Johnny Depp’s Directing a Pic with Pacino as Amber Heard Fires Lawyers

Al Pacino will co-produce Depp’s first directing effort in 25 years, to go along with the many other fortunes that have befallen him lately

Everything is still turning up aces for Johnny Depp as the comeback king adds his second-ever feature film directing credit to his growing list of post-defamation victory spoils—following rock and roll gigs, sold-out art shows, a cologne campaign, and a role in a French indie as Louis XV.

Depp is set not only to direct the flick, but to double-threat it by acting in the thing too, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Al Pacino and Barry Navidi will co-produce.

It’s Depp’s first feature directing job in 25 years, when he directed himself and Marlon Brando in The Brave.

The film, titled Modigliani, will tell the story of a critical 48 hours in the life of the Italian-born painter and sculptor Amadeo Modigliani in 1916 Paris. Much of the artists’ work was not accepted during his lifetime, but became sought-after posthumously. He died at age 35.

The film is based on a play by Dennis McIntyre and was adapted for the screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski.

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

Production is expected to begin in Europe in spring 2023. Currently, Depp is filming Jeanne du Barry where he plays the French King Louis XV.

Amber Heard, meanwhile, continues her legal slog. She’s appealed the defamation verdict that ordered her to $10.35 in damages to Depp for statements she made in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed about being a survivor of domestic abuse. But now she wants to change horses for the next race, hiring a new legal team ahead of her appeal, according to the Wrap.

Elaine Bredehoft is out, David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr are in. Fan favorite Ben Rottenborn, who also represented Heard during the trial, will stay on.

The new attorneys know a thing or two about defamation—they defended the New York Times in a defamation suit brought by Sarah Palin earlier this year, which she lost.

“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American,” Axelrod and Brown said in a statement to the media. “We’re confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.”

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