Johnny Depp’s Huguenot Legacy of Honor

Posted on Jan 5th, 2013 | Category: Blog

Of all the places on Earth, in this place called France, in this time known as the Renaissance, a rebirth of classic art and literature abounds. But a more dangerous and heretical ideal will surface– that of liberty of conscience — of freedom for all. This concept will seem harmless, but will soon ignite a fire that will burn brightly well beyond its time, to spark a debate that will impact the entire world for centuries to come. “Rebirth” the screenplay, is an attempt to make sure this provocative true story will never be forgotten and its lessons never lost…


“Rebirth” unfolds in a world torn between Renaissance and genocide, viewed through the eyes of a womanizing artist who finds love that changes his life and risks all in the fight for civil liberty. This unlikely humanist hero stands with a few brave hearts, a courageous group of Free thinking French Aristocrats and Artisans, called Huguenots, who give up fortune and fame for a dangerous belief, risking death or dungeon. Their persecution begins with a few outspoken nobles and explodes into massacres of even women and children and triggers a French Civil War. Their only hope is to recant their beliefs or to escape from France. Their fight and flight sparks a debate that changes political thought forever.


When all had seemed lost, the Huguenot fight for freedom sparked a debate for civil disobedience against religious and political tyranny. Their forced migration had carried their love of liberty across borders and oceans and laid the foundation for the U.S. Constitution.

Yet, it is not until the American Revolution that France’s loss truly becomes America’s gain. It was then that the French Catholic Lafayette discovered that his good friend George Washington and many other American patriots, scholars and entrepreneurs are descendants of the French Huguenots.

Notes: The English word “refugee” came from the exile of Huguenot’s from France.

Huguenot Descendant Short List:

Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Warren Buffet,Steve Forbes, Charlize Theron, Kenneth Branagh, Marlin Brando, Winston Churchill, Lawrence Olivier, Tyrone Power, Megan Fox, Tom Brokaw, John Rockefeller, George Patton, George Will, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Tiffany, A.I. Dupont, Charles Lindbergh, Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Jay, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Roget, Francis Marion, Davy Crockett, John Sevier, Peter James Bayard, Jean Belmain, John James Audubon, Mary Cassatt, David Demarest, as well as over a dozen American Presidents have documented Huguenot ancestry. Many more world citizens, knowingly and unknowingly, also share this legacy of honor.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”

We carry the memories of our ancestors in every cell of our bodies.“The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors.” Goethe

“Rebirth” was written not only for those who love history or philosophy, but for those who understand that the past is our present, because it lives within the cellular memories and in our collective consciousness. May this story give all the courage to change circumstances, even to those who feel love and liberty to be illusive and fleeting. This heritage of love, honor and freedom is our birthright and belongs to us all.

T tree

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” —Edmund Burke ———–
“Pride and power fall when the person falls, but discoveries of truth form legacies that can be built upon for generations”
—Criss Jami

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
—Benjamin Franklin

For more information on Huguenot genealogy or on the award winning screenplay REBIRTH: feel free to email me: or


To understand the legacy of French Huguenots in America, it is first necessary to know of their persecution and fight for tolerance and freedom in France.  The stage is set with high stakes devoted to the rise and respect for civil liberty, the cause for which many Huguenot patriots and innocents are murdered. To ‘speak your mind’  literally means to risk losing your head. This amazing true story reveals how most Huguenots are well educated aristocrats willing to give up everything as they riske death and dungeon for the right to speak their conscience.

In a world torn between renaissance and genocide, “Rebirth” reveals a provocative epic of a notorious and almost forgotten true story, set in a time when faith, law and king are one.

“Rebirth” is a mix of all the things that we are told should never be discussed: sex, love, politics, war and religion, to excite with its larger-than-life characters, in an emotional roller coaster of passion and intrigue, with many contemporary echoes of religious terrorism and the reason for separation of church and state.


The story opens through the eyes of a little boy who loses his faith and his faith in humanity, then unfolds into his life twelve years later as a womanizing artist who escapes his pain through pleasure. As he escapes, the world around him dissolves into anarchy. With intolerance blessed, the political and religious corruption is matched only by the cruelty.

All explodes when the villain Duke De Guise, commits a mass murder and is not arrested; but instead greeted like a modern day bad boy, cheered on through the streets of Paris. As tyranny triumphs, this unlikely hero emerges. Edmund du Chastel, a pacifist and humanist at heart, exchanges his brush for a sword in a fight for liberty and life itself.

Edmund’s transformation is partially based on the pain of his past, his search for the meaning of honor, and standing up for a cause greater than self. His unexpected love for an extraordinary young woman, Genevieve, is the love that changes his life and gives him courage in his quest for redemption. Their love story sizzles as it warms the heart and transcends the turbulent time.

Unlike William Wallace in “Braveheart”, who had little left to lose, these heroes are a pure and rare example of men and women who have everything – prominence, prestige and all the pleasures that success brings – and sacrifice it all to stand for cause greater than self.

After many arrests and massacres, the Huguenot options are clear to the few still alive: to either recant or escape from France. Their estates  and treasures are confiscated as they leave all they own behind and yet take with them something far more priceless: a respect for honor and a love of liberty, justice and tolerance for all.


REBIRTH is also a timeless love story woven throughout, that rises above it all.  As this provocative true story reveals, this courage cost the Huguenots so dearly.


Soon, France’s loss soon becomes America’s gain with the sowing of these ideals in her fertile ground; their honor and bravery admired by the English ‘Free Thinkers’. These ‘brave hearts’ find acceptance and admiration in all the countries that take them in. France eventually realizes the loss of her most noble and industrious citizens,  leading to poverty of body, mind and will,  and weakens France for decades and paves the way for the French Revolution.

The wide spread influence of the early French Huguenots outside France is quickly notable. However, the Huguenots do not strive to isolate themselves or perputae race purity or predjudice, instead they assimilate  to become productive world citizens. For centuries, Huguenots were known for their humility and honesty.

In this way they sometimes lost immediate recognition, but undoubtedly have left a legacy of liberty and honor that has been handed down for generations. It is a legacy that  many, including Johnny Depp, would be proud to share with their children and grandchildren.



The Roots of inhumanity: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Politics without principles…”

REBIRTH: the Sequel (in progress)

Greatness sometimes skips a generation or two as grandson Captain Edmund becomes a privateer and comes to Philadelphia with a young William Penn… Pirates and corrupt Politicians seek gold and the excesses of mortality on the high seas, and amid the high ideals in the city of brotherly love. Add a real Secret Society in search of the immortality of the Philosopher’s Stone, and you have haunted and hunted heroes on totally different paths of a true adventure and altered destiny.

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  • Super inofmrative writing; keep it up.

  • Thank you for your comment and support.:)

  • It is not just the ‘Johnny Depps’ who have Huguenot heritage. People all over great and small call themselves Huguenots, As do I.

  • Michael,
    Yes, absolutely true, millions are descendants, as it is also part of my heritage. Nevertheless, far too many do not know the significance of the Huguenot legacy. It’s simply that the more famous descendants help garner the attention the Huguenot legacy deserves and the cause of civil liberty that ALL are worthy of. Most do not know that it was the hard fought ideals the Huguenots risked and lost all for– is why we in democratic countries, esp. the U.S. are able to speak our heart and minds without risk of death or dungeon.

  • I am a descendent of Capt. Edmund du Chastel. The name was eventually spelled to Casteel and some branches, like mine, shortened it to Steele. I was excited to read what you posted !

  • I found this interesting because I am a descendant of Edmund du Chastel de Blangerval, who came to the New World in the 1600s and was a Privateer for the British Queen. I wonder if this is the same Edmund in the screenplay.

  • Rebirth— (The Cost of Freedom) is based on much historical fact, along with historical fiction, set between the years of 1562-1572. I finally got tired of brick walls in my Casteel research, and turned to intuition in my research – and believe much of this story came from my cellular memories of what and who I imagined our Edmund’s great grandparents to be. THE ESSENCE is captured, especially of their tribulations in fighting against intolerance, for basic civil liberty. MUCH of the story takes place here:

    A trilogy is in progress, the 2nd set in Elizabethan England (The Code of Honor) where Huguenots were basically “hired” by Queen Elizabeth and were the first covert CIA type organization that evolved into the real BUCCANEERS.)

    The third film will be based on OUR best known Capt. Edmund, set in Philadelphia in 1695 with twists and turns and a little creative license, weaving all known facts. Overall, this is a tribute to our Du Chastel/ Casteel family and one I think we will all be very proud of.:) (I AM ALREADY WORKING ON THIS.:)(Rebirth— The Cost of Freedom) is based on much Historical fact along with Historical fiction, set between the years of 1562-1572. I finally got tired of brick walls, and turned to intuition in my research and believe much of this story came from my cellular memories of what and who I imagined our Edmunds great grandparents to be and especially their tribulations in fighting against intolerance, for basic civil liberty.


  • I am a direct descendant of Jerome Pillippe Corbelius Du Chastel De Blangerval (my 9Grandfather), then his son, Edmund de Blangerval du Chastel, then his son Edmund Du Chastel De Blangerval II, then his son, Joseph Casteel–all the way down to my Great Grandma Daisy Elizabeth Casteel. SO this movie is of great interest to me!! How can I view it??

  • WELCOME, COUSIN:) That is WONDERFUL!!! The screenplay is now in pre-production and praying it will be a film in the very near future (making great progress in film time;) I share the same du Chastel (Casteel) line to Joseph, his son Samuel who married Agnes Fields, his son William who married Lucy Dingus, and their daughter Margaret Casteel who married Robert Patrick Blevins. Their daughter is my mother. When doing genealogy research, I had hit a dead end after Capt. Edmund and just started researching the Huguenots, and was literally DRIVEN to write this story of their fight for FREEDOM that is almost forgotten and never told from their perspective. I will keep you posted on the films progress, but can tell you that it is moving forward!:) Feel free to email me anytime: and visit the IMDb page (with a temporary poster.) I also have two sequels in progress, one which is the story of our Capt. Edmund in Philadelphia, and one of his “privateering” adventures.:) Also LIKE Rebirth (The Cost of Freedom) on Facebook and feel free to share. I am also on twitter: T.L. Lewis SO EXCITED TO “MEET” YOU!!!:)

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