news Johnny Depp Returns to Directing with Modigliani Biopic, Al Pacino Co-Producing

Johnny Depp is returning both in front of and behind the camera.

After a first look image of Depp transforming into King Louis XV for “Jeanne du Barry,” The Hollywood Reporter announced the Oscar winner will be helming his second feature film, 25 years after Depp directed himself and Marlon Brando in 1997’s “The Brave.”

Depp directs upcoming biopic “Modigliani” inspired by the life of painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, with the film co-produced by fellow Academy Award winner Al Pacino and Barry Navidi. Based on a play by Dennis McIntyre and adapted for the screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski (“The Pledge”), “Modigliani” focuses on two days in Paris that marked a watershed moment for Modigliani’s career in 1916.

Production will begin in Europe in Spring 2023, with casting to be announced shortly.

“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Depp said in a press statement. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”

Depp additionally produces the film for IN.2, the European arm of his production company Infinitum Nihil. Fellow producers Pacino and Navidi have previously collaborated on films “The Merchant of Venice” and “Wilde Salomé.” Navidi previously served as a production consultant on Depp’s “The Brave,” as well as “Don Juan de Marco.”

“This project has been very close to Al’s heart,” Navidi stated. “Al introduced me to the play ‘Modigliani’ many years ago and I instantly fell in love with it. 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 “comeback” in Hollywood has long been debated amid his defamation trial victory over ex-wife Amber Heard. While rumors of Depp returning to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise have been thwarted (at least for now), Dior re-upped his contract as a brand ambassador for their fragrance.

Depp has not appeared in a film since 2020’s “Minamata,” which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020. Depp portrayed photojournalist Eugene Smith, who traveled to Minamata, Japan, in the 1970s to document the effects of mercury poisoning stemming from pollution by the Chisso chemical company. Depp also produced the film.