“Jeanne Du Barry,” French director Maïwenn’s latest film starring Johnny Depp, has found a North American distributor in Vertical following its Cannes debut, an insider told IndieWire.
“Jeanne Du Barry” was the opening night film at the Cannes Film Festival last month, where it received a 7-minute standing ovation from the crowd at the Palais. But it was a controversial choice due to the continued rehabilitation of Depp’s career following the highly publicized libel trial between him and ex-wife Amber Heard, but also due to a report against Maïwenn who accused her of assaulting a reporter, a charge he later admitted.
The film stars Depp as the French King Louis XV in a supporting role and mostly follows Maïwenn as Jeanne Vaubernier, an 18th-century French working-class woman who became the mistress of King Louis XV. Here is the full synopsis:
“Jeanne du Barry” follows Jeanne Vaubernier (Maïwenn), a working-class woman determined to climb the social ladder, using her charm to escape her impoverished life. Her lover, the Count du Barry (Poupaud), wishes to introduce her to King Louis XV (Depp) and arranges a meeting through the influential Duke de Richelieu (Richard). The meeting goes far beyond his expectations because it was love at first sight for the king and Jeanne. Through this charming courtesan, the king rediscovers her appetite for her life and feels he can no longer live without her. Making Jeanne her last official mistress, scandal erupts as no one at court will accept a street girl into their rarefied world.
No specific release plans have been unveiled alongside the acquisition, and while the film may get a small theatrical release, Vertical will most likely give the film a VOD play. The distributor also picked up a package for an Emma Roberts comedy called “Hot Mess” from the Marché du Film.
Maïwenn also co-wrote, directed and produced the critically acclaimed film which also starred noted French actors Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud and Pascal Greggory. The co-writers are Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi and the film’s producers are Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat.
The film has already performed strongly at the French box office, grossing $4.1 million in two weeks, and Netflix even holds the French rights after its theatrical release. But a North American sale seemed less certain given Depp’s recent woes with Hollywood.
IndieWire’s Cannes review opined that despite Depp’s star power, the film is largely a showcase for Maïwenn’s acting, “for better or for worse”.
“Calling the style ‘self-infatuated’ is less a criticism than a simple statement of fact,” wrote IndieWire’s Ben Croll. “The author promises director and muse wrapped into one, with a voice louder and angrier than anyone else’s; when i’m not on screen, all the other characters tend to ask, Where is Maiwenn?”
While this takeover for “Jeanne du Barry” may not be a career comeback for Depp, even if Hollywood seems ready for it, the star was asked at the film’s press conference if she felt “boycotted” by Hollywood and said no. inclined to start his comeback tour.
“Did I hear a boycott from Hollywood? Well, you wouldn’t have to have a pulse to hear at that point, ‘None of this is happening, is this just a weird joke or I’ve been asleep for 35 years,’” Depp said during the Cannes press conference. “Of course, when you’re asked to step down from a movie you’re making, because of something that’s simply a bunch of vowels and consonants floating in the air, you hear a boycott.”
The production companies are Why Not Productions, France 2 Cinema, France 3 Cinema, La Petite Reine, Impala Productions, Les Films de Batna, In.2 Film and Les Films du Fleuve. Rounding out the talent below the line is cinematographer Laurent Dailland, editor Laure Gardette, production designer Angelo Zamparutti, costume designer Jürgen Doering and composer Stephen Warbeck.
“’Jeanne du Barry’ was by far the most talked about film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and we are thrilled to have emerged victorious in the competitive bid for the national rights to the cinematic artwork ( visually) stunning of Maïwenn’s Johnny Depp’s return to the big screen,” vertical partner Peter Jarowey said in a statement. .”
CAA Media Finance and Goodfellas jointly handled the North American sale. Jarowey and SVP of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal on Vertical’s behalf.
Variety first reported the news of the film’s sale in North America.