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Johnny Depp to direct film about Italian artist Modigliani

Riccardo Scamarcio to play Modigliani in movie.

Johnny Depp is to direct a new film about the artist Amedeo Modigliani with Italian star Riccardo Scamarcio in the title role alongside Hollywood legend Al Pacino and French actor Pierre Niney.

Barry Navidi will produce the movie, with Pacino cast as art collector Maurice Gangnat and Niney playing the role of artist Maurice Utrillo, according to Deadline.

The film 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.

Riccardo Scamarcio. Photo: Denis Makarenko /


Adapted from the play by Dennis McIntyre, Depp's film will be set in Paris in 1916, with production scheduled to get underway in Budapest this autumn.

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.”

Navidi described the film to Deadline as "a snapshot of Modigliani’s life that gives us insight into his struggle as an artist suffering from lack of recognition", adding that the combination of the cast and Depp's direction will make the movie "a dream come true".

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 a high-profile defamation trial against his former wife Amber Heard last year.

A brief history of Amedeo Modigliani

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.

Amedeo Modigliani


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 went on to write the biography Modigliani: Man and Myth in 1958.

Cover photo Johnny Depp. Photo: Lorena Sopena /

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