Depp digs a deeper hole
LONDON Johnny Depp gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine – and it’s every bit as bonkers as you might expect.
In the story, published this week, reporter Stephen Roderick said it had taken 200 emails to get in a room with Depp, who brought him to his London home and indicated he was ready to ‘‘bare his soul about his empty bank accounts’’.
The Hollywood star, 55, is locked in a legal battle with his former business managers over his dwindling fortune. Last year, he sued The Management Group (TMG) for US$25 million, alleging the company mismanaged nearly US$400m through fees he didn’t agree to, incurring late fees via delinquent income tax filings, and making loans to themselves and members of his entourage that he didn’t approve.
TMG promptly countersued, saying Depp frittered away his money on extravagances and ignored their warnings that he couldn’t afford to keep spending at that pace.
If his intention for the interview (arranged by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman, an American consultant with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin) was to counteract the notion that he’s out of touch with reality or knock down the reports of his outlandish spending – including US$30,000 a month on wine, 14 pieces of real estate, an US$18m yacht and 45 luxury cars – it’s not clear whether he succeeded. He may have actually made his situation worse.
In a soul-baring interview conducted over three drink- and drug-fuelled days and nights at a rented mansion in Highgate, north London, the Pirates of the Caribbean star succeeded in portraying himself as lonely, confused and sadly debauched, boasting about his spending even as he railed against his ‘‘betrayal’’ by TMG.
During the interview, he never appeared during daylight hours, he smoked joints rolled from a pile of hashish on the dining room table.
Here are a few of the most notable revelations from the story: He’s blown through nearly $650 million: The Rolling Stone story estimates that over the course of his 30-year movie career, Depp’s films have made US$3.6 billion in profits. He’s been paid approximately US$650m. And it’s almost all gone. Depp had no idea he was behind on his taxes: ‘‘I just had no clue,’’ the actor told Roderick, who observed that the tax discussion was ‘‘one of the few moments when he looked genuinely worried’’ about his financial situation. His accountants actually lowballed some of his most extravagant expenses: ‘‘It’s insulting to say that I spent US$30,000 on wine,’’ says Depp of one of the more wasteful expenditures noted in theTMG lawsuit. ‘‘Because it was far more.’’
The same goes for the rocket he used to launch the ashes of his idol, Thompson, into the sky exactly 30cm higher than the Statue of Liberty. ‘‘By the way, it was not US$3 million to shoot Hunter into the (expletive) sky,’’ he noted. ‘‘It was US$5 million.’’ He says the spring of 2016 was ‘‘the lowest I believe I could have gotten’’: Depp says he entered a period of ‘‘acute depression’’ following the public airing of his finances and the one-two punch of ex-wife Amber Heard accusing him of physical abuse and filing for divorce the night before his mother’s funeral WALT DISNEY PICTURES in May 2016.
‘‘I was as low as I believe I could have gotten,’’ he says grimly of his life in 2016. ‘‘The next step was, ‘You’re going to arrive somewhere with your eyes open and you’re going to leave there with your eyes closed’. I couldn’t take the pain every day.’’
Depp says he coped by composing his memoir on a manual typewriter, Hunter S Thompson-style.
‘‘I poured myself a vodka in the morning and started writing until the tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t see the page any more,’’ he says.
‘‘I kept trying to figure out what I’d done to deserve this. I’d tried being kind to everyone, helping everyone, being truthful to everyone. The truth is most important to me. And all this still happened.’’ He didn’t sell his St Tropez estate after a tearful phone call from his daughter: In 2015, Mandel told Depp that in order to cover loans that were coming due, he would need to do two movies and sell his French village near St Tropez, which he’d shared with former partner Vanessa Paradis and their two children, Lily-Rose and Jack.
Depp was initially open to the idea of selling Hameau, but ruled it out after Lily-Rose called him crying, begging him not to sell her childhood home.
Depp continued to waver on selling the property. Instead of cutting the price in the hope of a quick sale, Rodrick writes, he kept raising it from its original price of US$13m to US$27m. At one point late in 2016, Variety put the price at US$63m.
Depp never did sell it, or any of his other properties.
By January 2016, things were so bad Depp’s employees couldn’t even buy house plants. Depp fired TMG two months later. He confirms that a sound engineer fed him lines through an earpiece: Asked about an allegation in TMG’s lawsuit that claimed Depp had lines fed to him through an earpiece on movie sets, Depp said it wasn’t just for lines. A sound engineer also played him sound effects, which he said heightened his performance.
‘‘I’ve got bagpipes, a baby crying and bombs going off. It creates a truth. Some of my biggest heroes were in silent film,’’ he explained.
‘‘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 (expletive) words are.’’ USA Today, The Times
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies have helped Johnny Depp earn an estimated US$650 million over the course of his career – and it’s almost all gone.