I didn’t know it when I went to sleep, but Johnny Depp’s face is the last one I wanted to see when I woke up this morning. But, there he is, staring out at me from the GQ cover through his linered, faux-intense eyes. According to the coverline, he’s an “outlaw”, a phrase often reserved for grisly cowboys or Robin Hood – historically, cool people – not a man who has been famously accused of domestic violence.
It took me half an hour to read the full 8,200-word interview with the “outlaw”, this morning, and I’ve been furious ever since. My fury will likely last a long time – at least, longer than anyone’s fury over the allegations that he had been violent towards his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Because this is not the first time Hollywood, the media and Depp’s mates have tried to redeem the actor (or, as GQ words it, tell “the truth Johnny Depp wants you to hear”), simply because he is a good actor. After all, the only reason he’s invited a journalist into his life for a few hours is because he’s got to promote the latest Fantastic Beasts movie.
So, partly as a gesture of goodwill to save you from the same seething anger fermenting in your stomach, and partly as a way to vent, here is a run-down of the lowlights of GQ’s misguided, unnecessary adoration of Johnny Depp:
First things first, the GQ article isn’t a piece of investigative reporting, so, chill out, yeah?
Perhaps the first thing to consider, when deciding whether to put someone on the front cover, is whether you’re going to have to explain – nay, defend – your choice. But GQ knew Depp was a controversial coverstar, so the journalist, or an editor (or both), decided there’d better be a disclaimer somewhere in the copy. Instead, the piece “is merely a snapshot, a chance to sit down and talk to a person of immense interest and talent, who has, it must be noted, brought joy to millions of film lovers all over the world, ever since he moved from Kentucky to LA and a friend, Nicolas Cage, told him he should go and see his acting agent.” Which leads nicely on to the next lesson from the interview-not-report…
Whether Johnny Depp abused Amber Heard or not is irrelevant to GQ
As the article strains to repeat, multiple times, we do not know the truth about the domestic-abuse allegations against Johnny Depp. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned since the dawn of #MeToo, it’s that one woman’s voice is not enough to warrant belief. In the case of Heard, neither is an image of her bruised face; neither is the video of him appearing to throw a glass of red wine at her; neither is the fact she donated some of her divorce-settlement money to domestic-violence charities; neither are the other allegations of violence against Depp from a co-worker, whom he allegedly punched twice in the stomach; neither is his long history of drug and alcohol addiction.
As the article strains to repeat multiple times, we do not know the truth about the domestic-abuse allegations against Johnny Depp. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned since the dawn of #MeToo, it’s that one woman’s voice is not enough to warrant belief
Johnny Depp lives in a fucking abandoned church in a French village that he owns
A less important detail, but one that feeds into the narrative that Depp is a troubled artist, locked away lest he face any consequences for his actions. The author describes Depp’s bedroom (he can tell it’s a bedroom, because of the four-poster bed in there, in case you were wondering), as having “clothes strewn about like a teenager just home from school”, with all the glee of a teenager just home from school. Further into the depths of the church, he finds a (“black, vintage”) typewriter, on which it appears Depp has written a private, “eloquent” page of a book – it’s not repeated in the GQ article, because the journalist feels as though he’s snooping and THIS IS NOT A PIECE OF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING.
Everything in Johnny Depp’s life relates back to money
The reason he cares about his divorce? He’s worried it will take money away from his children. The reason he (apparently) threw that glass of wine at Heard? He found out he had “lost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars”. Even though he says it’s “crass” to talk about money, he has no issues with announcing he was paid £35m for Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, in which he reprised his role as Captain Jack Sparrow – a character Depp nobly saved from being canned by Disney execs, only to sneak in a line about a “Dirty Sanchez”. Because he’s such a talented actor, you see.
Johnny Depp wears the buckle of his belt on the side, presumably because he’s an outlaw
“Depp’s belt is something else,” says the article. A photograph of said belt reveals that, really, it’s just a normal belt that has gone a bit skew-whiff. It’s the question about the belt that gives Depp the chance to talk about his dick. “A Texas Belt Buckle is where you have to pull your scrotum up over the top of your jeans without undoing them. All the way up and over. Oh, the horror of it all... You have to bring your cock back around and stick it through... Your cock has to go around the bend in a sort of semi fruit basket and then, well, then you’re fucked. You pull your testicles out over the top and leave them just resting there,” he quips, or rambles – I don’t even know anymore. The rest of Depp’s outfit gives the writer more pause for thought. The sleeveless, white, button-down shirt “is like nothing I have ever seen before”, and he’s enamoured with Depp’s baggy blue jeans with holes in – a confusing take, for a magazine that hosts an annual Style Awards.
With the exception of Patti Smith, Johnny Depp absolutely loves men and their “art”
In a piece that reads like one of Jack Kerouac’s more garrulous diary entries, it’s no surprise that certain names crop up. Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas. We get it. Johnny Depp, famous for playing Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka and the Mad Hatter, is an artiste; a plundered soul dedicated to his craft; a maestro; a virtuoso of wearing silly wigs and putting on an accent.
“Truth” has finally lost its meaning
We all thought it would be Donald Trump and his quest against so-called fake news that would be the death of truth and integrity in journalism. But, no, it’s actually Johnny Depp, and his seeking of “the truth”. No, not that truth – his truth.