It’s our eighth birthday! Sleepy and I started the Johnny Depp Zone on this site eight years ago, continuing the Johnny Depp Zone tradition that has been operating in one form or another for more than 14 years.
We officially opened the “new” Zone on July 9, 2004, the first anniversary of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. When we began the website, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had just started shooting at Pinewood, Corpse Bride had just been announced, there were rumors Finding Neverland would finally be released in the fall, and Johnny’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, had just been formed. The Libertine was in post-production and headed for a work-in-progress showing at the Toronto Film Festival.
How time flies! Not only have we seen Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and The Libertine make their way into theaters, but we’ve watched every step of the production of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, and On Stranger Tides; we’ve heard Johnny sing his way to a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination in Sweeney Todd; we’ve seen him shoot up the screen as Dillinger in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, charm us as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, intrigue Angelina Jolie in The Tourist, ride to the rescue in Gore Verbinski’s Oscar-winning Rango, discover his Hunter S. Thompson-inspired “voice of ink and rage” as a journalist in The Rum Diary, and rise from the undead as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows.
Now Johnny is incarnating the role of Tonto in the Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinski retelling of the classic Western The Lone Ranger, currently filming in Utah. And there are many other intriguing projects in the works, including a remake of The Thin Man, with Johnny playing suave detective Nick Charles for director Rob Marshall, and a big-screen version of the cult TV series The Night Stalker.
As we celebrate and reminisce today, I’d like to thank Sleepy, Theresa, Joni, Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas for their dedication and hard work over the years. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Zone. Many thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way, to all our staff past and present, to Andre for his technical wizardry, and to all of our members for making the Zone a wonderful place to be. And thanks to Moonbeam for the delightful birthday card.
Most of all, thanks and much love always to Johnny Depp, for being a continual source of inspiration and delight–he’s the reason we’re here!