Articles from September 2012

Johnny Depp presents painting to Comanche Nation Chairman

As part of his visit to the Comanche Nation Fair in Lawton, Oklahoma on Saturday, September 29, Johnny Depp had the opportunity to pay his respects to Comanche Nation Chairman Wallace Coffey and his wife Debbie. Johnny presented Chairman Coffey with a special gift — a stunning portrait of a Comanche painted by Johnny in his signature style. The unusual texture of the painting is because it has been painted on cigarette papers!

Many thanks to Gil Birmingham who posted this PICTURE on his Facebook page; it shows Comanche Nation Chairman Wallace Coffey and his wife Debbie standing beside the painting, with Johnny and LaDonna Harris on the opposite side. You can see a closeup of the painting HERE.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the news; you can read more about Johnny’s visit to Oklahoma on the Zone’s forums.

Johnny Depp addresses tribal youth at Comanche Nation Fair in Oklahoma–new photos!

Johnny Depp’s appearance at the Comanche Nation Fair included a speech and a question-and-answer session with young members of the tribe; the photo at left shows Johnny at the microphone. He also posed for pictures and signed autographs. “Thank you so much for having me, and thank you for accepting me,” Johnny said. Johnny was formally adopted into the Comanche Nation in a traditional ceremony held in Albuquerque on May 16, 2012, with Comanche Nation Chairman Johnny Wauqua in attendance.

At the time of the ceremony, LaDonna Harris, the president and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity, explained why she extended the invitation to Johnny: “Welcoming Johnny into the family [. . .] was so fitting. He’s a very thoughtful human being, and throughout his life and career, he has exhibited traits that are aligned with the values and worldview that Indigenous peoples share.” Ms. Harris was at Johnny’s side throughout the Fair; Johnny also had a chance to catch up with his Lone Ranger and Rango castmate Gil Birmingham. Photos of Johnny with LaDonna Harris and Gil Birmingham open our gallery HERE, which also includes Twitter photos.

The Zone thanks Evochka, Emma, FANtasticJD, alysha trophy, Christa Taintigh, shaingramm22, biia cailini and Casey Ivanoff for sharing pictures. You can read more about Johnny’s visit to Oklahoma on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp attends 21st annual Comanche Nation Fair in Oklahoma–new pictures!

Johnny Depp spent his Saturday in Lawton, Oklahoma,where he attended the 21st annual Comanche Nation Fair and served as Grand Marshal of the parade. Johnny was officially adopted into the Comanche Nation last spring; LaDonna Harris, who sponsored his adoption, rode beside him during the parade. Johnny also spoke to tribal youth and spent a couple of hours signing autographs and posing for pictures. Many of those pictures wound up on Twitter, and we thank the lucky photographers and subjects for sharing them! The photo at left was taken by zurey zantoz; to see photos of Johnny as Grand Marshal of the Comanche Nation parade, CLICK HERE.

Many thanks to emma, FANtasticJD, zurey zantoz, KenDoll_Marie, kimberly annaye, Sarah Everitt, and Dorkyshygirl10 for sharing pictures. You can read more about Johnny’s appearance at the Comanche Nation Fair on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Alas–Johnny Depp will NOT appear in Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, director says

Turns out those reports of Johnny Depp’s appearance in Wes Anderson’s next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, were not accurate: in an interview with the Huffington Post today, Anderson carefully dismissed that story as an Internet rumor run amuck, dashing the hopes of Deppheads everywhere who were looking forward to this project. Here are the director’s own words:

Q: Your next movie is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is reported to star Johnny Depp?

ANDERSON: It’s not Johnny Depp.

Q: Oh, it’s not?

ANDERSON: No. There’s a lot of… You know, the Internet has a way of announcing things on its own [laughs]. You will find that even though I’m very aware of the cast that has been announced on its own devices, you’ll never find me saying who’s in the movie. Or, as far as I know, anybody else. I really don’t know where it all comes from. In fact, Johnny is somebody who I would love to work with at some point, but he’s not going to be in this movie.

The Zone is among the many media outlets which accepted the story of Johnny’s appearance in The Grand Budapest Hotel, which originated on Twitch.com and Deadline.com, as true. We apologize to our readers for inadvertently misleading them. Hopefully the longed-for Anderson-Depp collaboration will take place someday, but it won’t be in next year’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read more about this story on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The full Huffington Post interview with Wes Anderson is available HERE.

Sad news–LONE RANGER crew member dies during set preparation

Tragedy struck The Lone Ranger family on Friday when a crew member drowned while preparing for an underwater action scene. Michael Andrew Bridger, 48, of Redondo Beach, was wearing scuba gear and working in a large water tank; filming was not taking place at the time. Although an autopsy is pending, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told the press that there were indications that Bridger died of a heart attack. He was one of the close-knit crew that had worked on all of the previous Jerry Bruckheimer-Johnny Depp movie collaborations in the past decade, beginning with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The Zone sends our condolences to Mr. Bridger’s family, crew mates, and friends.

Johnny Depp helps Damien Echols launch his book tour in New York City

Taking a break from filming The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp traveled to New York City today to help Damien Echols launch a book tour in support of Echols’ new memoir, Life after Death. The duo spoke to a large crowd at the legendary Barnes & Noble bookstore at Union Square; you can see photos from the event HERE. That’s Damien’s book that the men are holding so proudly; reviews for Life after Death have been marvelous. Kirkus Reviews calls Life after Death “essential reading” and Publishers Weekly calls it “searing,” “finely wrought” and “heart-wrenching.” Congratulations, Damien!

The Zone thanks humiliatedgrape, Evochka, and Micrisa for sharing photographs; you can read more about Johnny’s appearance in New York on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Tonto at work: more pictures from THE LONE RANGER

Filming of Gore Verbinski’s new version of the classic Western saga The Lone Ranger continues, with photographers capturing some blue-screen work in Arcadia, California on Wednesday. That’s Johnny Depp himself, in his Tonto costume and white face paint, doing an action sequence; for photos, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news and Aida for sharing the pictures. You can read much more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum; discussion of the pictures can be found on the Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp reacts to West Memphis Three injustice: “It could have been any of us”

During his visit to the Toronto Film Festival, Johnny spoke to MTV News about the notorious case of the West Memphis Three, unjustly imprisoned for nearly 20 years: “[I]t could have been any of us,” Johnny said, referring to the miscarriage of justice that afflicted Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin. “Because, what, you look different? [The authorities] put their eyeball on Damien [Echols] and didn’t take it off, even though everything around them —- they didn’t look at the insane amount of holes in the case. They just looked at the guy with the black T-shirt and the long black hair. It was a witch hunt.”

Johnny reflected on the changes that have occurred during Damien’s long incarceration; he emerged to a changed world. “Here’s a kid who went to prison wrongfully convicted. He went in at the age of 18 and came out at the age of 36. Suddenly you can take photographs with your phone. So much has changed,” Johnny said. “[I]t’s The Jetsons. It’s a whole ‘nother world.”

Nonetheless, Johnny spoke warmly of the things Damien has taught him: “I’ve learned so much from him and his experiences. Not just experiences of living in a tiny concrete room but the experiences from his mind and his strength and his ability to survive in a situation that’s nearly impossible.”

Photos of Johnny speaking to press representatives in Toronto are available HERE. The MTV News article is available HERE.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the story; you can read more about Johnny’s visit to Toronto on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

LONE RANGER filming continues in California–new pictures!

Photographers captured Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer at work in their roles as Tonto and the Lone Ranger in a scene where the duo were perched atop a train — and from the look of things, Tonto is in serious trouble! Unless those handcuffs and chains are purely decorative, that is. Check out the photos HERE and HERE. According to E!News, “The cliffhanger-type scenario is part of an elaborate fight scene the duo have been shooting for Disney’s big-budget action-adventure-western, reimagined by Gore Verbinski, who directed Depp in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies.”

Other photos are available HERE. That’s a blue screen, not California blue sky, behind the train car.

The Zone thanks Emma, Aida, and humilatedgrape for sharing photos and articles. You can read more about the filming of The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols celebrate WEST OF MEMPHIS reception with new crow tattoos

Johnny Depp added to his impressive collection of body art during his visit to Toronto; he had a black crow tattooed on the back of his left hand on September 9th, the day following the screening of the documentary West of Memphis at the Toronto International Film Festival. Damien Echols and musician Bill Carter (whose song “Anything Made of Paper” is featured in West of Memphis) received identical crow tattoos on their hands; Damien tweeted, “It’s our celebration for a great reception for West of Memphis.”

In an interview with People, Damien Echols explained the significance of the crow tattoo: it refers to the 1994 movie The Crow about a man who is murdered, but comes back to life. It’s a theme that resonates strongly with the former death row inmate. “[In the movie], they talk about the mythology of how [the crow] is considered to be something that transports souls from the realm of the dead to the realm of the living,” Damien said. “When somebody comes back to life, it’s the crow that brings them back to the living.”

To see a photo of Johnny’s crow tattoo, CLICK HERE, and to see a larger version of the photo of Johnny with Damien in Toronto, CLICK HERE.

Many thanks to Kitty for sharing the photo of the crow tattoo and to Evochka for the photo of Johnny and Damien. Thanks to Theresa for the People interview; you can read the article HERE, and you can read more about Johnny’s appearance in Toronto on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Jude Law to join Johnny Depp in Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

In an interview at the Toronto Film Festival, Jude Law told MTV News that he is “very excited” to join the cast of Wes Anderson’s next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel — a cast which will feature Johnny Depp in “a key role.” Law, in Toronto to promote Anna Karenina (in which he stars with Pirates of the Caribbean alum Keira Knightley), spoke enthusiastically about working with Anderson: “I’ve been a huge fan of Wes,” he said. “I pestered him with emails for years, saying ‘I want to live in one of your films and I’d like to be in one of your films.'”

Now Law will get that chance. According to Law, The Grand Budapest Hotel will begin shooting in early 2013. “[Anderson] sent me this wonderful script,” the actor told MTV News. “I think we start work on that in January.” While he didn’t disclose any details about the plot, he did confirm that the cast will include many of Anderson’s regular ensemble, plus Johnny: “It will be the usual team [of actors]. I have heard Johnny Depp is indeed playing a key role in it.” As for Law’s own contribution, he said, “I think my role is fleeting, but I’m very excited to be a part of that Wes Anderson family.”

Jude Law and Johnny Depp both appeared in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, when they and Colin Farrell stepped in to complete Heath Ledger’s final role, but the actors shared no scenes together. Perhaps in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Johnny and Jude will have a chance to work together.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Jude Law interview; you can read more about The Grand Budapest Hotel on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The MTV News article is available HERE.

“I’m here to support my friends”–Johnny Depp at the WEST OF MEMPHIS press conference

At a press conference before the screening of West of Memphis at the Toronto Film Festival, Johnny Depp downplayed his celebrity and insisted that his appearance was a gesture of support for the wrongfully incarcerated Damien Echols and for the film itself. “If there are people out there who will take a minute to listen to what I have to say,” Johnny said, “and to what these guys have to say, I think they’ll learn a lot more about this case. I’m here to support my friends.”

Johnny first became aware of the case after viewing an earlier documentary, Paradise Lost, which aroused a strong sense of outrage and led him to befriend Damien and his wife Lorri Davis. “I just knew that this was a horrific lie,” Johnny said, referring to the West Memphis Three’s murder convictions, “and that these boys were innocent.” He told the press that when he met Damien, “there was some kind of brotherly love there that was instant.”

When Damien was released from prison last year, he and Lorri went to visit Johnny. “To finally see Damien arrive at my house on my doorstep was quite moving,” Johnny declared. “It was a celebration. It was beautiful. He and Lorri arrived at my house, we had Tater Tots and tacos, and then a natural course of events took place and we went straight to the tattoo parlor.” Johnny and Damien each had the I Ching hexagram of “Wind Over Heaven” tattooed on the back of their arms; for more about the significance of this tattoo, see the Zone’s Body Art page HERE.

The Zone thanks SnoopyDances for sharing the interview and Evochka for photos of Johnny at the press conference; you can see them HERE and HERE. You can read more about Johnny’s appearance at the Toronto Film Festival on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp walks the red carpet in Toronto–new photos!

Johnny Depp delighted fans in Toronto when he walked the red carpet on Saturday for the screening of the documentary West of Memphis . . . and, being Johnny, of course he stopped to sign a few autographs! To see a larger version of the photo of Johnny in a sea of autograph-seekers, CLICK HERE, and to see another photo of Johnny signing autographs, CLICK HERE. For the full-length view of Johnny walking the red carpet, with security chief Jerry Judge at his side, CLICK HERE.

Johnny posed for photos with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, herself a longtime supporter of the West Memphis Three; you can see him HERE with Ms. Maines and Lorri Morgan, wife of Damien Echols; and you can see Johnny waving to the crowd HERE.

The Zone thanks Emma, Theresa, and Aida for sharing photos. You can read more about Johnny’s visit to the Toronto Film Festival on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

The Zone thanks Emma, Theresa, and Aida for sharing photos. You can read more about Johnny’s visit to the Toronto Film Festival on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp at Toronto Film Festival to promote WEST OF MEMPHIS–new photos!

A smiling Johnny Depp arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival today–Saturday, September 8–and took part in a press conference to support the documentary West of Memphis, Amy Berg’s film about the miscarriage of justice in the case of the West Memphis Three. West of Memphis tells the story of the three young boys who were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993, and the three young men–Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Miskelley, Jr.–found guilty of those murders “after a shockingly brief investigation.” Berg’s film chronicles the efforts to prove the West Memphis Three innocent. The director was joined at her press conference today by a now-freed Damien Echols, his wife Lorri Morgan, Johnny Depp, and, by Skype from New Zealand, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who is one of the film’s producers.

When asked what had drawn his attention to the case, Johnny replied, “First and foremost, the great injustice. First, a heinous attack on three young boys, more then likely . . . it became a witch hunt.” Johnny described seeing an earlier documentary about the case, Paradise Lost, and realizing that the murder convictions were unjust. “I just knew this was a horrific lie, and wanted to help [. . .] any way I could.”

Johnny came to Toronto to support Damien Echols,to bring attention to the film, and hopefully to advance the cause of justice. “I’m essentially a gas station attendant with a strange job,” he said, with self-deprecating humor. “I don’t think of myself as celebrity, I’m here as a friend.” Still, he hopes to do some good: “If there are people out there who will take a minute to listen to me, they’ll learn more about this case. I’m here to help attain justice for all.”

To see a larger version of the photo above, CLICK HERE, to see a photo of Johnny with Damien Echols, CLICK HERE, and to see Johnny, Lorri, and Damien answering questions at the press conference, CLICK HERE. For a photo of director Amy Berg, Johnny, Damien, and Lorri, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Emma, Evochka, humilatedgrape, and Theresa for sharing photos, and Emma for sharing the transcript of the press conference. You can read much more about Johnny’s visit to the Toronto Film Festival on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp to appear with Damien Echols at Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York City on September 21st!

Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three has written a memoir called Life after Death, to be published on September 18, 2012. Damien will kick off his book tour at a legendary venue — the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Union Square in New York City — on Friday, September 21, and he will have a legend at his side: Johnny Depp! As Damien just tweeted, “My first book signing and talk will be in NYC,at the Barnes&Noble at Union Square. Sept 21st. My brother,Johnny Depp will be helping out.” We’re sure New Yorkers will give the duo a warm welcome.

Damien’s book has received outstanding reviews in advance of publication. Publishers Weekly calls Life after Death a “searing, finely wrought memoir [. . .] a heart-wrenching and simple commentary on American prison life.” Kirkus Reviews writes: “Exceptional memoir by the most famous of the West Memphis Three — bare facts alone would make for an interesting story. However, Echols is at heart a poet and mystic, and he has written not just a quickie one-off book to capitalize on a lurid news story, but rather a work of art that occasionally bears a resemblance to the work of Jean Genet. A voracious reader all his life, Echols vividly tells his story — [and] effectively displays his intelligence and sensitivity, qualities the Arkansas criminal justice system had no interest in recognizing during Echols’ ordeal. Essential reading.”

Many thanks to humiliatedgrape for breaking the news. Life after Death is available for pre-order from Amazon in hardcover ($16.84) and Kindle ($12.99) editions, and will be available at your local bookshop on September 18th. You can read more about the Union Square appearance on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see the cover of Life after Death, CLICK HERE.

FOR NO GOOD REASON documentary to screen at BFI London Film Festival

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp with his arm around artist Ralph Steadman, well-known and beloved to Depp fans for his illustrations of Hunter S. Thompson’s works, including the iconic images from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Steadman’s life and career is being celebrated in a documentary entitled For No Good Reason, directed by Charlie Paul, which will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October. Screenings are scheduled for October 12, 13, and 14; ticket information is available HERE.

“Ralph Steadman is most frequently celebrated for his brilliant illustrations accompanying the writings of Hunter S Thompson, and their collaborations defined the Gonzo school of journalism,” writes the film festival’s Michael Hayden. “Charlie Paul’s intimate documentary portrait, filmed over 15 years, presents Steadman as a driven artist with a voracious creative instinct. Johnny Depp appears at Steadman’s home studio to observe his fascinating working process, there are tributes from key collaborators and acolytes, rare footage from the Gonzo years and beyond, and some of the iconic work is animated for the first time.” To see a larger version of the photo of Johnny with Ralph Steadman, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about the Ralph Steadman documentary For No Good Reason on the Zone’s News & Views forum.