Johnny Depp to direct film about Italian artist Modigliani

Filming of Modigliani movie set to get underway in Europe next spring.

Hollywood star Johnny Depp is to direct a new film about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani which he will co-produce with Al Pacino and Barry Navidi, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie will focus on the turbulent life of the Italian painter and sculptor (1884-1920) who is celebrated for his portraits featuring elongated necks and faces.

Adapted from the play by Dennis McIntyre, Depp's film will be set in Paris in 1916. Production is scheduled to start in Europe in spring 2023 and the cast is expected to be unveiled soon.

The movie will chart a 48-hour "turning point" in Modigliani's life, "ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend", according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Depp, 59, said he is "incredibly honoured" to be making a film about Modigliani who endured "a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”

The project marks a return to directing for Depp, 25 years after he directed The Brave in which he starred with Marlon Brando.

The move comes as he gets his career back on track following his victory in the recent high-profile defamation trial against his former wife Amber Heard.

Born in 1884, Modigliani spent his youth in Italy, studying the art of antiquity and the Renaissance, before moving in 1906 to Paris, where he came into contact with other artists including Pablo Picasso.

His time in the French capital was marred by poverty and ill health, compounded by his use of alcohol and drugs, and he was largely underrated as an artist in his lifetime.

On 24 January 1920 Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis, aged 35.

The day after he died, his heavily pregnant partner Jeanne Hébuterne took her own life, aged 21, leaving behind the couple's 14-month-old child, also called Jeanne, who would go on to write the biography Modigliani: Man and Myth in 1958.