We have our first look at Johnny Depp in Waiting for the Barbarians. This probably isn't a movie many people are familiar with as of yet, though it has a chance to become something that gets a certain amount of buzz, be it for the wrong or right reasons. Depp, as of late, has been subject to more than one controversy, not the least of which has to do with his alleged abuse of his ex-wife Amber Heard. So he can bring a certain amount of attention to a project these days, perhaps in not ideal ways. But it's also possible that, given this movie's cast and pedigree, this could be on the other end of the spectrum.

The image sees Johnny Depp's character dressed to the nines in colonial clothes, sporting a rather menacing grin. Waiting for the Barbarians is a period drama, which becomes rather clear when looking at the image. There appears to be a lot of care in the production design, based on this image. Oscar-winner Mark Rylance is also seen in the image, strolling behind Johnny Depp. Rylance plays a character known as the Magistrate, who is loyal to the Empire. Depp portrays a devious man by the name of Colonel Joll.

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Waiting for the Barbarians is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by author J.M. Coetzee. The story centers on the Magistrate, who has been a loyal servant of the Empire for decades. He's been running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. Things change when interrogation experts arrive and he witnesses the Empire's cruel and terrible treatment of prisoners of war. This causes the Magistrate to sympathize with the victims, leading him to commit an act of rebellion, effectively making him an enemy of the state.

At one point, Johnny Depp was unequivocally one of the most promising actors working in Hollywood. That feels like a long time ago. Aside from his very public and concerning troubles with Amber Heard, there have been multiple reports of ugly on-set behavior, alcohol problems and using an earpiece to have lines fed to him during filming. But, let's say, from a pure performance standpoint, the Depp of yesteryear shows up in this one. Couple that with Mark Rylance, who won an Oscar for his work in Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, and Robert Pattinson, who has really asserted himself as a great actor outside of Twilight, and this could prove to be something of a certain quality.

Johnny Depp hasn't worked on a proper indie movie for some time. His most recent effort was Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which didn't quite live up to expectations. Ciro Guerra (Birds of Passage) is in the director's chair for this one. Waiting for the Barbarians is listed as being in post-production currently, but the movie hasn't yet locked down a release date. Be sure to check out the first-look photo below, which was first shared by The Hollywood Reporter.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott