In every generation, there comes along a person so scandalous, so rebellious, so willing to break taboos that they topple the world’s ideas of what being a free spirit truly means. In the 17th century that person was unequivocally John Wilmot, AKA the 2nd Earl of Rochester – the wily and talented rogue who lived his short, wild life like a Restoration rock star and become known all at once as a troublemaker, a genius and one of history’s most irrepressible believers in liberty.
Now, in Laurence Dunmore’s THE LIBERTINE, two-time Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp brings forth the sexy, irreverent and ultimately moving adventures of a man who broke all the rules at a time when the rules of modern society were first being written. With a gritty and raw realism, the film brings to life the swinging times of 60s London – 1660’s London, that is.
Set against the extraordinary backdrop of The Restoration – a pivotal age of enlightenment when rapid-fire new developments in science, religion and the arts, as well as a growing new sensual freedom, created the modern world as we know it – THE LIBERTINE follows the meteoric rise and fall of the Earl. As the story begins, he is drawing acclaim with his daring writing and raising eyebrows as a gifted rogue with a lascivious lifestyle. A close confidante of the high-living King Charles II (two-time Academy Award nominee John Malkovich), the Earl delights in lampooning England’s royals with his subversive wit and scandalizing London society with his sexual escapades – all the while reveling in getting away with anything he can.
But when the Earl falls in love with Elizabeth Barry (two-time Academy Award nominee Samantha Morton), the theatrical protégé he plans to turn into England’s biggest star, their affair and a subsequent betrayal will be the start of the Earl’s plunge from the heights of social celebrity to the depths of ruin, as he seeks his final redemption.