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Netflix to Stream Johnny Depp’s Return to Film in France

Netflix Inc. has acquired the rights to stream Johnny Depp’s next film in France, a deal that will help fund the actor’s first feature role following his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, and what he claimed was a wider boycott by Hollywood studios.

The entertainment giant has licensed the rights to stream the film in the country 15 months after its release in theaters, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms haven’t been announced publicly. The company does not have the rights for the film outside of France.

Depp will portray King Louis XV, in the period piece, “La Favorite.” Directed by Maiwenn Le Besco, the film is expected to be released in 2023 in French theaters.

The acquisition of the film’s rights will be used by the producers to help finance the production. Netflix won’t otherwise be involved in the making of the picture.

“La Favorite” will be Depp’s first cinema role since Hollywood turned its back on the actor after his ex-wife made domestic violence accusations against him. The actor won $10 million in compensatory damages in a defamation suit against Heard in June. The same jury awarded $2 million to Heard, who made similar claims. She has said she would appeal.

Depp was last featured in a film in 2020, and this will be his first time acting in French. It’s set to be shot this summer over three months on locations including the Versailles castle, according to the Figaro newspaper. 

Following a recent agreement with French cinema guilds, Netflix and other streaming platforms are expected to spend a share of their revenue on local films. Netflix said it would invest a total of 40 million euros ($40.7 million) on French movies in 2022, with the Depp film being one of its first picks.

Le Besco will play Madame du Barry, the famous mistress of Louis XV. She has directed critically acclaimed films such as “Polisse” and “Mon Roi.”

Other upcoming French films selected by Netflix include the comedy “Asterix & Obelix: l’Empire du Milieu,” directed by Guillaume Canet, and “Chien et chat,” directed by actress and director Reem Kherici, according to the company.

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