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Notorious Celebrity Interviews: Johnny Depp for Rolling Stone, 2018 (ONTD Original)

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The article had no photos of Johnny, just this caricature.

Thanksgiving sucks. Instead, let's focus on a notorious celebrity profile: Johnny Depp's trainwreck of an interview for the June 2018 issue of Rolling Stone. This is a long one, so settle down with some leftovers and a glass of wine.

When the interviewer enters Depp's home, he immediately notices the "stogie-sized joint" and the "never-ending reservoir of wine that is poured into goblets."

    The Trouble With Johnny Depp
    by Stephen Rodrick

  • "Depp sits at the head of the table and motions toward some rolling papers and two equal piles of tobacco and hash, and asks if I mind. I don’t. He pauses for a second. “Well, let’s drink some wine first.” This goes on for 72 hours."

  • Depp seems oblivious to any personal complicity in his current predicament. Waldman [Depp's Lawyer] seems to have convinced Depp that they are freedom fighters taking on the Hollywood machine rather than scavengers squabbling over the scraps of a fortune squandered.

  • It strikes me that Depp is now a worn Dorian Gray... But the things that were charming when he was 28 – doing drugs and running around the scaffolding on a high floor of Atlantic Records’ L.A. building – seem disturbing at 55. (Penelope Cruz ends our conversation by telling me about Depp trying to pull his own tooth at a London restaurant while having dinner with her and Stella McCartney.)

  • Maybe being a permanent Peter Pan is the key to Depp’s onscreen charm. But time has passed. Boyish insouciance has slowly morphed into an aging man-child, still charismatic but only in glimpses. If his current life isn’t a perfect copy of Elvis Presley’s last days, it is a decent facsimile.

  • [At Glastonbury] Depp asked, perhaps drunkenly, “Can we bring Trump here? . . . When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” Depp was roasted in the press. “I was trying to connect it to Trump saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, but it didn’t come out right,” says Depp with a shrug.

  • Everyone is exhausted except for Depp. He disappears for a few minutes and returns reanimated, and then proclaims that we have to watch his good friend Marilyn Manson’s “KILL4ME” video, starring Depp in a series of lewd poses with barely clad women.

    In 2016, Depp sued his financial management company, TMG, for allegedly mishandling funds. They counter-sued and claim that he was spending recklessly and being generally ridiculous. Their statements against him included lines like, "Wine is not an investment if you drink it as soon as you buy it.”

  • The lawsuit described the actor as a spoiled brat with no impulse control. Kump noted TMG had never been sued by any of its other clients and that “Depp lived an ultra-extravagant lifestyle that often knowingly cost Depp in excess of $2 million a month to maintain, which he simply could not afford.”

  • "He has paid the IRS more than $5.6 million in late fees."

  • The purchases listed by TMG read like Depp gave his wallet to a tween with ADD. There was $75 million for 14 residences. He spent $3 million to shoot his pal Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes into the sky from a cannon. A mere $7,000 to buy his daughter a couch from the set of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. He bought some 70 guitars and 200 pieces of art, including Basquiats and Warhols, owned 45 luxury vehicles and spent $200,000 a month on private air travel.

  • “If there were things for me to sign that would come in – and there would be occasionally – I would sign them like this,” says Depp, pantomiming signing an imaginary paper with his right hand while his head was swiveled far to the left... “I don’t want to fucking see what they are."

  • According to the suit, Depp kept a sound engineer on the payroll so he could feed him lines through an earpiece while filming. This Depp does not deny, saying the sounds fed to him made him act with just his eyes. “I’ve got bagpipes, a baby crying and bombs going off,” says Depp. “It creates a truth. Some of my biggest heroes were in silent film,” Depp tells me, lighting another cigarette. “It had to be behind the eyes. And my feeling is, that if there’s no truth behind the eyes, doesn’t matter what the fucking words are.”

  • There are a few things Depp insists TMG got wrong – for example, the $30,000 a month the Mandels claimed he spent on wine. “It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 on wine,” says Depp. “Because it was far more.”

    Depp says they got the Hunter S. Thompson cannon story wrong too. “By the way, it was not $3 million to shoot Hunter into the fucking sky,” says Depp. “It was $5 million.”

  • And yet, "According to TMG’s lawsuit, Depp never had more than six months of savings in the bank."

  • Depp simultaneously chastised [his lawyer] Mandel for sending him hefty packets with too much information and expressed complete confusion at how his finances were run.

  • Adding to his troubles, Depp is being sued by his American bodyguards for back wages, and they have alleged they had to alert Depp to “illegal substances visible on his face and person” when in public.

  • Johnny Depp on his legal battles: “It’s the fucking Matrix. I didn’t see the movie, and I didn’t understand the script, but here’s what it is.”

  • In 2010, he started Unison Records, his own label, but by 2014 it had lost between $4 million and $5 million... the label’s president suggested it was time to call it quits... Depp wrote back, telling him to keep going and that it took the world 20 years to catch up to his genius. The label was finally closed a year later.

  • Depp laments the passing of quaaludes from the drug scene. He reminisces about the bootleg ‘ludes he used to take. “They’re made with just a little bit of arsenic, or strychnine,” says Depp... Once, Depp asked a Florida bouncer to punch him while on ‘ludes just for kicks. “You either wanted to smile and just be happy with your pals, or fuck, or fight,” he says.

  • Depp is evangelical in the uses of narcotics and thinks they could have expedited the capture of Osama bin Laden. “You get a bunch of fucking planes, big fucking planes that spray shit, and you drop LSD 25,” he says. “You saturate the fucking place. Every single thing will walk out of their cave smiling, happy.”

    Johnny came to Los Angeles wanting to be a musician, but:
  • "He changed course after an L.A. drinking buddy named Nicolas Cage told him there was money to make in acting."

    Johnny shows the interviewer a racist joke that Don Rickles made about Sugar Ray Robinson, which Depp finds hilarious. Even his own lawyer cringes at it.

    Johnny Depp on Harvey Weinstein:
  • “He was a bully,” says Depp. “Have you seen his wife? It’s not a wide range. It’s not like he went, ‘I must go to the Poconos to find some hairy-backed bitch.'"

    Clown Boner:
  • He says one of the proudest moments of his life was when Jack said he’d started a band and Depp asked what they were called.

    “The kid says ‘Clown Boner.’” Depp smiles proudly. “We don’t need a paternity test. That’s my kid.”

    He once gave his housemates scabies:
    One time, after ending the previous night in a cheap Venice Beach motel, Depp returned home. Within 48 hours, everyone was scratching below the belt. There was an apartment meeting: “We’re itchy. Why are we itchy?”

    Depp shaved his entire body. He looked at the crabs under a magnifying glass.

    “They look like crab-crabs, like from the sea.” He laughs a bit. “I gave everyone scabies,” says Depp, taking another drag on a cigarette. “You know how hard it is to tell your roommates that?”

  • Someone mentions they can’t stand Oasis. This is enough of an opening for Depp to grab an acoustic guitar and spend 20 minutes tuning it, before squawking out a few notes of “Wonderwall.” My head pounds, but you can tell the guitar brings him comfort, taking him back to his younger days when he was a male ingénue and not a punchline: bankrupt, isolated and one more mistake away from being blackballed from his industry.

    At long last, the interviewer leaves.
  • “Thanks for coming,” says Depp. “This could be your Pulitzer.”

Read more in this series: notorious interviews with Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Beyoncé, Channing Tatum, and Cara Delevingne, and Miles Teller.

Are you good at managing money, ONTD?

Lol what money?

Mods, I hope the excerpts aren't too long. The profile is several thousand words, so it's only a fraction.

Tags: interview, johnny depp, magazine covers and articles, ontd original, pr training needed, you in danger

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