The actor walked the red carpet for the first time since his highly publicised defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, last year, and was warmly welcomed to the event by hordes of fans, with some holding banners that read “viva Johnny” and “we love Johnny”.
The crowd in the theatre was equally enthused by his appearance as the 59-year-old received a seven-minute standing ovation after the film finished.
In footage from the premiere, Depp looked emotional at the reaction and was seen holding his hands to his face before hugging the director, Maïwenn.
Ramin Setoodeh, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Variety, captured the moment and tweeted: “Johnny Depp tears up as #Cannes2023 showers him with a seven-minute standing ovation at the premiere of Jeanne du Barry.”
The French-language film was controversially chosen to open the festival this year.
Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has received backlash for the decision due to the allegations made against him by his Heard.
Speaking about his inclusion at the event, Frémaux previously said: “To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule: It’s the freedom of thinking, and the freedom of speech and acting within a legal framework
“If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or the film was banned, we wouldn’t be here talking about it. This [controversy] came up once the film was announced at Cannes because everybody knew Johnny had made a film in France.
“I don’t know why she chose him but it’s a question you should ask [Jeanne du Barry director] Maiwenn. As for the rest, I’m the last person to be able to discuss all this.
“If there’s one person in this world who didn’t find the least interest in this very publicised trial, it’s me. I don’t know what it’s about. I also care about Johnny Depp as an actor.”
The Hollywood actor stars in historical drama Jeanne Du Barry as King Louis XV alongside French actress Maiwenn, Pierre Richard and Benjamin Lavernhe.
The project is his first major onscreen appearance since the case.
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. He won damages in that US case but a UK judge previously rejected his defamation case against a newspaper referring to him as a ‘wife beater’.