Johnny Depp to become Saudi Arabia’s cultural ambassador

Johnny Depp, the Hollywood star who has faced a series of legal and personal troubles in recent years, is set to become one of the most influential figures in Saudi Arabia’s cultural and entertainment sector. According to sources close to the actor, Depp has been offered a multi-year contract to promote Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance, which aims to transform the conservative kingdom into a global tourism and entertainment hub.

Depp’s relationship with Saudi Arabia began when he starred in Jeanne du Barry, a French-language film about King Louis XV’s mistress, which was partly financed by the Red Sea Film Foundation, a Saudi organization founded by Prince Badr, the culture minister and cousin of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS. Depp was invited to visit Saudi Arabia in January 2024, where he met MBS and spent seven weeks touring the country’s historic and scenic sites, as well as attending cultural events and concerts.

Depp impressed by Saudi Arabia’s cultural revolution

Depp, who has been known for his eccentric and rebellious roles, such as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands, was reportedly impressed by Saudi Arabia’s cultural revolution, which has seen the lifting of many restrictions on public entertainment, such as cinemas, concerts, and festivals. Depp said in a statement that he was “somewhat naive” at first about what was happening in the region, but that he had experienced “firsthand the cultural revolution that is happening there.”

Depp also praised the emerging young storytellers and artists in Saudi Arabia, who he said were “radiating fresh ideas and works of art.” He added that he had met people from various parts of the region who had been “most welcoming” in sharing their culture, traditions, and stories with him.

Depp to help Saudi Arabia attract international attention and investment

Depp’s contract with Saudi Arabia, which is said to be worth seven figures annually, will involve him representing the country’s cultural and entertainment initiatives on a global level. He will also help attract international attention and investment to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious projects, such as the Red Sea Film Festival, the AlUla heritage site, and the futuristic city of Neom.

Depp’s involvement with Saudi Arabia is seen as a major coup for the kingdom, which has been trying to improve its image and reputation after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, which was widely blamed on MBS. Depp’s star power and popularity could help Saudi Arabia gain more legitimacy and acceptance in the global film community, as well as appeal to a younger and more diverse audience.

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