Johnny Depp will return to the Cannes Film Festival in 2023.

On Tuesday, the actor, 59, walked the red carpet at the event in Cannes, France, where his French-language picture Jeanne Du Barry, in which he plays King Louis XV opposite filmmaker Mawenn, opened the film festival.

Before heading to the red carpet, Depp stopped to sign autographs and pose for selfies with fans. He and the cast and crew of Jeanne Du Barry posed hand in hand. Mawenn, Depp, and the rest of the actors walked the red carpet to The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” As he entered the theater to take his seat, Depp was greeted with applause. “Go Johnny!” exclaimed one audience member.

His comeback film is set to be released in the United Kingdom one year after his contentious defamation battle with ex-wife Amber Heard over a 2018 op-ed she penned about coming forward with domestic abuse charges.

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The Cannes Film Festival’s president Thierry Fremaux addressed having Depp’s film start the festival, telling reporters on Monday: “I don’t know about Johnny Depp’s image in the United States.” To tell you the truth, I only have one rule in my life, and that is the freedom of thought, speech, and action within a legal framework.”

“If Johnny Depp had been barred from acting in a film or the film itself had been barred, we wouldn’t be here discussing it.” So we viewed Mawenn’s film, which could have competed. “She would have been the eighth female director,” Fremaux explained. “This [controversy] arose when the picture was announced at Cannes since everyone was aware that Johnny had shot a film in France… I’m not sure why she chose him, but that’s something you should ask Mawenn.”

“As for the rest, I’m the last person to be able to discuss all of this,” he continued. “If there’s one person in the world who didn’t care about this highly publicized trial, it’s me.” I’m not sure what it’s about. I also like Johnny Depp as an actor.”

Depp lost his U.K. libel trial in November 2020, in which he sued British tabloid The Sun for branding him a “wife-beater.” Heard, 37, testified in support of the claims, and a London court ruled that the claims were “substantially true.” His effort to overturn the decision was rejected in March 2021.

Separately, in a trial last year in Virginia, a jury ruled primarily with Depp. Heard won one of three allegations in her countersuit, while he won all three counts of slander he made against her. Both parties contested the ruling, but struck an agreement in December.

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Heard, who will pay $1 million as part of the settlement, stated at the time in a long statement: “I have made no admission.” This is not a sign of weakness. Moving forward, there are no constraints or gags on my voice.”

“We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was to bring the truth to light,” Depp’s lawyers said at the time.

In April, a source told PEOPLE that “filming was challenging, but Johnny is excited about the comeback.”


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