Johnny Depp, Al Pacino to direct, produce Amedeo Modigliani movie – USA TODAY

Johnny Depp is making his return to the director’s chair for the first time in 25 years.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor will direct a film adaptation of Dennis McIntyre’s play “Modigliani” based on Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, according to a press release provided to USA TODAY from Depp’s publicist Breanna Butler. The movie is titled “Modi.”
Depp’s U.K. based production company IN.2, the European arm of production company Infinitum Nihil, announced the project, noting Depp, 59, will direct and co-produce the film alongside Al Pacino and Barry Navidi.
“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Depp said in the release. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
“Modi” follows the artist over a transformative 48 hours during his time in Paris in 1916, per the release. 
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“This is a slice of Modi’s life and not a bio,” Navidi said in a statement.
“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,” Navidi continued, adding, “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.”
Navidi and Depp collaborated for the 1995 film “Divine Rapture,” which never was completed. Navidi and Pacino have also previously worked together on projects, including “The Merchant of Venice” in 2004, “Wilde Salomé” in 2011 and “Salomé” in 2013.
Depp’s last directorial credit was for 1997’s “The Brave,” starring himself and Marlon Brando.
“Modi” is set to start production in the spring of 2023, the release said.
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Depp is plunging back into his entertainment career following his latest legal battle with ex Amber Heard.
In August, a Virginia jury awarded Depp more than $10 million in damages, vindicating his stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their brief marriage.
The jury found Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge said state law caps punitive damages at $350,000, meaning Depp was awarded $10.35 million.
Heard also partially won her countersuit over comments made by Depp’s former lawyer Adam Waldman when he called her abuse allegations a hoax. The jury awarded her $2 million in damages. 
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The jury determined Heard defamed him when she published a column in The Washington Post in December 2018 calling herself a victim of domestic abuse. Depp’s name was not mentioned in the article, but during their 2016 divorce proceedings she had accused him of abusing her. 
Both Depp and Heard have announced plans to appeal the verdicts against them.
Contributing: Maria Puente

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