
The "Jeanne du Barry" press conference was among the most circus-like in recent years at Cannes. The press conference began unusually late and started with Maïwenn and other cast members there, but no Depp. He arrived about 20 minutes in, and quickly took the spotlight.
Depp called the majority of what's been written about him in recent years "fantastically, horrifically written fiction."
"It’s like asking the question: ‘How are you doing?’ But the subtext is, 'God, I hate you,'" said Depp.
Some have debated whether Cannes ought to have given Depp such a prominent platform. Asked how he would respond to such critics, Depp made a comparison that suggested few people feel that way.
"What if one day, they did not allow me to go to McDonald's for life because somewhere there’d be 39 angry people watching me eat a Big Mac on a loop?" pondered Depp. "Who are they? What do they care?"
"I’ve had my 17th comeback, apparently," said Depp. "I keep wondering about the word ‘comeback.’ I didn’t go anywhere. As a matter of fact, I live about 45 minutes away. Maybe people stopped calling out of whatever their fear was at the time. But I didn’t go nowhere."