One might think that Johnny Depp would be on his best behavior following his massive public trial earlier this year. But the actor is reportedly back to his formerly reported professional peccadillos on the set of his comeback project, Jeanne du Barry—formerly titled La Favorite.
Actor Bernard Montiel shared rumors from the set of the upcoming film on the French talk show Touche pas à mon poste! (Don’t Touch My TV Set!) in October, in a panel interview that’s recently begun to make the rounds in English-language media. The actor and commentator claimed that Depp and French director Maïwenn Le Besco, known by the mononym Maïwen, had been clashing.
“I’ve heard some noise from the shoot, very serious stuff,” Montiel said. “So, [Depp is] an excellent actor, when he comes on set, except sometimes at six in the morning the crew is ready, and nobody turns up. So of course, Maïwenn, who is the director, gets angry, and the next day she’s the one who doesn’t turn up. And you’ve got Johnny Depp, and she’s not there. It’s finished, over this week, [but] it’s going very, very badly. They don’t get on at all; they’re screaming at each other the whole time.”
Some might remember that Depp’s “constant lateness” was among a series of alleged complaints from the crew of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, shot in 2015 in Australia. According to a production dispatch from The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, “sources close to the production report tales of excessive drinking, physical fights with [Depp’s ex-wife, Amber] Heard and constant lateness on set, which often left hundreds of extras waiting for hours at a time.”
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer—who, sources told THR, frequently found himself strategizing with other higher-ups around Depp’s tardiness—told the outlet, “You’ve got to understand the kind of pressure Johnny was under in Australia… At times helicopters would follow him home. There would be so many media outside his gates that trucks were feeding them. There was so much stuff made up about him: that Johnny had a fight on set and had gone back to the States, which we both read about while we were in his trailer.”
Depp’s alleged chronic tardiness also came up during his defamation trial this year against Amber Heard. Tracey Jacobs, who testified that she worked as the actor’s agent for decades, claimed that she’d explained to Depp that his consistent lateness and substance use were hurting his career. CNN quoted Jacobs as saying, “His star had dimmed due to it getting harder to get him jobs given the reputation that he’d acquired due to his lateness and other things… People were talking and the question was out there about his behavior.”
This summer, Depp claimed in an explosive defamation trial that Heard had defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed; while she did not name him in the piece, she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The jury held Heard liable for over $10 million in damages but also awarded her $2 million, on the grounds that former Depp attorney Adam Waldman had defamed her by inaccurately calling her allegations a “hoax.”
Earlier this month, Heard announced that she’d made the “very difficult decision to settle” the case rather than move forward with her appeal; a source close to Depp told The Daily Beast at the time that Heard agreed to pay $1 million, a deal that precluded her paying the full $10 million.
News of Depp’s latest film role broke in January—after he’d lost his libel case against The Sun publisher News Group Newspapers in the UK over a piece that called him a “wife beater,” and before the Virginia trial this summer. Variety has also reported that Depp is set to play King Louis XV in the new film; director Maïwen, who’s also an actress, will star as his final mistress, after whom the film is named. Variety also noted that as a period piece, Jeanne du Barry is a new direction for Maïwenn, whose previous works—including DNA, Mon Roi, and Polisse—have all been contemporary. Netflix is set to license the new film for digital distribution in France after its theatrical release. No North American release has been announced.