Johnny Depp Set to Direct First Movie in 25 Years

Johnny Depp has been tapped to direct a movie called Modigliani, a biopic about the famed Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. This will be the first time in two and a half decades that Depp has directed a movie, and one of his first major projects since his sensational lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. According to a report by Variety, it will be a star-studded, distinguished film.

Modigliani is an adaptation of a stage play by the same name. It takes place in Paris, France in 1916 and examines Modigliani's life as a painter and sculptor. The film's synopsis says that Modigliani, "long considered by himself a critical and commercial failure, navigates a turbulent and eventful 48 hours that will become a turning point in his life, ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend."

Depp is not the only American A-lister attached to this project. Al Pacino is reportedly producing the movie, along with Barry Navidi. The original play was written by Dennis McIntyre and the screenplay adaptation was written by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski. Depp issued a statement on Monday upon the announcement of the project.

"The saga of Mr. Modigliani's life is one that I'm incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen," he said. "It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with."

Depp may have been alluding to his own publicity efforts there, as the actor has reportedly struggled to find any work in Hollywood itself. Depp sued Heard for defamation, claiming that her 2018 op-ed about spousal abuse for The Washington Post damaged his career. In order to make his case, Depp and his legal team had to rehash every gory detail of his marriage to Heard, and the public ate up every second of it.

Depp won the lawsuit, but the topic of his marriage to Heard did not become less contentious by any means. Fans still debate every aspect of their relationship on social media and defend one or the other in extensive comment threads. Modigliani's commercial and critical performance will undoubtedly be influenced by these discussions just as Heard's upcoming projects will be.

Depp's collaborators are surely aware of that, but so far Pacino hasn't made a direct statement. However, Navidi told reporters: "This project has been very close to Al's heart. 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."