Johnny Depp returned to the international stage for the first time in three years, appearing on the red carpet at the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival.
He received a seven-minute long standing ovation and signed autographs and took selfies with fans before the premiere of Jeanne du Barry, in which he plays Louis XV alongside actress and director Maïwenn.
The French-language film tells the story of a woman – played by Maïwenn – born into poverty, who becomes the French king’s final mistress.
It is Depp’s first major role since a series of high-profile court battles with his ex-wife Amber Heard.
He was dropped from the Fantastic Beasts franchise three years ago after losing a libel case with a newspaper that called him a wife-beater.
Last year he won a defamation case against Heard after she called herself a victim of abuse in the Washington Post.
On Monday festival director Thierry Fremaux said he was not interested in Depp’s legal woes, adding: “I am interested in Depp the actor.”
Johnny Depp: I don’t need Hollywood
Speaking at a press conference to promote the film, Depp told journalists: “I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood. I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t need Hollywood.”
“Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing because of something that’s merely a bunch of vowels and consonants floating in the air… Do I feel boycotted now? No, not at all. But I don’t feel boycotted because I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t feel much further need for Hollywood — I don’t know about you.”
Depp also expressed that he’s not interested in the media’s interpretation of his return to the big screen, questioning why his resurgence is being characterized as a comeback.
“I keep wondering about the word ‘comeback,’ because I didn’t go anywhere,” Depp noted in the press conference. “I live about 45 minutes away.”
“Maybe people stopped calling out of whatever their fear was at the time. But I didn’t go nowhere. I’ve been sitting around. ‘Comeback’ is almost like I’m going to come out and do a tap dance — dance my best and hope you approve. That’s the notion. It’s a bizarre mystery.”
“It’s a very strange, funny time when everyone would love to be themselves, but they can’t because they must fall in line with the person in front of them,” Depp said. “If you want to follow that line, be my guest. I’ll be on the other side.”
Depp acknowledged what has been written about him in the press conference, offering “The majority of you who have been reading for the last five or six years, with regards to me and my life — the majority of what you’ve read is fantastically, horrifically written fiction,” he explained.
“The fact is, we’re here to talk about the film. But it’s like asking the question, ‘How are you doing?’ But what’s underneath in the subtext is, ‘God, I hate you.’ That’s the sort of media thing.”