“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.

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