Why Johnny Depp was cast as King Louis XV in ‘Jeanne du Barry’
Johnny Depp was surprised to learn he was cast as the French king in his latest movie.
Johnny Depp has returned to the big screen in ‘Jeanne du Barry’, playing the French King Louis XV, a role he never thought he could take on.
Depp was hand chosen for the role by director and costar Maïwenn, who insisted he play the king despite not being French.
‘Jeanne du Barry’ premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, and at the movie’s Wednesday press conference, both Depp and Maïwenn spoke about the casting decision.
A “hillbilly from Kentucky” cast as the French king
Depp joked that at first, he felt the casting choice was a mistake, “like there was a terrible misspelling somewhere.”
“Maïwenn and I ended up in the wrong room at the same time. I didn’t feel any hesitation with regard to the guy, to character and all that, or the language necessarily, I didn’t find it particularly intimidating.”
“It’s like running through the raindrops, but my question to Maïwenn when we first met was, ‘Maybe you want to try a French guy as King Louis XV?’” he explained.
“She thought about it for a second. She said, ‘I thought about that too. No, I want you to do it.’
“So I thought it was very brave of her to choose some hillbilly from Kentucky to play Louis XV. Very brave,” he added.
Depp hails from Owensboro, Kentucky, and grew up in Miramar, Florida before moving to Los Angeles and establishing his acting career.
Maïwenn says her decision to cast Depp came about because “I knew I’d have to kiss him, so I wanted a sexy actor.”
Depp was not intimidated by the language
Depp explains that when it came to learning the French script, Maïwenn was “very patient” with the actor, who has lived in France with his former partner Vanessa Paradis, and has previously referred to himself as a “Francophile”.
“I wanted at least to be, my pigeon French at least, I wanted it to be in some regard that I wanted to be able to improvise if necessary,” he said at the press conference.
“So that was again way outside your language, your vernacular and your way of expressing yourself. But yeah, she was very patient with me. I’ll put it that way.”