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Johnny Depp returns to spotlight on opening day of 2023 Cannes film festival

Johnny Depp made a triumphant return to the international film stage on the opening day of the 2023 Cannes film festival.

The Hollywood actor stars in historical drama Jeanne Du Barry as King Louis XV alongside French actress Maiwenn, Pierre Richard and Benjamin Lavernhe.

Depp was pictured with his castmates on the red carpet on Tuesday and posed for pictures in a simple three-piece black suit ahead of the film’s premiere screening – which kicked off the two-week festival.

The project is his first major onscreen appearance since his high-profile defamation case with his ex-wife Amber Heard last year.

France Cannes 2023 Opening Ceremony Red Carpet
Director Maiwenn, from left, Johnny Depp, and Pierre Richard pose for photographers upon arrival at the opening ceremony (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/PA)

Depp sued the Aquaman star 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.

His appearance at Cannes comes after Adele Haenel, one of France’s top actors, announced she was quitting the industry, denouncing it for “complacency toward sexual aggressors”.

France Cannes 2023 Opening Ceremony Red Carpet
Johnny Depp (Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP/PA)

Her criticisms were rejected by Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux earlier this week.

Depp was greeted by hordes of fans as he arrived on Tuesday, with some holding banners that read “viva Johnny” and “we love Johnny”.

Directed by Maiwenn, Jeanne Du Barry tells the story of Jeanne, a young working-class woman who uses her intelligence and allure to climb the social hierarchy, eventually landing on the radar of King Louis XV.

France Cannes 2023 Opening Ceremony Red Carpet
Fans hold banners in support of Johnny Depp at the opening ceremony of the Cannes film festival (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/PA)

Depp reportedly became visibly emotional, after the film received a seven-minute standing ovation following the screening.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, veteran actor Michael Douglas received an honorary Palme d’Or – the highest prize awarded at Cannes.

He arrived at the event with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and daughter Carys Zeta Douglas.

Zeta-Jones wore a flowing red gown with one sleeve cape detail.

France Cannes 2023 Opening Ceremony Red Carpet
Carys Zeta Douglas, from left, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/PA)

Her daughter opted for a semi-sheer white net gown with delicate detailing and a cut-out back and sides, from Elie Saab.

According to outlets that were present, Douglas became emotional while accepting the award onstage ahead of the Jeanne Du Barry screening and received a standing ovation.

He was then joined by renowned French actress Catherine Deneuve and the pair officially declared the 76th Cannes Film Festival open.