Johnny Depp made a virtual return to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Friday, captivating audiences with his onscreen presence rather than appearing in person.
The highly anticipated premiere of the festival’s annual trailer, featuring the renowned actor from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, took place during the opening ceremony of the 57th edition of Central Europe’s largest cinema celebration in the Czech spa town.
Directed by Ivan Zachariáš, a film and advertising director, the trailer was set in Budapest’s exquisite art nouveau Hotel Gellért. Since Depp was working in Europe during the production, a stopover in Hungary perfectly aligned with his schedule. “Right from the beginning of the shoot, he expressed his preference for improvisation,” revealed Zachariáš. Initially taken aback, the director later acknowledged that Depp’s spontaneous approach added an extra layer of his own personality to the trailer.
Zachariáš concluded, “We had a fantastic time.” The shoot itself lasted a mere two and a half hours, according to festival organizers. However, Depp appeared unhurried to depart, as Zachariáš recollected, “Even after we finished, he wanted to chat, despite having a plane waiting for him.”
The Czech festival has been a strong supporter of the occasionally controversial actor, inviting him as a guest of honor in 2021. During that event, Depp presented two films he had produced: the music documentary “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan” and Andrew Levitas’ Japan-set drama “Minamata,” in which he also starred. The festival organizers had announced earlier this year that Depp would feature in the festival’s trailer. Subsequently, a statement from the festival detailed that the trailer, starring Johnny Depp in the lead role, would premiere during the official opening of the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The trailer could be viewed not only on large plasma screens in Karlovy Vary but also on the festival’s online platform, KVIFF.TV, which would stream the entire opening ceremony, enabling audiences to watch it from the comfort of their homes on computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
“Two years ago, Johnny Depp received an incredibly warm welcome from audiences and fans, which made him a great supporter of ours,” expressed Kryštof Mucha, the executive director of the Karlovy Vary festival. “Therefore, he agreed to film a trailer despite his demanding schedule. The trailer turned out to be exceptional, and I firmly believe that Johnny Depp will one day return to Vary in person.”
The Karlovy Vary festival has a longstanding tradition of featuring stars in trailers that explore how Crystal Globe lifetime honor recipients from the festival engage with their award. Previous trailer stars have included renowned actors such as Mel Gibson, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Andy Garcia, Jude Law, Danny DeVito, Miloš Forman, and Casey Affleck. The concept of shooting festival trailers featuring distinguished figures from the world of cinema was born 15 years ago, as emphasized by the festival.
The 57th Karlovy Vary film festival will continue until July 8, offering an array of cinematic delights to attendees.
Watch the captivating new festival trailer starring Johnny Depp below.