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6

| BNE December 2014/January 2015

W

hen cast and crew arrive in Queensland to shoot the fifth

instalment of the

Pirates of the Caribbean

franchise,

Dead

Men Tell No Tales

, it will be the biggest international

production ever to film in Australia. The previous four films have

earned more than $3.7 billion at the box office and were filmed

in locations including the Bahamas and Hawaii. In Queensland,

locations are expected to include areas around Cairns and Port

Douglas as well as film studios on the Gold Coast, and applications

from would-be extras have already started flooding in. While several

of the film’s big names, including Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and

Keith Richards are rumoured to be returning in the next film, the big

attraction will be the world’s most lovable pirate lord Johnny Depp.

At 16 Depp was a gloomy musician pumping gas and taking odd

jobs on construction sites. He even earned money as a telemarketer

selling pens over the phone. Today, at 51, he is one of Hollywood’s

most bankable movie stars and one of the richest, with a personal net

worth estimated to be $350 million. He also owns his own private

island in the Caribbean where he can “get away from it all”. Yet

despite the fortunes of stardom, he tries to remain oblivious to the

trappings of fame.

“When you’re the subject of a lot of attention, you have to live a

little bit like a fugitive,” Depp says. “You kind of get smuggled in

and out of hotels and other places and you can’t really hang out by

yourself. I try not to pay any attention to what goes on around me. I

don’t watch my films, I don’t read stories about myself ... I just try to

get on with my life.”

Though there’s still some anxiety when it comes to talking about

himself, he seems to have buried most of the demons that haunted

him as a young man.

“My identity crisis is long over – something that I struggled

through as a teenager and in my early 20s. Now, if I look back, I’m a

flower by comparison. As a young man I was restless and tormented.

“Today my children [Lily-Rose, 14, and Jack, 12, from his previous

long-term relationship with French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis]

are my medicine and I’m leading a much healthier life. I have a small

island in the Caribbean where I can get away from the world when I

want and generally I keep myself happy by playing the guitar, reading

and working. I’m at peace with myself now.”

Q: You’ve often spoken about how your children have healed

you and changed you. What are your kids like?

Johnny Depp: I am more and more proud of them. The kids have

turned out so well. They are good, smart kids. They are polite and

caring. My boy Jack has always been a very talented draftsman. He

draws really super-well. He also plays music very well. He’s got a good

feel for that. Aside from school plays and things, he hasn’t shown any

desire to become an actor.

Whew! My daughter, on the other hand, is one of the smartest

human beings I have ever known. She has far surpassed myself and

Playing a pirate has made Johnny

Depp one of Hollywood’s richest stars,

but acting is not his only love, as

Jan Janssen

discovers

Johnny Depp has his sights on Queensland

Johnny

hello

Image: Mary Evans Picture Library. Text: The Interview People