After 25 years, Johnny Depp has plans to make a return behind the camera. The actor is set to direct Modigliani, a biopic about the masterful Italian painter and sculptor. Filming on the project will reportedly begin in Europe in 2023, with casting to be announced imminently.
“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” said Depp, per The Hollywood Reporter. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph—a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
The film, which is based on a play by Dennis McIntyre and adapted for the screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski, marks Depp’s first at the helm since he directed himself and Marlon Brando in 1997's The Brave. Set in Paris in 1916, Modigliani will follow the artist over an influential 48 hour period in his young life.
Depp is producing the film through his IN.2 banner, the European branch of his production company Infinitum Nihil. Al Pacino and Barry Navidi are set to co-produce alongside Depp.
“This project has been very close to Al’s heart. Al introduced me to the play Modigliani many years ago and I instantly fell in love with it,” said Navidi. “This is a slice of Modi’s life and not a bio. It’s been a dream of mine to work with Johnny again–he’s a true artist with an amazing vision to bring this great story to the screen.”
Depp’s newest endeavor comes amid a variety of career moves he’s made since winning his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp was awarded $10 million in a motion that accused Heard of defaming him in a 2019 Washington Post op-ed where she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Beyond his directorial (re-)debut, Depp has also recently performed potentially ripped-off rockabilly music with Jeff Beck, and signed a seven-figure contract to become the face of Dior’s Sauvage cologne. Depp even nodded not-so-discreetly to the trial by joining TikTok, home to some of his most avid fans, and thanking them for their support in a compilation video. Depp may be grateful for social media’s rallying cry around him, but hopefully his TikTok affirmation doesn’t lay groundwork for the fan-cam-ification of future serious legal proceedings, celebrity or otherwise.