Things are looking up for Johnny Depp’s career after winning his defamation trial against 36-year-old ex-wife Amber Heard in June. On August 24, it was announced that he would be returning to directing for the first time in 25 years (more on that, below), and just this weekend the actor made a surprise cameo at the MTV Video Music Awards.
During the awards show on Sunday, Depp made a brief, virtual appearance as the face of the VMAs’ Moon Person. Although Depp wasn’t present at the live show, a pre-recorded bit was played during the program that featured his face projected on the floating astronaut.
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“I just want you guys to know I’m available for birthday, bat mitzvahs… anything you know,” he cracked during the bit, seemingly in reference to his stalled career.
“I needed the work,” the 59-year-old told the crowd at the Prudential Center in New Jersey at the beginning of the show to a cheering audience. He appeared later when the program came back from commercial break, snarking, “Hey VMAs, let’s get back to the f—ing music, shall we?”
@JohnnyDeppNFT #johnnydepp as the moon man “I needed to work”! pic.twitter.com/dGJuXrXUYo
— pdbrighteyes (@Angeleyes_Dream) August 29, 2022
MTV and Depp posted a clip of the appearance to Instagram the next day. Fans were quick to rush to the comments section to express their delight over seeing Johnny back in action.
“This made me smile,” wrote one commenter. “Great to see you!” added another enthused fan.
Not everyone was as amused, however, with Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez writing on the platform, “@MTV you’re disgusting and clearly desperate! I really hope that none of the people that made this call have daughters….” Yikes!
This isn’t the first stop on his comeback tour. The embattled star will also be directing a biopic of Amedeo Modigliani, the Italian painter and sculptor who died in poverty in 1920 aged just 35, with filming set to begin in spring 2023!
During the widely-publicized defamation trial, the 59-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star’s former agent claimed that the actor had lost out on tens of millions of dollars of work due to Heard’s allegations of abuse during their almost two-year marriage; but things are now looking up for him following his victory!
Depp returned to acting almost immediately after the trial ended, as he started filming Jeanne du Barry, in which he portrays King Louis XV, in France back in July. It will be his first major acting role since playing war photographer W. Eugene Smith in the 2020 independent film Minamata. As well as directing the film currently titled Modigliani, based on Dennis McIntyre’s 1980 play of the same name and adapted for screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski, Depp will also co-produce the movie (more specifically, the European arm of his production company, Infinitum Nihil) alongside Al Pacino and Barry Navidi. Interestingly, Pacino was looking to get a Martin-Scorsese-directed Modigliani biopic off the ground in the 80s, but it never came to fruition.
Modigliani has become renowned for his pictures of nudes with elongated faces and limbs, but the movie follows the artist during what is described as a "turbulent and eventful" 48 hours in Paris in 1916, where he finds himself struggling to sell his work. It's currently unclear whether Depp will appear in the movie himself, although it’s unlikely that he will play the title character due to his age.
Can’t wait to see the film!— Kelly Reed (@1txhippiechick) August 15, 2022
"The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored and truly humbled to bring to the screen," Depp told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was a life of great hardship but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with."
Production is reportedly set to begin in Europe in the spring of 2023. And the Sweeney Todd actor's fans are predictably beside themselves with excitement! @depplyhaIIows tweeted: "Fantastic positive news," followed by the red heart emoji and the hashtag #JohnnyDepp. "This is the news I want to hear. I’m so done with the trial and AH! Go away already…" one Depp fan replied. "Oh I look forward to this," added another. "Can’t wait to see the film!" exclaimed another fan, followed by the popcorn emoji.