September 05, 2003


Like so many before him, Johnny Depp claims that heís been taken out of context:

Denying any anti-American sentiment on his part, actor Johnny Depp said on Thursday that quotes attributed to him as likening the United States to a "dumb puppy" were inaccurate and taken out of context.

Explaining his comments a day later, Depp said he had been using a metaphor that was taken "radically out of context," adding, "There was no anti-American sentiment."

"What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation," he said. "My deepest apologies to those who were offended, affected, or hurt by this insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent."

And he even denies wanting to live in France. Itís all his wifeís fault:

His spokeswoman added that the Kentucky-born Depp, 40, lives in the south of France with his family because his wife, actress-singer Vanessa Paradis, is French.

Dumb puppy.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 5, 2003 04:59 PM

So, was he taken out of context or not?

Posted by: Robert at September 5, 2003 at 05:07 PM

Which France is the U.S. younger than, Johnny me boy? The France of the Bourbons? Napoleon? First through umpteenth Republic? Maybe Vichy? Seems to me that France has been trying to figure out just what the hell kind of country it wants to be when it grows up while the US has had essentially the same form of government since 1789.

Posted by: timks at September 5, 2003 at 05:12 PM

He must have got a phone call from the owners of his latest movie which has yet to be released in the US.

Johnny Depp - Dixie chicks anyone??

Posted by: Rob at September 5, 2003 at 05:30 PM

Nah, he's justing coming down from his chocolate and waffles high. Must have ODed.

Posted by: freddyboy at September 5, 2003 at 05:47 PM

They never think any of this shit will come back to, oh, I don't know, affect their careers or anything, do they?

Posted by: ilyka at September 5, 2003 at 05:53 PM

'insanely twisted deformation of my words and intent'

Take a little more time to practise your lines then, actor boy.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 5, 2003 at 05:56 PM

Depp's agent must have explained what it costs to live the Depp lifestyle in the south of France and where that money comes from.

Posted by: Natalie Drest at September 5, 2003 at 09:09 PM

---"What I was saying was that, compared to Europe, America is a very young country and we are still growing as a nation," he said."---

Isn't that just a polite way of describing France as "old Europe"?

Posted by: Charles at September 5, 2003 at 10:02 PM

Confession time: of all the artistes who have dissed the US in the aftermath of the glorious action of 9/11 (oops, they didn't mean it *that* way), Depp's the first one whose comments aroused a sense of cognitive dissonance in me. How could somebody whose work I truly respected in so many ways, be so clueless and hateful toward the land of his birth? I'm choosing to take his retraction at face value. It's a real apology, not one of those non-apology apologies like you get from Sarandon and the other spittle-flecked myrmidons.

Plus, he's cute. And I'm not even gay!

Posted by: Bovious at September 5, 2003 at 11:38 PM

Depp's agent must have taken a clue-by-four to his client and made him see that there's not going to be much call for an action hero who's afraid of puppies.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at September 5, 2003 at 11:44 PM

Hmm. Well, if I had a french wife & she was sufficiently hot, I wouldn't hold myself above living in the south of France, either.

Southern French Cookin' some fine eatin', too -- not like that hoity-toidy haute cuisine stuff.

Posted by: Twn at September 6, 2003 at 12:37 AM

I like the south. I'm probably wrong, but I think they don't hate us as much there. And, the chicks are hot and dig us foreigners.

However, I still don't want my money going there.

Posted by: aaron at September 6, 2003 at 01:05 AM

Eh, I can't say I'll hold the comment against him. His brain has clearly been fried one too many times.

Posted by: amy at September 6, 2003 at 02:01 AM

America is a young country? Excuse me? The United States is older than all governments in Europe. Period (I'm not counting the UK since they don't consider themselves in Europe). So fuck you, Depp-boy. I won't be spending any money on your movies until you appologlize to the People of the United States for being a cluess ass-hat.

Posted by: Rosz at September 6, 2003 at 03:21 AM

Young country? You bet. It also beats being old,impotent and a bit senile.

Posted by: cubanbob at September 6, 2003 at 03:28 AM

This retard is from Kentucky? Please, dear God, let it be that he was kicked out by my fellow-citizens, or that his family is really from Indiana.

Posted by: E.A. at September 6, 2003 at 04:39 AM

Instead of letting him back in the U.S. we should make him live in Alice Springs. He couldn't stand the heat there for sure....

Posted by: ....a moment with Easycure at September 6, 2003 at 05:17 AM

Ahmmm... could it be POSSIBLE that Depp's comments WERE taken out of context?

No one actually knows exactly what he said to the paper. And God knows there are a lot of European papers out there who would just love to use an American's words - no matter how much they had to twist them - against the US.

I say give Depp the benefit of the doubt on this one. It's getting so that if anyone dareth criticise anything about the United States, that we on the rightermost cusp of the blogosphere are more than willing to blackball them.

Hell, you'd think people wouldn't be so willing all the time to take newspapers - especially European papers - at their word.

Isn't that we we constantly accuse the Left of doing?

Posted by: Michael Demmons at September 6, 2003 at 06:07 AM

Uh, Sweden's government has been around since 1544.

Note, however, that I'm not moving to Sweden anytime soon.

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at September 6, 2003 at 06:09 AM

Well, Michael, if they didn't report what he actually said (due to editing or rearranging), h should say that, rather than "out of context". The out of context defense implies that there were surrounding words left out that change the inferred meaning, not that he didn't say the words he's reported as having said.

I find it difficult to imagine a context in which his comments aren't at least a little "anti-American", but if he will tell us that context, I'll take it under consideration. Interstingly, he hasn't mentioned what the context was. Other than, perhaps "not realising that people might not like me saying that"... which is certainly a context, and indeed a likely one.

I'm not going to blackball him, since I think he's a fine actor, and I don't watch actors because of their politics. But I'm still going to call him a dumbfuck until he tells me why I shouldn't, specifically.

Posted by: Sigivald at September 6, 2003 at 07:48 AM

Unrelated note:

Geez, read Lileks today (9/5/03). I know, read Lileks every day but especially today.

Do NOT cross Lileks. If you're walking down a dark alley and see him coming, turn the other way.

The man can write - and think - and write - and think.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 6, 2003 at 07:50 AM

Actors make their living pretending to be other people.

Why is everyone so surprised when they turn out to not only be nothing like their characters, but whiny little liars besides?

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at September 6, 2003 at 08:29 AM

Geoff Matthews - What happened in 1544 in Sweden? Are you referring to its border disputes with Denmark, etc.? I wouldn't consider Sweden's current form of government to be more than 150 years old, tops.

Posted by: timks at September 6, 2003 at 09:35 AM

Sweden's kind is descended from one of Napoleon's
marshals who double-crossed him.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 6, 2003 at 11:46 AM

I don't think Sweden could be considered older, although they did come close. It didn't write a Constitution until 1809, after a coup d'etat, and a new one was written in 1975. And they only made it through the '40s by remaining neutral in the face of the Nazis.

Posted by: scott h. at September 6, 2003 at 11:58 AM

We report, you decide:

Issue Date: July 6, 2003 In this article:
Weekend with ... Johnny Depp CELEBS


An American in Paris

By Gregory Katz

We trekked to France tracking down the always offbeat Johnny Depp to see if family life has settled him down -- or if he's still living on the edge.

I didn't have a life before. Until I had kids ... I just didn't get it.

Imagine a doting dad playing Barbies on the floor with his 4-year-old daughter while he gives his baby boy a bottle early on a Sunday morning. Now move the scene to a farmhouse in the south of France, picture the father as a somewhat disheveled but darkly handsome long-haired man with mysterious gold caps on his teeth, and you have a glimpse into the life of daddy Johnny Depp.

But the former teen heartthrob -- remember "21 Jump Street"? -- isn't quite your average father. At 40, Depp loves to play loud electric guitar, wears clothes that could use a cleaning, occasionally orders $18,000 bottles of wine in restaurants, and pals around with Rolling Stones bad boys Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

Still, cultivating his domestic side is something of a change for the actor and star of the Disney epic "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl", which opens Wednesday. These days, Depp's focus is squarely on girlfriend Vanessa Paradis, 30, a beautiful French actress and pop singer, and their two children, Lily-Rose and Jack. He says he wants to marry Paradis when their kids are old enough to enjoy it, preferably at a three-day "gypsy wedding." Making it legal would only seem fitting to a father so smitten with his children that he writes off the years before their birth -- when he was dating actress Winona Ryder and model Kate Moss and starring in a string of strong, offbeat movie roles -- as a total waste of time.

"I literally feel as though I didn't have a life before," says Depp, sitting in an elegant bar in Paris wearing a rumpled dark suit and smoking a homemade cigarette that would get him tossed out of most establishments in the United States. "It was like existing, but not living. When you have a baby, it's like a veil is lifted suddenly. [Before,] I did stuff and I smiled and I laughed, but it's like I didn't experience it until I had kids. You can't imagine the degree of joy and love and life that's available until you have a kid. I just didn't get it."

Depp seems to have outrun his demons. The early line on his career held that he was bound for self-destruction. He was expected to date one too many supermodels, develop a drinking or drug problem, destroy too many hotel rooms, attack too many paparazzi, alienate one too many producers and end up as a better-looking version of Mickey Rourke, unable to find meaningful work.

Instead he fell in love, first with Paradis and then with his adopted country. He says he is shocked by the gun violence in American schools and feels it is far safer raising a family in France.

"I was very lucky that something steered me to France back in '98," he says of his decision to make a movie with Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski in 1998. "I love America -- I love going back, seeing my family and friends -- but it's wonderful to get back to France and be living in a tiny village with nothing around. There is still the possibility to live a simple life. You can go to the market, walk about, buy fruits and vegetables -- the things they did 100 and 200 years ago. We have moments when we're sitting in our house and our kids are playing, and we look at one another and think, 'Thank God we escaped.' "

A product of the rural South who spent many years in Hollywood, Depp never really felt at home until he moved to France. He rejects the view that there has been a surge of anti-Americanism there because of opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and he believes the French people have behaved in a dignified manner while some Americans have resorted to "schoolyard tactics" by renaming French fries "freedom fries."

"That was so revealing, that grown men sat around and came up with that idea," he says of the freedom fries initiative. "It was tragic and embarrassing. At the same time, I was happy it was exposed, and people knew that a bunch of congressmen -- big people, the upper-drawer people -- made that decision."

He also was not convinced by the Bush administration's rationale for the war. He says the real reason was America's economic interests. "I saw these American kids being shipped off to war, and I was looking at their faces and thinking, 'They're not ready for it,' " he says. "Is anybody ever ready for it? You're thinking about where they're going, what they're getting into. What's it really all about? It's about dough; it's about money. That's ugly."

I enjoyed Depp in "Pirates" a lot. He made that movie. Here, he comes off a particularly clueless about this country, which is to be expected for someone so ill-educated, who spent far too much time baking his brain. He hasn't taken out full-page ads bashing this country, like Sean Penn, nor has he played to the audience with the phony sanctimony of the Dixie Chicks. For that, I'll give him a pass.

Posted by: Bill Peschel at September 6, 2003 at 12:12 PM

Terribly sorry for printing the whole article. , I thought I was cutting and pasting the few paragraphs that were relevent to the discussion at hand. I should have previewed first.

Posted by: Bill Peschel at September 6, 2003 at 12:17 PM

Bill, maybe I can try and summarize it:

While filming a movie directed by a child molester, Depp decided living like people did 100 years ago is preferable to modern living. Renaming french fries in Congress eateries is undignified. The French are more dignified, like when their president tells other (presumably non-"shitty") countries to "shut up". Oh, and no blood for oil.

Posted by: scott h. at September 6, 2003 at 12:48 PM

Eh, if it comes down to Johnny Depp's word against the word of the magazine that gave the world the Hitler diaries I'll believe Johnny Depp first, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 6, 2003 at 04:04 PM

I must admit, the whole "freedom fries" thing was a bit silly. I would have renamed them "surrender fries" instead.

Posted by: Sean at September 6, 2003 at 04:07 PM

Perhaps, in an effort to incrase the hopes of world peace, this event scheduled for Paris could be relocated to Mr. Depp's French home. He'll be pinin' for the rural southern U.S. after this...

Posted by: John at September 6, 2003 at 04:14 PM

I read the article posted by Bill Peschel. What are these strange things called "villages" of which Johnny speaks? They sound delightful. Would it be possible to get some in, say, rural Kentucky? The poor benighted citizens there ("city" dwellers all) might like them. Also, he is able to buy "fruits" and something called "vegetables" there. How utterly exotic and romantic. I wonder if maybe we could set up some kind of exchange for Johnny. He can send us some of his "fruits" and we can send him some of our "indoor plumbing" and "air conditioners".

Posted by: timks at September 6, 2003 at 07:13 PM

Mr. Depp:

Please stay in France anyway. Become a French citizen and encourage all your Hollywood pals to do the same.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at September 6, 2003 at 09:39 PM

Hi um yah i really dont care about alot of ppl unless there nice but johny depp i think you should decide if you want to stay france or not.

Posted by: Shelle Belle at September 11, 2003 at 04:11 PM

Oh one more thing i'm glad your happy being a dad most dads dont care about children well i sure know about that anyways.

Posted by: shelle belle at September 11, 2003 at 04:15 PM