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Here’s how things unfolded during Johnny Depp’s red-carpet return following Amber Heard trial

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Johnny Depp was the center of attention at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, May 16, as he graced the red carpet for the premiere of his film Jeanne du Barry, which served as the opening event of the 76th annual festival. Accompanied by his co-star and the film’s director, Maïwenn, as well as other members of the production team, Depp delighted the swarm of fans in attendance by signing autographs and striking poses for selfies. 

In the biographical drama Jeanne du Barry, Depp assumes the role of King Louis XV, transporting audiences to 18th-century France. The French-language film narrates the remarkable journey of Jeanne Bécu (played by Maïwenn), the daughter of a destitute seamstress who ascended through the ranks of the Court of Louis XV to become his final official mistress.

Johnny Depp’s appearance at the film festival follows his highly publicized defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard. In 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post, revealing allegations of domestic abuse without explicitly naming Depp. In response, Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard, and in 2022, after weeks of courtroom proceedings, the jury ultimately ruled in Depp’s favor. The couple had been married for two years before their divorce in 2017. 

Thierry Fremaux, the head of the Cannes Film Festival, addressed the controversy surrounding Depp’s film being chosen as the festival’s opener in light of the trial. When questioned by reporters on Monday, Fremaux emphasized his personal philosophy of “freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to act under the law.” He further expressed that if there had been any restrictions on Depp’s involvement in the film or if the movie itself had faced a ban, it wouldn’t be a topic of discussion.

The Cannes Chief also added, “If there’s anyone in the world who wasn’t interested in this high-profile trial, it’s me. I don’t know what it is about. I’m interested in Johnny Depp as an actor.” 

Further intensifying the already electrifying atmosphere of Depp’s Cannes appearance, actor Mads Mikkelsen made his presence felt on the opening day of the festival. In 2020, Mikkelsen took over the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, originally portrayed by Depp. The franchise had replaced Depp following Heard’s accusation of domestic violence against the actor. Mikkelsen continued to portray the character in the 2022 film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

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