In May of 2016, director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon) indicated that he was moving full-steam ahead on The Libertine, a smaller-scale, satiric drama about an alleged 2011 hotel room incident involving French political figure and scandal magnet Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Johnny Depp was attached to star, and Ratner explained to Deadline, “I read all the scripts, usually when the movies are ready to be greenlit, and this was the one where I said, ‘My god, I wish I was directing this.’ The whole movie takes place in one location, and I’ve never done that before. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read.”
But now, 10 months later, Ratner says that The Libertine has been pushed off his crowded plate. (The 47-year-old is also a very busy, prolific producer, with projects ranging from the Oscar-winning The Revenant to the Rush Hour TV series.) During a public Q&A at the Sun Valley Film Festival with EW’s James Hibberd on March 18 (EW was a producing sponsor of the Idaho fest), Ratner was asked about The Libertine (which is also the name, ironically, of a Johnny Depp movie from 2005).
“That was a movie I was going to direct next,” Ratner said. “I put it on hold. Johnny had some issues with his divorce and stuff. So we pushed it off. There’s another movie I’m going to direct. I’m hoping in 2017. I’m very excited about that. I know what it is but don’t want to say what it is yet.”
On May 23, 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Depp, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized before September. Whether his divorce is responsible for the lag time in commencing The Libertine, Depp has nonetheless also been very busy with a wide range of upcoming movies, from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to Murder on the Orient Express, both due this year. He was also the unrecognizable star of this secret Funny Or Die movie.
A representative for Depp did not return a request for comment. But we’re hoping that The Libertine — one of the most tantalizing projects out on the horizon — does make its way someday to a theater near us.