Johnny Depp is set to direct the biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, his second directorial outing and his first since his highly-publicised defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
“Modigliani” is reportedly based on the Dennis McIntyre play of the same name, and tells the story of the titular painter and sculptor as he navigates a turbulent 48 hours and cements his place as a titanic figure in the art world. Al Pacino and Barry Navidi are producing the film, while the European arm of production company Infinitum Nihil are lending financial backing.
In a statement, Depp said: “The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen. It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
The film marks Depp’s first directorial effort since 1997’s “The Brave,” which starred Depp alongside Marlon Brando in a neo-Western described by Variety as “turgid and unbelievable.” It also marks Depp’s latest effort to revive his career, which stalled during court proceedings between Depp and ex-wife, Amber Heard. In June, a jury found both parties to be guilty of defamation, her in a Washington Post opinion piece in which she described herself as a victim of domestic violence, and him in the subsequent attacks on Heard through his attorney.
Though Hollywood has since seemed reluctant to hire Depp, he has found work with production companies in Europe, and is due to star as King Louis XV in upcoming French drama Jeanne du Barry, a historical romance about the royal’s concubine.
Addressing the collaboration, producer Navidi said: “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.”