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August 17, 2022 11:14 am

Johnny Depp to Direct Biopic About Jewish Italian Artist Amedeo Modigliani With Al Pacino as Co-Producer

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Johnny Depp. Photo: Harald Krichel via Wikimedia Commons.

Johnny Depp is set to direct a film about Jewish Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, marking his return to the director’s chair after 25 years, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star — whose feature directorial debut was 1997’s “The Brave,” starring him and Marlon Brando — will co-produce “Modigliani” with fellow actor Al Pacino and producer Barry Navidi. The film is based on a play of the same name by Dennis McIntyre, and will adapted for the big screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski.

The biopic will focus on 48 hours that changed Modigliani’s life in Paris in 1916 and turned the Italian Sephardic Jew into an artistic icon. Production is expected to start in Europe in the spring of 2023 and the film’s cast has not yet been revealed, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

Modigliani, who died in 1920, experienced antisemitism after arriving in Paris in 1906, following the uproar of the Dreyfus Affair, but it helped shape his work during his short 14-year career, according to Artnet News.

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Depp, 59, said he is “incredibly honored and truly humbled” to be able to bring Modigliani’s life to the screen. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with,” explained Depp, who produces for IN.2, the European arm of his production company Infinitum Nihil. Navidi and Pacino also produce under the IN.2 banner.

“This project has been very close to Al’s heart. Al introduced me to the play ‘Modigliani’ many years ago and I instantly fell in love with it,” said Navidi. “This is a slice of Modi’s life and not a bio. It’s been a dream of mine to work with Johnny again — he’s a true artist with an amazing vision to bring this great story to the screen.”

Depp has already produced 10 films, including “Hugo” in 2011, which won the Academy Awards for art direction and cinematography, and most recently 2020’s “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan.”

A film about Modigliani starring Andy Garcia in the lead role was released in 2004.

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