EXCLUSIVE: France’s Why Not Productions has unveiled a playful first teaser image (above) of Johnny Depp in the role of King Louis XV in French director Maïwenn’s historical love story Jeanne du Barry, in which she also co-stars as the titular courtesan.
Rust And Bone and A Prophet production company Why Not has also confirmed that shoot began on July 26 for 11 weeks, with locations including Versailles and other chateaux in the Paris region as well as the studio.
The production marks Depp’s first feature film role in three years, and follows hot on the heels of his victory in his turbulent defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
The ambitious drama is freely inspired by the life of Jeanne du Barry, Louis XV’s last royal mistress at the Court of Versaille, after Madame de Pompadour.
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Born into poverty, she is a young working-class woman hungry for culture and pleasure who uses her intelligence and allure to climb the rungs of the social ladder one by one.
She becomes Louis XV’s favorite companion. Unaware of her status as a courtesan, he regains his appetite for life thanks to their relationship. They fall madly in love. Against all propriety and etiquette, Jeanne moves to Versailles, where her arrival scandalizes the court.
Further cast members include Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud, Noémie Lvovsky, Pascal Greggory and India Hair.
Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat’s Why Not is lead producing with IN2 and France Télévisions also on board as producers.
The French-language period drama was an intriguing package at Cannes this May for French sales powerhouse Wild Bunch International. Le Pacte is handling French distribution.
Jeanne du Barry is Maïwenn’s sixth feature and most ambitious production to date after Cannes 2011 Jury Prize winner Polisse; My King, for which Emmanuelle Bercot won best actress in Cannes in 2015, and semi-autobiographical work DNA, which was feted with Cannes special 2020 label.
As well as directing and co-starring, Maïwenn also co-wrote the screenplay with Teddy Lussi-Modeste.
Key crew include cinematographer Laurent Dailland, production designer Angelo Zamparutti, costume designer Yurgen Doering, John Nollet on hair design, Tom Pécheux on make-up and Nicolas Provost on sound. Stephen Warbeck is composing the original music.
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