Johnny Depp Historical Drama ‘Jeanne du Barry’ to Debut in American Theaters This May

Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB

Johnny Depp’s latest film, Jeanne du Barry, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. The first movie he starred in since his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard concluded in June 2022, the actor portrayed French King Louis XV. While critics report the release is mediocre at best, Jeanne du Barry‘s premiere earned Depp a seven-minute standing ovation, and it appears audiences in the United States will soon get to judge the release for themselves.

Johnny Depp as Louis XV in 'Jeanne du Barry'
Jeanne du Barry, 2023. (Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB)

Produced by France’s Why Not Production, Jeanne du Barry is a historical drama that sees Johnny Depp co-starring alongside director Maïwenn Le Besco, who does double duty as the titular character Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry. The film covers the facets of the pair’s romantic relationship, which led du Barry to become Louis XV‘s final mistress.

Filming began in France in July 2022, with the first teaser image of Depp as Louis XV released the following month. Production took place throughout the country, including in Paris, at Versailles and in the Île-de-France region. Costing over €10 million, it wound up being one of the most expensive French movies of the year.

Jeanne du Barry was screened as the opening movie at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2023, a decision that led to backlash, due to the allegations made against Depp by his ex-wife during their defamation trial. Controversy has also arisen over Maïwenn’s involvement, after she admitted to assaulting Mediapart magazine Editor-In-Chief Edwy Plenel that March.

Despite the negative attention Jeanne du Barry and its cast received prior to Cannes, the film premiered as scheduled, with Depp receiving a seven-minute standing ovation from the audience. In a video shared to Twitter by Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh, the actor can be seen holding his hands over his face to cover his tears, before hugging Maïwenn.

Jeanne du Barry debuted in French cinemas the same day it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Critics weighed in on the movie, with many giving it a lukewarm reception.

The Hollywood Reporter called it “kind of bland,” writing, “Even the casting – some would say stunt casting – of Johnny Depp as the king offers a few early thrills and then mostly yawns, with Depp dishing out what feels like a total of a dozen lines in respectable French, while otherwise remaining mute. His performance isn’t bad, and neither is Maïwenn’s in the lead role. But the two of them, like the movie, rarely get our pulse racing.”

Deadline added there’s to be a lack of on-screen passion between Depp and Maïwenn, while The Guardian wrote, “Louis and Jeanne are not entirely credible as a love story, perhaps because of the cynicism in which they are both complicit and perhaps because the performances are a little opaque.”

Thierry Frémeaux, a film critic and the director of Cannes, went against the grain, calling Jeanne du Barry a “beautiful film” and “a success,” adding that “Johnny Depp is magnificent in it.”

Still from 'Jeanne du Barry'
Jeanne du Barry, 2023. (Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB)

Louis XV, known as “Louis the Well-Beloved,” was the King of France from September 1, 1715, until his death on May 10, 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, when he was just five years old. His rule was characterized by corruption, as well as a number of wars that provided little gain for France.

Starting in 1732, Louis XV began to take on several mistresses, the most famous of which was Madame de Pompadour, who also served as his political advisor. He later met Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry, a commoner and prostitute who wished to rise up the social ladder. She quickly became his favorite companion, and her arrival in Versailles caused great scandal.

du Barry was disliked by many, most notably Marie Antoinette. Despite this, she remained with Louis XV until his death. She was later executed, by guillotine, during the French Revolution on charges of treason, which spanned from claims made by her page. It was alleged she assisted émigrés in fleeing during the country’s unrest.

Still from 'Jeanne du Barry'
Jeanne du Barry, 2023. (Photo Credit: yassi / MovieStillsDB)

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It has since been announced that Jeanne du Barry will premiere in 500 American movie theaters on May 2, 2024.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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