Johnny Depp Trailer for 2023 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Debuts at Opening Ceremony

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“The trailer turned out great, and I am convinced that Johnny Depp will one day return,” the executive director of the big Czech fest says. The director of the trailer shares that the team had “great fun” even though he was initially “a bit taken aback” when the star “told me that he would prefer to improvise.”

Johnny Depp returned to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Friday, kind of — onscreen, not in person.

The opening ceremony of the 57th edition of Central Europe’s biggest cinema celebration in the Czech spa town on Friday featured the much-anticipated premiere of its annual trailer starring the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.

It was directed by film and advertising director Ivan Zachariáš and is set in the Hotel Gellért, an art nouveau hotel in Budapest. With Depp working in Europe at the time of production, a stopover in Hungary fit into his work schedule, the fest noted. “Right at the start of the shoot he told me that he would prefer to improvise,” said Zachariáš. “I was initially a bit taken aback, but it turned out to be a great idea, since Johnny ended up putting even more of his own personality into the trailer.”

Concluded the director: “We had great fun.” The shoot took only two and a half hours, according to fest organizers. But Depp seemed in no rush to leave. “When we were done, he still wanted to chat even though a plane was waiting for him,” recalled Zachariáš.

The Czech festival has been a supporter of the sometimes controversial actor, inviting Depp as its guest of honor in 2021, where he presented two films produced by him, music documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan and Andrew Levitas’ Japan-set drama Minamata, in which he also starred.

In May, festival organizers had unveiled that Depp would appear in this year’s fest trailer. On Wednesday, the fest in a statement detailed that “the new trailer featuring Johnny Depp in the main role will have its premiere screening … at the official opening of the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.” It added: “It can also be viewed concurrently on the festival’s online platform, KVIFF.TV, which besides the trailer will be streaming the entire opening ceremony. The trailer can thus be seen not just on the large plasma screens in Karlovy Vary, but also at home,” including on computers, tablets and mobile telephones.

“Two years ago, Johnny Depp received an immensely warm welcome from audiences and fans, thanks to which he has become a great supporter of ours,” said Karlovy Vary festival executive director Kryštof Mucha. “And so he agreed to film a trailer even though we were limited by his packed schedule. The trailer turned out great, and I am convinced that Johnny Depp will one day return to Vary in person.”

The Karlovy Vary festival has a long tradition of featuring stars in trailers, which explore what artists who have received a Crystal Globe lifetime honor from the fest actually do with their statue. Among past trailer stars have been the likes of Mel Gibson, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Andy Garcia, Jude Law, Danny DeVito, Miloš Forman and Casey Affleck.

“The idea of shooting festival trailers featuring distinctive representatives of world cinema was born 15 years ago,” the festival recently highlighted. “The creative minds behind these micro-stories showing their subjects’ connection with the festival are directors Ivan Zachariáš and Martin Krejčí.”

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