Gini Brenner exclusively interviewed Johnny Depp at the film festival in Venice.
Translated by CillyCK
SKIP: Johnny, you are wearing a new hat! What happened to the old one without which you have barely been seen in the last couple of years? Did you throw it away?
JOHNNY: No, it is just resting. I sent it on holiday, so to speak – it really did look kinda worn out. Now I have this one. It’s wonderful. Not surprisingly, it is a real Borsalino.
SKIP: Where does your fascination for hats come from?
JOHNNY: You know, that is my personal homage to the 30s and 40s where men used to wear hats, suits and neckties all the time, out of principle. I think we should revive that style.
SKIP: Speaking of fashion: in “Once upon a time in Mexico” you are wearing a collection of the probably most genius-impossible t-shirts that have ever run over a movie screen. Did you pick them out all by yourself?
JOHNNY: Sure (laughs). When I was talking about the role with the director Robert Rodriguez, we both thought that agent Sands is something like an eternal tourist. And that’s the way I wanted to be dressed. Therefore I called a couple of people and asked them to send me the most impossible t-shirts they could find. For example, I got the great “I’m with stupid”-shirt from my sister, that’s one of my favorites.
SKIP: Even though your role is almost as big as Antonio Bandera’s, only nine days of shooting seemed to be enough for you …
JOHNNY: I just say High Definition Digital Video. This technology is just incredibly fast. Robert uses that brand-new HDDV-camera, and I was more than once surprised how easily and flexibly you can work with it. Robert has always been anything but a punctilious person but with this camera he can shoot more setups in one day than other directors do in their whole life! To be honest, it was almost a little bit too fast for myself. When I was finished with my scenes I didn’t want to leave – so Robert kindly wrote me another mini-role, I play a priest in the confessional (rolls himself a cigarette and puts it in his mouth, hesitates). Do you mind if I smoke?
SKIP: No, of course not. We are in Europe.
JOHNNY: Oh yes, that’s right (laughs). Somewhen I even said in an interview that I only moved to France to be able to smoke in peace again (grins). Of course, that wasn’t the point. But I really enjoy living in Europe.
SKIP: Don’t you miss your old home L.A. at all?
JOHNNY: Well, I still have an apartment there and commute between the continents. That is a big privilege, that I have, and a possibility to keep learning new things.
SKIP: Where are you children going to grow up?
JOHNNY: In France. In my opinion L.A. is not a good place to be a child. Everything is too fast, there is too much of everything and that way too early, and you grow up way to soon. We are kids for such a short time only anyways. I want my children to be able to live that time as long and as intensively as possible.
SKIP: Do you think it is dangerous to grow up in L.A.?
JOHNNY: The whole world is dangerous.
SKIP: What do you miss of L.A. when you are in France?
JOHNNY: Pink’s hot dogs (laughs). And of course my friends and family. But I don’t want to live at a place anymore where everything is just about movies, where everybody exclusively talks about who is shooting with whom and how much it is gonna gross. I want to talk about goats, about books and paintings.
SKIP: Why about goats?
JOHNNY: Oh, I love goats (laughs).
SKIP: Do you have pets?
JOHNNY: We have a few wild boars – although they had been there even before we moved in. Also there are some ponies, a lot of dogs and some semi-wild cats. And lots and lots of insects.
SKIP: What do you do when you are not working?
JOHNNY: I spend time with my children. Or they with me – with lock, stock and barrel (laughs). They demand a lot of attention, but in a nice kind of way, they just always want to be with mommy and daddy.
SKIP: When you play with them do you profit from you experience as an actor?
JOHNNY: Maybe (laughs). My daughter loves to play with Barbies with me. Every single Barbie has another personality.
SKIP: Are you Ken?
JOHNNY: Oh no, I only play women’s roles. I mean, I have already done that in my job as well (grins).
SKIP: Did your life actually change after your huge success with “Pirates of the Caribbean”?
JOHNNY: Not yet, maybe that will still come. I am still completely shocked that a movie which I was part of, made a whole lot of money – I am not used to that (laughs). And I am very thankful, that thousands of kids went to see my movie. When such a little kid approaches me on the street and screams: “Hey, you are that Captain Jack Sparrow!” then I am always deeply touched. It can’t get any better.