Mega-stardom often comes with a ton of speculation and judgment and certainly Johnny Depp has been highly scrutinized for a variety of things over the years. From a messy divorce with an apparently abusive wife, a wild lifestyle, crazy film characters, and huge expenditures on wine, the public has been consumed with all things Depp ever since his role in 21 Jump Street (the television series, young people).
So, for all you fans that can’t get enough of Johnny Depp, we have compiled a list of some awesome things you may not know about the wildly eccentric but talented actor and musician.
Nicholas Cage Convinced Depp to Become an Actor
Back in the early 80s, Depp was a struggling musician when he happened to meet another intriguing and equally weird personality, Nicholas Cage. According to Cage, the two quickly became friends and started rooming together.
One night while playing board games at their home, Cage suggested that Depp start acting in addition to pursuing his music career. After Depp agreed, Cage hooked him up with his agent who got Depp an audition for Nightmare on Elm Street.
The rest, of course, is history as Depp went on to bigger and better things, but never gave up his love of music, which takes us to #2.
Depp is a Guitarist in Hollywood Vampires
Although Depp’s music career was put on the back burner for a couple decades, he teamed up with rockers Alice Cooper and Joe Perry to form the Hollywood Vampires in 2015. The group has produced two studio albums with plans to make a live album in the future. Their studio tracks have included other icons like Paul McCartney and even Christopher Lee.
Named after the drinking club founded by Cooper in the 70s that included people like John Lennon and Ringo Starr, the group has been joined at times by music greats such as Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum of Guns ‘n’ Roses.
The band’s initial goal was to honor rock legends that had died due to “excesses”, but has morphed into quite a large project limited only by the demanding schedule of Depp.
Always Ready to be Captain Jack Sparrow
While older fans know Depp for his many roles leading up to his fame, he is most commonly known to younger fans as the actor who plays Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Carribean franchise.
Depp has been the subject of much admiration for his continued effort to add some joy and life to children with terminal diseases or those receiving extended care in hospital pediatric wards by dressing up as the well known pirate while visiting these children. The impromptu guest appearances often last for several hours.
What you may not know is that these appearances are often spontaneous based on location and time constraints involved in Depp’s busy schedule. Therefore, Depp keeps a complete Captain Jack Sparrow costume with him at all times so he can appear at a moment’s notice.
To keep the events fun and exciting for the children, Depp always remains completely in character during the visits.
Depp and Hunter S. Thompson Were Already Friends Before Fear and Loathing
One of Depp’s most brilliant roles was playing the famed journalist, Raoul Duke aka Hunter S. Thompson, in the semi-biographical pic based on the novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The film centers on the drug induced adventures of Thompson and a friend while covering a sporting event in Las Vegas, Nevada in the 70s.
The choice of Depp as the lead character was no accident as he had met and befriended Thompson years earlier at the writer’s house in Aspen, Colorado. In their first meeting, the two shot some of Thompson’s shotguns and even built a “bomb” using some propane tanks, which ended in near disaster.
The two remained very close for years until the 2005 when Thompson committed suicide. Keeping to Thompson’s last wishes, Depp spent between $3 and $5 million (depending on the source) to shoot Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon as a parting honor to the legendary novelist.
Depp Took a Lead Role in Honoring Actors River Phoenix and Heath Ledger
Two brilliant young actors that both succumbed to excesses have both crossed the path of Depp and in different ways, but his unselfish and charitable spirit has shown through in each case.
On Halloween night in 1993, the world was shocked to hear about the drug overdose of River Phoenix. The young star was incredibly popular and extremely talented. Ironically, Phoenix’s overdose occurred at the Viper Room, a popular nightclub in Hollywood that was co-owned by Depp.
Depp ordered the venue to close for a week and allowed the club to become a bit of a shrine to the deceased actor giving friends and fans a place to show their respects. Additionally, until he sold his stake in the club in 2004, it remained closed every Halloween in tribute to River Phoenix.
Perhaps even more remarkable was Depp’s contributions to the Ledger family following the tragic death of the uber talented Heath Ledger in his apartment several years ago. Depp, along with Colin Farrell and Jude Law helped Terry Gilliam finish the film that Ledger had been working on at the time of his death.
The three actors played “visions” of the title character in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which allowed filming to continue and wrap. Gilliam later released the film as a tribute to Ledger. In typical Depp fashion, he donated all of his salary from the film to a savings account for Ledger’s daughter, Matilda. Farrell and Law did the same.
Additionally, Depp renamed a portion of the island he owns in the Bahamas as Heath’s Place and offered the location as a place to rest and recover for the Ledger family following the tragedy and anytime in the future.
Without a doubt based on Depp’s curious ways, there are more (or will be) many other unique and tremendous things we might learn about the actor endeared by so many throughout the world. We, along with many of you, will be eager to see what new stuff might surface in the future.