Johnny Depp to direct first feature film in 25 years with Al Pacino co-producing

Johnny Depp is set to direct his first feature film in 25 years with Modigliani, about Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani.

The 59-year-old, who recently concluded his multi-million dollar defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, will co-produce alongside Al Pacino and Barry Navidi.

Based on the play of the same name by Dennis McIntyre and adapted for screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski, Modi will tell the story of the artist’s time in Paris in 1916.

It will offer a snapshot of a “turbulent and eventful” 48 hours during which, having long considered himself a critical and commercial failure, he solidifies himself as a creative force.

The project aims to start production in spring 2023 in Europe.

In a recent statement, Depp said: “The saga of Mr Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honoured, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen.

“It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”

Portrait de Jeanne Hebuterne by Amedeo Modigliani, 1919 ((Fiona Hanson/PA) (PA Archive))
Portrait de Jeanne Hebuterne by Amedeo Modigliani, 1919 ((Fiona Hanson/PA) (PA Archive))

Modi marks his second feature directorial credit after 1997’s The Brave, in which he starred alongside Marlon Brando.

It comes a week after Depp confirmed his first starring role – as King Louis XV in French filmmaker Maïwenn’s forthcoming film Jeanne du Barry– since claiming victory in his now infamous legal battle with Heard in Fairfax County, Virginia, earlier this year.

Depp sued his former partner over a 2018 article she wrote for The Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, which his lawyers said falsely accused him of being an abuser.

Pacino, whose numerous credits include The Godfather, Scarface and Donnie Brasco, has previously worked with veteran producer Navidi on various projects, including The Merchant Of Venice (2004), Wilde Salome (2011), and Salome (2013).

The late Modigliani, who worked mainly in France, is known for his portraits and nudes featuring elongated faces and bodies. He died of tubercular meningitis in 1920 aged 35 in Paris.

Additional reporting by Press Association.