Robert Downey Jr gave an amazing interview to Esquire to promote Iron Man 3 and in my coverage of that piece -- click here for a refresher -- I wrote that the best interviews should not be excerpted but, rather, read in its pure form. In doing so, you respect the writer’s work and you respect the subject’s candour, digesting the information the way it was intended to be presented, in the spirit that the information was provided.
The same approach should be applied to Johnny Depp’s new profile in Rolling Stone in advance of the release of The Lone Ranger. This is Johnny at 50 -- perhaps not as easily charming as RDJ, certainly not as verbose, but equally as unguarded in his own way, and definitely more so than, say, someone like Brad Pitt, who has decided he has 2 messages and will not stray from them, at all, ever.
Perhaps for the Depps and the RDJs of the world, it’s easier to be so open when there’s nothing to lose. How could they lose? RDJ has already been through the worst. And Johnny Depp, well, Johnny Depp thinks he could walk away, no problem. After reading this article, I almost believe him. It’s still not enough to revive that old affection, at least not for me (you’ll understand when you read the eyerolly parts about his aesthetic), but I do appreciate that he was willing to talk. And not just in circles and platitudes, but really talk.
For that reason, again, I urge you to stay away from the excerpts and enjoy the piece from beginning to end without having it spoiled by some headline somewhere about Vanessa Paradis. Because, yes, he does discuss their breakup. Without comprising their personal affairs, he does so with a lot of grace and integrity. I imagine that same grace and integrity are the reasons he does not discuss Amber Heard, though he does allow the writer to include the confirmation that they are indeed together.
Perhaps more interesting is what Johnny has to say about his relationship with alcohol. There were reports that he drank too much. And I once reported that when he was in Venice shooting The Tourist with the Jolie, Vanessa would be on his ass about not being present because he was drinking too much. He doesn’t deny it. In his mind, it was never too serious, but it had to be for him to recognise the need to stop, right? As for the smoking, for me, this is probably where I can relate to him the most. I’ve said before that those of us who smoke love it in a way that non-smokers don’t understand. It will be a fight forever. I’ve replaced real cigarettes with e-cigarettes. So far this is working. But only because of the habit. I don’t know if I’ll ever get place where I’ll be able to not smoke ...anything. And I don’t know if Johnny Depp will either.
Manson, who agreed to be interviewed for this piece, describes Johnny as “childlike”. It’s an astute observation, and one that’s repeated later by his frequent director Tim Burton. Johnny Depp is still a boy who plays with masks and hides between bars. It’s the lasting impression I took away from this article. They call him an Outlaw but in his case, it’s really more like Boy. And, as a result, I have a lot of love, even more, for Vanessa Paradis.
Click here to read the entire Johnny Depp article in Rolling Stone.