Cannes Film Festival chief on Johnny Depp controversy: ‘If he was banned, we wouldn't be talking about it'
Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux talks about comments of Adele Haenel, and Johnny Deep being a part of the festival.
Cannes Film Festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux has responded to the controversy surrounding the festival. He said he saw Johnny Depp and his film only as an actor, and a film, adding that if the film was banned, there would have been no discussion around Johnny at the festival. Cannes Film Festival opens on May 16 and will go on till May 27. (Also read: Controversies galore at Cannes Film Festival 2023, but these are nothing new)
The festival opens with the premiere of Johnny Depp's film, Jeanne du Barry directed by Maïwenn. According to an AP report, the festival chief was asked about the selection of Jeanne du Barry as the festival's opening film, and he said, " I don’t know about the image of Johnny Depp in the US. To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it’s the freedom of thinking, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to act within a legal framework. If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or the film was banned we wouldn’t be here talking about it.”
He added, "So we saw Maiwenn’s film and it could have been in competition. She would have been the eighth female director. This [controversy] came up once the film was announced at Cannes because everybody knew Johnny had made a film in France…I don’t know why she chose him but it’s a question you should ask Maiwenn.”
The film marks the first outing of Johnny Depp since his high-profile trial with his ex-wife Amber Heard. Both parties accused each other of physical and verbal abuse and Johnny was awarded $10 million in damages while Amber got $2 million.
French actor Adele Haenel recently wrote an open letter to announce that she quit acting as a protest against the response of the French film industry to MeToo allegations. She featured in the 2019 Cannes entry Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Talking about Adele Haenel, Thierry said that people “use Cannes to talk about certain issues and it’s normal because we give them a platform. But if you thought that it’s a festival for rapists, you wouldn’t be here listening to me, you would not be complaining that you can’t get tickets to get into screenings.”