Hollywood star Johnny Depp, who lost a libel case last year against a British newspaper that labelled him a “wife-beater”, will receive a lifetime achievement award at Spain’s San Sebastian film festival, organisers said Monday.
The 58-year-old, best known as the swaggering Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, will collect the festival’s Donostia award at a ceremony on September 22 in “recognition of his career,” they said in a statement.
Past recipients of the Donostia award — the festival’s highest honour which is named after the Basque word for the coastal town of San Sebastian — include actors Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Ian McKellen and Robert De Niro.
The US actor brought a libel claim against The Sun tabloid for a 2018 article that branded him a “wife-beater” during his tempestuous relationship with his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.
But a judge last year ruled against him — saying the article had been proven to be “substantially true” — and Depp was ordered to pay the newspaper’s publishers News Group Newspapers £628,000 ($871,000) in legal costs.
The case, which laid bare the actor’s battle with drink and drugs, was dubbed “the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century”.
In its aftermath, Depp said he was asked to step down from his role in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise based on the book by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
The 69th San Sebastian film festival, the highest-profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world, takes place from September 17 to 25.
The festival was originally intended to honour Spanish language films but has established itself as one of the most important movie festivals in the world.