Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, Donnie Braco Co-Stars, will collaborate on a new film about artist Amedeo Modigliani

Donnie Brasco stars Johnny Depp and Al Pacino are reuniting, with Depp in the director’s chair and Pacino producing the new film Modi, about Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani.

Modi is set to start production in spring of 2023, in Europe. The film, set in Paris in 1916, is based on the play Modigliani by Dennis McIntyre and adapted for the screen by Jerzy and Mary Kromolowski. Barry Navidi will also produce.

Depp’s last film as a director was 1997’s The Brave, in which Depp starred with Marlon Brando.  That same year, Depp played an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates the mob but comes to sympathize with one of the mobsters he’s duping, played by Pacino. The film also starred Anne Heche, who passed over the weekend.

“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Johnny Depp said in a statement. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph — a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”

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Al Pacino and Barry Navidi have collaborated over the years on films including The Merchant Of Venice (2004), Wilde Salomé (2011), and Salomé (2013).

“This project has been very close to Al’s heart. Al introduced me to the play Modigliani many years ago and I instantly fell in love with it,” said Navidi. “This is a slice of Modi’s life and not a bio. It’s been a dream of mine to work with Johnny again – he’s a true artist with an amazing vision to bring this great story to the screen.”

There’s no word on who will play Modigliani, who died at 35 in 1920. Johnny Depp is two decades older than his subject, so he’s probably out. But — pure speculation alert! — the chameleonic actor has played well outside his age range before, so don’t count him out. A rep for Depp did not immediately comment on the casting.

Modigliani, a contemporary of Pablo Picasso, is celebrated for his portraits and nudes, which included surreal elongation of faces and other body parts in his paintings. Under-recognized during his life, he became well known after his passing.

Depp, credited in over 90 productions, has produced ten films, including Hugo (2011), directed by Martin Scorsese, and Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020).

Modigliani continues Depp’s efforts to rebuild his career after his feud with ex Amber Heard largely sidelined him for years. Depp lost a libel lawsuit in the United Kingdom in 2020, over an article in a British tabloid that called him a “wife-beater,” but in June he won an American case in which he accused Heard of defaming him by saying she was a victim of domestic abuse. After the British case and ensuing negative publicity, he lost the role of Gellart Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. In September, he bemoaned “cancel culture” at the San Sebastian Film Festival, complaining, “it takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled.”

Depp produces via IN.2, the European arm of his production company, Infinitum Nihil.

The Hollywood Reporter was first to break news of Modi.

Main image: Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in the 1997 crime classic Donnie Brasco.