Johnny Depp’s return to the big screen is all anyone seems to be talking about at the Cannes Film Festival this week.
Depp, 59, traveled to the annual French festival for the premiere of Jeanne du Barry, the actor’s first major film since his high-profile defamation case involving ex-wife Amber Heard in 2022. Not surprisingly, the arrival of the Pirates of the Caribbean star drew plenty of attention—from fans excited for a potential comeback and from critics who felt he shouldn’t have been invited because of Heard’s allegations of physical and verbal abuse.
Here’s a look at Depp’s whirlwind appearance, from the strong reactions to his new film to his candid comments about his recent legal turmoil.
What Did Depp Say about the Trial?
Depp hasn’t spoken much publicly since his trial with Heard ended in June 2022, but he opened up about the case and its effects on his career on Wednesday. Depp told the Associated Press much of what has been written about him in recent years is “fantastically, horrifically written fiction.”
For anyone who needs a quick refresher, the courtroom drama originated from an opinion article Heard wrote in The Washington Post in December 2018. In the piece, the 37-year-old actor said she “became a public figure representing domestic abuse” two years prior when she and Depp were still married.
Depp sued Heard for defamation and claimed that, though he was not named in the article, it cost him lucrative roles. According to Esquire UK, he and his agent claimed he was dropped from Disney’s popular Pirates film series and lost a fee of $22.5 million because of Heard’s allegations. In 2020, Depp was also let go from the Fantastic Beasts film franchise set in the Harry Potter universe.
Heard countersued Depp over comments made by his attorney about her abuse claims. The Aquaman star testified during the trial that Depp was physically and verbally abusive to her during their relationship and accused him of sexual violence, according to CNN. In the end, a jury found both liable for defamation—Heard on three counts—and awarded Depp $15 million in total damages. Heard was awarded only $2 million.
At Cannes, Depp said he believes he came out of the ordeal stronger: “Not for a moment will I regret anything unless I’ve done something horrible to someone, which I haven’t. I’m not going to regret being taken down a strange road for that period of time, because I learned so much more about myself.”
How Were Depp and the Film Received at Cannes?
At least at Cannes, the reception for Depp has been very warm. According to ABC News, fans swarmed the actor for autographs and held signs that read “Viva Johnny!” at the premiere of Jeanne du Barry, which opened the festival.
The film, which stars director Maïwenn in the title role as the mistress of King Louis XV, is completely in French and doesn’t have distribution in the United States currently. Critic response hasn’t been favorable, with a BBC reviewer calling the film a “dull period soap opera” and panning Depp for giving minimum effort as the French king.
But that was hardly the sentiment inside the theater. When the film ended, Depp received a seven-minute standing ovation for his performance, according to Variety, and had to hold back tears as he waved from the balcony.
At the festival, Depp is also seeking financing for a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani that he hopes to shoot later this year, according to ABC News.
When reporters asked Depp about his future, he said he intends to continue making films but outside the studio system. He added that he has “no further need for Hollywood.”
“Do I feel a boycott now? No, not at all,” Depp said. “I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood, because I don’t think about Hollywood.”
What’s the Deal With Depp’s Teeth?
Depp’s presence at Cannes was enough to cause a stir, but his teeth are at the center of an unlikely firestorm as well. Fans on social media have reacted in disgust to photos from the premiere showing the actor’s discolored chompers.
“Johnny Depp’s teeth are literally ROTTING,” one person tweeted Wednesday, according to Page Six, with another likening his mouth to “bacterial biological warfare.”
Naturally, Depp’s past comments about his questionable dental hygiene have resurfaced. “I’ve got loads of cavities,” the actor said during a 1995 interview with Premiere magazine. “When I see people with perfect teeth, it drives me up the wall. I’d rather swallow a tick than have that!”
Luckily for Depp, celebrity dentist Dr. Michael Apa told Page Six he doesn’t believe the star’s teeth are actually rotting. However, they do show signs of aggressive wear and tear and are in need of a good cleaning.
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.