Johnny Depp to get lifetime achievement award from film festival, despite assault finding

San Sebastián festival praises Depp as ‘one of contemporary cinema’s most talented actors’

Johnny Depp at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in July 2020. Depp unsuccessfully sued the Sun’s newspaper publisher News Group Newspapers over claims he abused his ex-wife, US actor Amber Heard. Photograph:  EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Johnny Depp at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in July 2020. Depp unsuccessfully sued the Sun’s newspaper publisher News Group Newspapers over claims he abused his ex-wife, US actor Amber Heard. Photograph: EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

 

Johnny Depp is to receive a lifetime achievement award from the San Sebastián film festival.

In a statement on its website, the festival, based in the Basque resort town, praised Depp as “one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors”, announcing that he would be given the Donostia award on 22 September.

Previous recipients of the award include Viggo Mortensen, Penélope Cruz and Judi Dench.

In its glowing website citation, the festival makes no mention of the scandal currently engulfing Depp’s career, following the actor’s loss in a libel case against the publisher of the Sun newspaper in which the high court concluded he had assaulted his former wife Amber Heard on multiple occasions.

The actor’s most recent film, the Japan-set drama Minamata, has yet to be released in the US, resulting in a claim by its director Andrew Levitas that Hollywood studio MGM wanted to “bury” the film.

Depp was also asked to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the third Fantastic Beasts film, and has been replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.

In an earlier show of defiance to film industry figures shunned in the US, San Sebastián chose to allow Woody Allen’s most recent film, Rifkin’s Festival, to be shot at the festival, and then selected it as the opening event of its 2020 edition. This followed Allen’s legal dispute with his former backers, Amazon, over claims Allen had “sabotaged” the marketability of earlier films with his comments about sex abuse accusations by his daughter Dylan Farrow and the #MeToo campaign. The dispute was settled out of court.

San Sebastián film festival has been contacted for comment. – Guardian