Johnny Depp says he's spent "far more" than R444k on wine

Venice  - Actor Johnny Depp joked about drinking Friday and lavished praise on his actress daughter Lily-Rose at the Venice film festival.

The US star, who plays a sadistic colonel alongside British actors Mark Rylance and Robert Pattinson in Waiting for the Barbarians, teased that he loved being in Italy.

"For one, people speak very good Italian," he drawled.

"The food is very good and I do like wine occasionally. Why do you laugh?" he asked reporters.

The ageing enfant terrible, now 56, quipped during his messy 2016 divorce from actress Amber Heard that "it's insulting to say that I spent $30 000 (around R444 000) on wine... because it was far more."

But last year the Willy Wonka and The Pirates of the Caribbean actor admitted that he was "as low as I believe I could have gotten".

Proud father

But Depp looked less haggard in Venice where his new film, adapted from South Africa novelist J. M. Coetzee's stark allegory about the horrors of colonialism and whipping up fears of enemies at the gate, is in the running for the top Golden Lion prize, which will be awarded Saturday.

The actor said he had channelled his pain into writing a memoir on an old-fashioned typewriter.

"I poured myself a vodka in the morning and started writing until the tears filled my eyes and I couldn't see the page anymore," he said last year.

Depp did not say whether the book had been finished but he did reveal his pride in his daughter's blossoming movie career.

Lily-Rose Depp walked the Venice red carpet earlier this week for The King,where she played Catherine of Valois opposite her real-life boyfriend Timothee Chalamet in a retelling of Shakespeare's Henry plays for millennials.

"It is just amazing to see this incredible young woman carrying herself with such dignity and the choices she has made," her father added, referring to her roles in independent and French films.

"She could have done all kinds of movies for big dollars but it is just not in her. I am very proud of her, she is impressive. She and my son (Jack) are my gods," he added.

Depp also spoke warmly of their mother, his former long-time partner, French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis.

The actor said he had some sympathy for the appallingly cruel character, Colonel Joll, which he plays.

"Bad guys don't wake up in the morning and say they are going to be evil and cause as much havoc as possible."

There may be "a broken child in there who has been hammered out of shape by his upbringing," he added.

Oscar-nominated Colombian Ciro Guerra said the movie's story about how a group of soldiers who take power by inventing enemies beyond a fictional empire's borders, was a powerful warning for our times.

The maker of the acclaimed Embrace of the Serpent and Birds of Passage said that while the book was set in a "distant time, as we were making the film... it felt less like an allegory and more like the world we are now living in".