French actor-director Maiwenn, who recently cast Johnny Depp in her latest film Jeanne du Barry, is facing legal action for allegedly assaulting a journalist at a Parisian restaurant. Edwy Plenel, the editor-in-chief of Mediapart magazine, filed a police complaint on March 7, accusing Maiwenn of aggression.
The incident reportedly occurred in late February at a restaurant in Paris’ seventh arrondissement. Plenel claims that Maiwenn approached his table and grabbed him by the hair before spitting in his face without saying a word. AFP, which has quoted the police complaint, states that Plenel was “traumatized by the incident.”
Maiwenn, who has previously stated that she did not embrace the #MeToo movement, has recently come under scrutiny as her ex-husband Luc Besson was the subject of several investigations by Mediapart. The police report was filed a month ago but only came to light on Friday. This was just a day after the announcement that Maiwenn’s movie had been chosen to open the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Mediapart, spearheading the #MeToo movement in France, published several reports about Luc Besson, with whom Maiwenn shares a daughter, Shanna Besson. Mediapart was the first to publish the testimony of Belgian-Dutch actor Sand Van Roy, who accused Besson of sexual assault (the case was eventually dropped). The publication also reported on the testimony of French actor Adele Haenel accusing the director Christophe Ruggia of sexual harassment when she was a minor.
Plenel’s lawyer, Pierre-Emmanuel Blard, has reportedly stated that “even for this kind of activity, there can be no impunity.” While Plenel says he never had any trouble with Maiwenn, his outlet has published several articles about the accusations of rape aimed at Luc Besson.
Depp’s First Film Role in Three Years
Despite the legal action, Maiwenn’s film is set to premiere on May 16 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it has been chosen as the opening film. Jeanne du Barry is a historical drama about the life of French King Louis XV’s court favorite, Jeanne Vaubernier. Depp stars as King Louis XV, while Maiwenn takes the leading role as Jeanne du Barry.
The film marks Johnny Depp’s first feature film role in three years. He shot it during his U.S. victory in the defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The allegations against Maiwenn are serious. The legal action comes at a particularly bad time for the director, just as she is due to premiere her latest film at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the case will be and its effect on the film’s release.