Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Sweeney Todd » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:31 pm



Johnny Depp breaks silence on Fantastic Beasts sequel role

James Hibberd
October 11, 2018 at 02:34 PM EDT

It’s been two years since Johnny Depp surprised audiences by appearing near the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The actor’s casting was the Harry Potter prequel’s best-kept secret, a climatic surprise when Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) magically revealed that the fugitive dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald had been hiding in plain sight the whole movie, disguised as Percival Graves (Colin Farrell).

Yet the casting of the three-time Oscar nominee drew mixed reactions from fans. A few months before the film’s premiere, Depp was accused of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. Depp denied the allegations. After production was announced on the film’s sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — with Depp’s character right in the title — studio Warner Bros., screenwriter J.K. Rowling, and director David Yates were compelled to issue statements supporting Depp’s participation. “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” Rowling wrote.

Depp has never given an interview about the role until now. For this week’s cover story on The Crimes of Grindelwald, EW spoke to the film’s cast, several of whom spoke highly of the actor’s work. “I was very curious how this guy was gonna be on set,” one costar said. “It was right in the middle of, you know … I only observed him just being totally sweet and professional.” Depp also helped design Grindelwald’s unique look (a pasty-faced, platinum-haired vision of fascistic extremism), and added his own improvisational touches while filming. “An example being when Johnny conducts a barrage of spells in one of the film’s climactic scenes like a conductor guiding an orchestra, except instead of creating music he’s effectively creating fiery mayhem and death,” Yates recalls.

Of course, how Depp acted on set, and how he performs on screen, will be, for some, totally beside the point. This is a highly unusual situation for a blockbuster Hollywood title. Here’s a big-budget, family-friendly fantasy franchise (with three more films planned) delivering a timely message of humanity and inclusiveness by a progressive author of the most beloved book series of our time. Its best-known actor, playing the title character, apparently gives a scene-stealing performance. Yet he’s also undeniably a lightning rod for controversy.

Below, Depp spoke by phone with EW to discuss creating his character. We asked the actor about joining the franchise, developing Grindelwald’s look, his character’s sexuality, and for his response to Harry Potter fans who protest his participation in the film.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s go back to the beginning, before the first film. Were you a Harry Potter fan at all before all this?
Johnny DEPP:
I read the books when my kids were smaller and watched the films with them. The books were superb. What J.K. [Rowling] delivered is really a difficult thing to do as a writer — to create a whole new universe and a set of rules. And you pick it up in one fell swoop in the first book and first film. It’s a whole lot of information and I was amazed — you never felt like you were being slathered with exposition or being condescended to. It’s good literature and great writing in its own right. It ticks all the boxes. And I had a lot friends in the film, like Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) is a great friend. Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley) was a great friend, rest his soul. So I was pretty familiar with them and hugely impressed.

Did you meet with Rowling initially?
We met by Skype. We had a very long conversation. We got together again when I arrived in London for fittings. From the first second it’s been an absolute treat and the most positive and fun experience. The opportunity to play one of her characters and try to bring something to the part that might even hopefully surprise her or Yates, that was a great challenge but a real gas. A lot of fun.

What initially drew you to playing Gellert Grindelwald?
I found the character fascinating and complex. My instinct reaction is he was like a human version of Finnegans Wake: James Joyce’s novel begins and ends in the middle of a sentence. You come in in mid-thought and then it’s a very confusing ride.

In the first film, Colin Farrell played Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves. Did his performance influence things at all?
It does, and then it doesn’t. As Grindelwald [was pretending to be] Graves, his respon­sibility is to portray Graves. I suppose the more contemplative moments of Colin’s — the more silent moments — for me, that’s when I would see bits of Grindelwald.

You’re known for having a hand in creating your characters. We only got to see him briefly in the first film, did you have any say in his initial appearance?
I had an image in my head of the guy. The beauty of J.K. and of Yates is they put trust in me to a degree. J.K. and I had some really nice talks and I had some ideas and she just said, “I can’t wait to see what you do with him.” It was beautifully left as this open gift.

Did the character’s conception evolve at all between the two films?
You get one brief introduction to Grindelwald in the first one. There were a number of things in the second film we got to plug in and utilize that gives you more of an insight into Grindelwald and that’s all due to J.K.’s approach to the character. Sometimes things arrive and for me in the moment and its always important to pay attention to whatever that is, when you have a certain instinct about something. I always follow it. She and David were great in terms of allowing me to step outside of the screenplay and dialogue as written and travel a bit more and try things. Something happening by chance. To me, that’s always the most satisfying — mistakes or accidents.

He now has, as one of your costars referred to, a “Scary Eye,” one eye rather different from the other. Does that have a backstory, is that just creepy?
It’s a character choice. I saw Grindelwald as more than one, if you know what I mean. I almost felt like he’s maybe two people. He’s twins in one body. So a gamey eye is more like the other side of him. Sort of like a brain for each eye, an albino twin, and he’s somewhere in the middle.

Based on some things your castmates have said, some fans will make Donald Trump comparisons. Is that fair?
I don’t see Donald Trump comparisons at all. To me, there’s something almost childlike in [Grindelwald]. His dream is for the wizard world to stand tall and above. It’s a fascistic element, and there’s nothing more dangerous than somebody who is a dreamer with a specific vision that’s very strong and very dangerous and he can make it happen. But no character wakes up and goes, “I’m going to do the worst things possible today and be evil as hell.” I do believe Grindelwald is an oddly likable character.

What does Grindelwald think of Dum­bledore at this point?
I think he’s just waiting. He’s looking forward to [their inevitable showdown]. I think there’s probably a lot of residue left over from days gone by. They quite bonded, you know? When you loved someone, and cared for someone, and it arrives into a [combative] arena — as it has with Dumbledore and Grindelwald — it’s very dangerous when it becomes personal.

There’s been lots of focus on Dumbledore’s sexuality and how much should be in the film, but very little speculating about Grindlewald. What’s your take on your character’s sexuality and how much of that is apparent in the portrayal?
I think it should be left up to the audience to feel it first, and when the time comes … It makes the situation with Dum­bledore all the more intense. I think there’s a jealousy with Scamander. He sees Scamander as Dumbledore’s protégé — his boy, in a way. That in itself is enough for Grindelwald to want to take Scamander down in a way that is ferocious and eternal.

Another controversy surrounded your participation in the film. The director, studio, and Rowling issued statements of support. What was that like for you, and is there anything you’d say to fans on the fence about seeing the film?
I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that. But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations. J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me. She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.

[Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. Heard’s team has slammed the actor’s denials as “shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past.”]

Anything else you want fans to know?
A couple of things. I feel like the main thing as an actor is your loyalty. It’s my job to enforce the author’s vision and also be true to the director’s vision. And then there’s being true to my vision. It’s a major responsibility, being handed the keys to this car. My intense loyalty is to not just J.K. and David Yates but to the people who go and see the films as well, the people who have invested their lives into this magnificent, incredible world J.K. has created. I went full tilt and headfirst into the character knowing the responsibility that I had. It’s good to take the audience on a ride they’re not necessarily expecting, yet with great respect to the world they’ve come to understand and know. The Potter fans are like scholars of this stuff which I find incredibly impressive. They know that world inside and out. I hope to give them something they haven’t seen before.

:sweeneydepp: Never forget. Never forgive. :sweeneydepp:

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:42 pm

Another great, great interview. I am floored by this entire thing -- the current series of interviews. He speaks boldly but humbly, if that makes sense. He is secure and he answers from that vantage point. And that allows him to be expansive, to go beyond generality into the substance of his process regarding Grindelwald. I love the shaded portrait he is giving this character also, not simplistic bad guy but a fascist with who is oddly likable. Can't wait.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby justintime » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:16 pm

Fabulous article/interview, Sweeney Todd! Thank you for posting. Yes, fireflydances, bold yet humble and notably secure. My heart is singing!

The bracketed comment from Heard’s attorney, now showing in the linked article, is shown below and differs significantly from the bracketed response that is included with the whole posted article. The bracketed comment now showing on line is trying to resurrect the need for confidentiality in resolving current issues. What was seemingly her attorneys’ first comment on the article was familiar and obnoxiously defiant. Johnny has them on the run. I hope he finally PROVES his case with a court ruling and absolutely nothing less. He must be exonerated totally and beyond question. He may not have another opportunity.

NEW: [Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. When reached by EW, Heard’s attorney replied, “As the parties agreed in their divorce to resolve future disputes in confidential arbitration, that is the appropriate forum to address Mr. Depp’s public denials that he abused Ms. Heard.”] .

vs

OLD: [Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. Heard’s team has slammed the actor’s denials as “shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past.”]
"Stay low." ~ JD
"I don't like it in here . . . it's terribly crowded." ~ Hatter
"There's something about Johnny that breaks your heart." ~ John Logan, ST
"Tear deeper, Mother." ~ Wilmot

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Ade » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:12 am

Fantastic article - I've been desperate for him to speak about this role and so angry that he/WB have felt the need to hold him back - although maybe their strategy was right.

Anyway - interesting thing about the two sides' attorneys. Adam Waldeman always speaks to the law. He did it during the dispute with the financial managers - he always made his points or his replies on issues of the law - evidence, referring to what was actually being challenged rather than making PR statements. And he's still doing that - whereas AH's lawyers talking about confidentiality? Seriously?

I wonder if she will form any part of the Sun's defence, other than them relying on what is already in the public domain. And isn't it interesting that the Sun hasn't sought to settle - despite them changing the article? More publicity and traffic on their website I suppose and the amount of damages being requested isn't huge so they can presumably roll with it.

I am off topic. Great article! He is so professionally respectful of writers and directors, it sounds like a really artistic creative process - how wonderful for all involved.

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Ade » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:16 am

Sorry one other thing on the article - I loved that he spoke about coming to the Harry Potter books and films through his children - which is how so many of us have. I was afraid - given how honest he always is and how he often doesn't seem to live in the mainstream world - that if he hadn't, he would say he hadn't been a Harry Potter fan and all of the fandom would go mad. But no - of course you can just imagine him enjoying this with his kids. If they are fans they must be so excited for this.

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby meeps » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:12 am

I have a thought here - IF we accept, that both Betty Sue and Amber said nasty things to Johnny, hit him and threw things at him, might his mom's behaviour in his childhood have sort of condition him for Amber's later? Made him accept her bullying and abusing him as pretty normal, perhaps kind of what he deserved, and so made him stay with her much longer than he really should?
I wrote IF, because we don't know for certain, what happened in either situation, although I fully believe Johnny.
But is my thought just armchair psychology - baloney - or does it have some merit?

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Re: Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Chocolat » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:15 am

meeps wrote:I have a thought here - IF we accept, that both Betty Sue and Amber said nasty things to Johnny, hit him and threw things at him, might his mom's behaviour in his childhood have sort of condition him for Amber's later? Made him accept her bullying and abusing him as pretty normal, perhaps kind of what he deserved, and so made him stay with her much longer than he really should?
I wrote IF, because we don't know for certain, what happened in either situation, although I fully believe Johnny.
But is my thought just armchair psychology - baloney - or does it have some merit?




I understand what you are saying, meeps. When a person is brought up in an abusive family, they become desensitized to the abuse especially if it's followed by loving times. It's just easier to forgive the hard times when love means more to you. Later on in adult life, it becomes part of their conditioning. It's difficult to eradicate the old tapes that one has become accustomed with and, ultimately, it's the way of life for that person. Abuse comes in many forms and what may be abuse to one person, could very well be "ignored" by another person based on what they have experienced in the past.
~ MAGICK HAPPENS ~
Through the years, for the many xoxo's, giggles & kindness...
thank you & love you Johnny.

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby meeps » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:36 pm

Thanks for agreeing with me :love:

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby RumLover » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:48 pm

justintime wrote:Fabulous article/interview, Sweeney Todd! Thank you for posting. Yes, fireflydances, bold yet humble and notably secure. My heart is singing!

The bracketed comment from Heard’s attorney, now showing in the linked article, is shown below and differs significantly from the bracketed response that is included with the whole posted article. The bracketed comment now showing on line is trying to resurrect the need for confidentiality in resolving current issues. What was seemingly her attorneys’ first comment on the article was familiar and obnoxiously defiant. Johnny has them on the run. I hope he finally PROVES his case with a court ruling and absolutely nothing less. He must be exonerated totally and beyond question. He may not have another opportunity.

NEW: [Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. When reached by EW, Heard’s attorney replied, “As the parties agreed in their divorce to resolve future disputes in confidential arbitration, that is the appropriate forum to address Mr. Depp’s public denials that he abused Ms. Heard.”] .

vs

OLD: [Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. Heard’s team has slammed the actor’s denials as “shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past.”]


Interesting change. I have to wonder if the old response was from Heard's PR and not her attorney. The new response might be because the real attorney objected.
(PR writers do write quotes and attribute them to the client. I know a PR writer whose co-worker once prematurely sent a press release about a new product with the quote attributed to "[find someone senior for this quote]")

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby meeps » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:04 am



NEW: Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. When reached by EW, Heard’s attorney replied, “As the parties agreed in their divorce to resolve future disputes in confidential arbitration, that is the appropriate forum to address Mr. Depp’s public denials that he abused Ms. Heard.”.


Normally I would also say, that the parties should discuss things like that in private. But that wouldn't help Johnny, would it now?
It's not like, I presume, he can persuade Amber to come out and confess in public, that he did nothing worse than spoil her more than she could handle. On the contrary. She has also felt quite free to comment in public, and it is of course not the first time she has done that:

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby marija » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:41 pm

I agree with you Meeps at all. This woman is telling lies about Johnny since theire divorce...and she did/ does it in public in every mag she could reaching. Now it's enough. Shall folks see what nice person she is. :sick2:
...it's not easy, to be different..."

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Ruby Begonia » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:13 pm

Has anyone discovered the name of her new attorney/law firm? Didn't see it in the EW article or anywhere else. Is the firm embarrassed by her or vice versa? Going up against Adam Waldman and/ or Depp's other legal reps must be daunting.

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby justintime » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:44 pm

meeps wrote:


NEW: Note: Depp’s attorney has claimed “evidence” will be presented during court proceedings in The Sun defamation case next month. When reached by EW, Heard’s attorney replied, “As the parties agreed in their divorce to resolve future disputes in confidential arbitration, that is the appropriate forum to address Mr. Depp’s public denials that he abused Ms. Heard.”.


Normally I would also say, that the parties should discuss things like that in private. But that wouldn't help Johnny, would it now?
It's not like, I presume, he can persuade Amber to come out and confess in public, that he did nothing worse than spoil her more than she could handle. On the contrary. She has also felt quite free to comment in public, and it is of course not the first time she has done that:


AH’s attorneys (don’t know who the new ones are) have been flapping their mouths demanding some say in proceedings they obviously see as a golden opportunity to obtain a conveniently malleable vindication of sorts for AH - confidentially now, of course, but subject to “interpretation” as needed. Don’t they wish!

In all their references to this lawsuit and attempts to (not so) cleverly insinuate themselves into a “home-free” spotlight, her team has consistently and insufferably ignored a fundamental fact: The dispute is not with her; ”she” is not one of the ”parties” being sued! This is one affair to which AH and/or her “team” have been offered no dais, they have not been invited. Any actual involvement on her part, that I can imagine but hope is not needed, would be as a “hostile” witness on his evidence list. Anything she says would be under oath, however, and of course that’s where the little twit runs into trouble. Johnny, as he has so carefully and consistently stated, is suing the UK SUN publication and its executive editor, Dan Wootton (not the twit), for defamation, for blatantly calling him a “wife beater”. Period.

By the way, AH has been offered yet another prestigious world platform from which to spew her toxic, inflammatory diatribe: October 18th at The Hague! She is throwing her web wider with each of these unchallenged performances. She is not being shouted down. The invitations are not half hearted. Her acceptance is promoted as an honor for the venue. Her message reaps more positive feedback than ever, and insidiously biased yet well read rags like Variety herald the occasions with glee and impunity. I am very worried for Johnny . . . a triumphant, unequivocal win in November may be too little, too late despite the enormous courage and fortitude it has taken for him to push forward.
"Stay low." ~ JD
"I don't like it in here . . . it's terribly crowded." ~ Hatter
"There's something about Johnny that breaks your heart." ~ John Logan, ST
"Tear deeper, Mother." ~ Wilmot

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby Ruby Begonia » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:08 pm

:grr: that this no-talent z-lister continues to abuse him and is supported. When he comes up for air and speaks out himself, he is further maligned. I don't understand what's going on, tbh. Does this have anything to do with Doug Stanhope's tweet several weeks ago that fans should leave this battle to the celebrities and their inner circles (or something like that)? Will more high- profile industry people have the guts to stsnd up for Johnny once he gives them real ammunition? I've noticed a few smallfry actors sticking their necks out on Twitter.

Hoping Johnny's crisis mgmt team has this in hand and he will be successful. Wasser's ( or whoever's) traditional, nicer strategy hasn't been successful.

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Johnny Interview with Entertainment Weekly for FB2

Unread postby meeps » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:00 am

But wasn't Doug Stanhope the one who supported Johnny early on by saying, that Johnny was being blackmailed? If he is, then why has he now changed tack, and think we should sweep it under the rug, and let AH stamp all over it all she likes ...


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