Spit Gate 2: Johnny Depp's comeback film caught up in new controversy 9 months ago

Spit Gate 2: Johnny Depp's comeback film caught up in new controversy

It also doesn't help that Depp's new movie is being savaged by the critics.

Johnny Depp's comeback trail has been made even rockier when it was revealed this week that the director of his new movie spat on a journalist.

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In a story that sounds somewhat similar to Spit Gate drama that surrounded 2022 release Don't Worry Darling, Variety reports that director Maiwenn, who helmed Jeanne Du Barry, which opened the Cannes Film Festival this week, spat on French journalist Edwy Plenel.

Plenel is the co-founder of news organisation Mediapart, which had recently published a report on Maiwenn's ex-husband Luc Besson (known for directing The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional) involving several women who had accused him of rape.

In a police complaint filed by Plenel, he was approached by Maiwenn while he was eating in restaurant, when the director grabbed him by hair and spit in his face, and then leaving the restaurant. Plenel told police that he was "traumatised by the incident."

During his interview with Variety, Plenel said of Maiwenn:

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"She’s outspokenly anti-#MeToo and she made a gesture to please her world, and that’s why she bragged about it on TV. We could see a sort of pride that echoed that world."

When Maiwenn was questioned about the casting of Depp for his new movie, she said: "Very quickly I said, he lost the first trial, he won the second. We could say it was one person’s word against another. I didn’t feel I had the right to judge."

The film tells the story of Jeanne Bécu (played by Maiwenn) who was born as the illegitimate daughter of an impoverished seamstress in 1743 and went on to rise through the Court of Louis XV (Depp) to become his last official mistress.

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Despite receiving a reported seven-minute standing ovation, the movie is being somewhat savaged by the critics who attended the Cannes opening:

The Hollywood Reporter - "With all the recent controversy surrounding Depp, not to mention Maïwenn herself, the result of their collaboration is a handsome period piece that feels both flat and shallow, and certainly far from any scandal."

Variety - "In attempting to reclaim this woman’s reputation, Maïwenn’s film feels unexpectedly tame — it risks turning a would-be scandal into a royal bore."

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The Telegraph - "The central relationship never convinces - it all just feels like a performance, put on for the benefit of the courtiers and by extension, us."

At the time of writing, there is no set release date for Jeanne Du Barry to arrive in cinemas in Ireland and the UK.

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