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Reason why Johnny Depp has never released the first film he directed

Katherine Sidnell

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Reason why Johnny Depp has never released the first film he directed

Featured Image Credit: Abaca Press /Photo 12 / Alamy Stock Photo

All actors will experience at least one flop during their career, but Johnny Depp had one film that was never even released.

Shockingly, it’s the actor’s directorial debut that never made the cut, despite the 59-year-old admitting that he was ‘driven’ to make the movie.

However, The Brave turned out so bad that he later banned the feature film from being shown in the US. You can watch the trailer below:

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Prior to the 1997 feature film, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor has made several shorts and had been eager to make the modern-day Western.

For those unfamiliar with The Brave, Depp stars as indigenous American Raphael who struggles to make ends meet.

Having been recently released from prison, he’s forced to scrounge a living by selling whatever he can and dreams of a better life for his young family.

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Johnny Depp directed and took the lead role on The Brave. Credit: Majestic Films
Johnny Depp directed and took the lead role on The Brave. Credit: Majestic Films

It’s then that Raphael is introduced to a mysterious older man named McCarthy (Marlon Brando), who touts himself as a director and film producer.

Upon offering Raphael over $50,000 to appear in a snuff film (yes, really), the desperate man accepts – thinking his children will be provided for.

Despite the obvious issue that Depp is not Native American, there’s another reason why the incredibly dark film wasn’t released.

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The Brave was panned by critics. Credit: Majestic Films International
The Brave was panned by critics. Credit: Majestic Films International

After it made its debut at the Cannes film festival in 1997, critics largely panned the film and called it a ‘failure’.

In one particularly brutal review by Time Out, a critic called The Brave ‘tediously slow and hugely narcissistic’.

Given how hard he’d worked on the film and how poorly it was received, the Sweeney Todd star was understandably devastated – feeling like every review was ‘an attack’.

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Depp would only direct music videos following the incident. Credit: Dreamworks
Depp would only direct music videos following the incident. Credit: Dreamworks

“I have absolutely no idea why I wanted to direct the film,” Depp admitted to an audience at Cannes, adding: “But I felt somehow driven to do it.”

“They just f***ing destroyed us,” he later confessed, saying: “It was like an attack on me – how dare I direct a movie?”

Whilst Depp would direct several music videos for his former flame Vanessa Paradis, The Brave would be his first and only feature film.

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In an interview with Esquire, he explained why he hadn’t directed since the nineties - claiming that it was due to not wanting to upset other stars.

“There are actors who did great work for me, and I had to cut them out,” he told the publication, saying: “I didn’t want to hurt the actors’ feelings. And you can’t be like that. You gotta say, ‘F** it.’”

Not that Depp particularly enjoyed his time in the director's chair on The Brave.

Recalling the experience, he said: "I would shoot all day and act as well, then go home; do rewrites; do my homework as an actor; do my homework as a director. Go to sleep, and even then, I’d dream about the film.

"It was a nightmare."

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Celebrity, Johnny Depp

Katherine Sidnell
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