Why Johnny Depp Says He No Longer Feels Boycotted by Hollywood

Depp's French-language film, 'Jeanne du Barry,' opened the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday.

Johnny Depp is stepping back into the limelight. The actor made his highly publicized return to the Cannes Film Festival this week as his film, Jeanne du Barry, opened the 76th annual event

During a press conference on Wednesday, Depp remarked on what commentators have dubbed his "big-screen comeback" following the controversial defamation trial with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. 

"In regards to me and my life, the majority of what you’ve read is fantastically, horrifically written fiction," Depp told Deadline reporters. 

"Did I feel a boycott by Hollywood? Well, you’d have to not have a pulse to feel at that point, 'None of this is happening, it’s just a weird joke or I have been asleep for 35 years.' Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing, because of something that is merely a bunch of kind of vowels and consonants floating in the air, you feel a boycott," he continued. 

In 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post where she came forward with domestic abuse allegations, though she didn't mention Depp by name. Depp sued Heard in a $50 million defamation lawsuit, and in 2022, following weeks of back-and-forth in the courtroom, the jury ultimately sided with Depp. 

The couple had been married for two years before divorcing in 2017.

Amid his legal back-and-forth with Heard, Depp was dropped from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts. 

Now, Depp's lead role as King Louis XV in the biographical drama, Jeanne du Barry, marks his return to film after a three-year hiatus. The French-language film, set in the 18th century, tells the story of Jeanne Bécu (Maïwenn), the daughter of an impoverished seamstress who rose through the Court of Louis XV and became his last official mistress.

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Addressing the attention his newest project is receiving, Depp noted, "They’re using it as a kind of catchphrase. 'The guy’s making a comeback.' I’ve had about 17 comebacks by the way, apparently," he said.

"I keep wondering about the word ‘comeback’ because I didn’t go anywhere," Depp continued. "As a matter of fact, I live about 45 minutes away so, yeah. Maybe people stopped calling. I don’t know what their fear was at the time. I didn’t go nowhere. I’ve been sitting around. So 'comeback' is almost like I’m going to come out and do a tap dance or something like that."

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Depp didn't hold back from addressing online commentators who have questioned why Cannes would choose to open the 76th annual event with such a polarizing star. 

"What if they said to me, I cannot go to McDonald’s for life because somewhere if you got them all in one room, 39 people saw me watching me eat a Big Mac on a loop. Who are they? Why do they care? Some species or tower of mashed potatoes covered in light from a computer screen? Anonymous," Depp told reporters. 

Thierry Fremaux, head of the Cannes Film Festival, addressed the backlash of having Depp's film open the festival following his controversial trial.

"I do not know what Johnny Depp represents in the United States to tell you the truth. We are watching a film. You know, I have only one conduct in life. It is freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to act under the law. And so, if Johnny Depp had been barred from acting in a movie, and if that movie also had been banned, we wouldn't be talking about it," Fremaux told reporters on Monday. 

The Cannes Chief noted that Depp is "very extraordinary in the film for a role that was difficult." Addressing the trial, Fremaux continued, "Because 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."

For more pics from the Cannes Film Festival, check out ET's gallery: