Brie Larson, the 33-year-old actress and Cannes juror, appeared flustered when asked about Johnny Depp’s presence at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. During a press conference in the South of France on Tuesday, May 16, Larson was asked how she felt about Depp’s project, Jeanne Du Barry, opening the festival. Larson responded, “You’re asking me that? I’m sorry, I don’t understand the correlation or why me specifically.” The reporter then clarified that Larson was part of the Time’s Up advisory council, and he was curious if she had any thoughts on Depp being allowed to kick off Cannes after his alleged past violence toward ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp sued Heard, 37, in 2019 for defamation after she called herself a victim of domestic violence in an op-ed for The Washington Post. A jury ruled in his favor in June 2022. The Edward Scissorhands actor’s Cannes appearance comes four years after he initially filed his defamation lawsuit against Heard following her Washington Post op-ed. While the Texas native didn’t name Depp in the piece, in which she described acts of alleged domestic violence, he argued that readers could read between the lines.
Depp then lost his libel case in the U.K. in 2020 pegged to Heard’s allegations of abuse in the same article. However, he came out victorious in the 2022 defamation case in the U.S. A jury ruled in June of that year that the Aquaman actress, who was married to the Kentucky native from 2015 to 2017, owed him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard, meanwhile, was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.
Both parties objected the ruling for different reasons, but the case was settled in December 2022. “I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed,” the Zombieland actress wrote via an Instagram statement at the time. “This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”
Depp, for his part, has seemingly begun to make a comeback in Hollywood despite his controversial actions and legal woes. Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the What’s Eating Gilbert Grape star inked a new deal with Dior. The lucrative contract with the luxury label is worth $20 million, Variety reported on Friday, May 12.
As the #MeToo movement champions victims of sexual assault to come forward against Hollywood figureheads as well as in other groups worldwide, Larson has been vocal. She was visibly uncomfortable with being questioned about the Pirates of Caribbean actor, stating, “You’ll see, I guess, if I see it. And I don’t know how I’ll feel if I do.”
Depp’s appearance at Cannes has sparked controversy and debate, with many questioning the decision to allow him to open the festival. The issue of separating an artist’s work from their personal life and actions has been a topic of discussion in the industry for years, with no clear answer.