Johnny Depp is “thrilled” to be directing his first film in 25 years, Modigliani, especially after winning his defamation lawsuit against his ex, Amber Heard, a source close to the actor told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Although he’s been filming other projects and working on his music, directing is something he’s wanted to get back into for a very long time now,” they noted. “He knows that Amber is still working to appeal the verdict, but he’s trying to not worry about that too much. He wholeheartedly trusts his legal team and knows they’ll do everything in their power to fight for him.”
As anyone following the case knows, Amber, 36, submitted an appeal to the Fairfax, Va. jury’s verdict after it largely ruled in favor of Johnny, 59, at the June 1 conclusion of their trial, which included weeks of testimony, including from Amber’s Aquaman colleague, Jason Momoa. Amber’s team formally declared their plan to appeal on June 24, and followed through with their promise on July 21. “We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment,” Amber’s spokesperson told HollywoodLife at the time. “We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.” Johnny appealed the $2 million verdict against him on July 22.
As the appeals are processed, Johnny has dived headfirst into work. He wrapped up a tour with world-famous guitarist Jeff Beck at the end of July and has been filming Jeanne du Barry in Paris. The film is expected to be the Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s first leading role following the trial.
“He’s so grateful that he’s been able to put all his focus into his passion of making music and working on films again,” the insider told HollywoodLife. “He couldn’t be more excited to be reuniting with Al Pacino on Modigliani (Modi) and he’s hopeful it’s going to be a huge success. He feels so privileged to be working on this film and it really does feel like the perfect project for him. Johnny can relate to several aspects of Modigliani‘s life, not only because of his love of painting, but also because he, too, has faced several misfortunes in his life which he was eventually able to overcome and triumph in the end.”
Modigliani is based on the play by Dennis McIntyre and follows a pivotal time in an artist’s life in 1916 Paris. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie is about Modigliani, who “navigates a turbulent and eventful 48 hours that will become a turning point in his life, ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend.”
“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Johhny told THR on Aug. 15. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”