LOS ANGELES—A retrospective of Johnny Depp’s career trajectory is a chronicle of unconventional, eccentric, and idiosyncratic characters, ranging from Edward Scissorhands to Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Add one more to his list. As the titular character of the animated film Rango (which opens March 4), he provides the vocal work for the character of a domesticated lizard who suddenly finds himself stranded in the desert after a freak accident in transit.
However, there is a particular audience quite close to him that doesn't really care about his character choices. Who are they? His kids.
“They actually called me the Lizard King. I forced them to address me like that,” Depp said at a Beverly Hills hotel news conference, chuckling to himself. “It was an odd sort of thing. ”˜Where you going, Daddy?’ ”˜Oh, I gotta go to work.’ ”˜What are you doing?” ”˜Oh, ah, I’m playing a lizard.’ ”˜Okay.’ It’d literally be that sort of thing: you drop your kids off at school, give ”˜em a kiss, and now I’m gonna go be a lizard.”
He noted that his children aren’t all that interested in his work. “The things that I’ve done that my kids have been privy to—Willy Wonka and all—it doesn’t really register,” he said. “They’re far more interested in Family Guy or Justin Bieber.”
“Are you a Belieber?” a journalist shouted out.
“A Belieber?” Depp replied incredulously. “I’ve actually never heard that one. And that is my favourite. And you know what, I am a Belieber. I am. And I shall remain so.”
The conversation shifted to other topics about Rango and Beliebing was forgotten about for almost the next 15 minutes or so. But we were all soon reminded to don't stop beliebing when the door opened.
As Depp was busy going on about lizards, much to everyone's amazement, who should bounce in but lil’ ol’ flop-top himself.
Shocked that the teen pop phenomenon from Stratford, Ontario, had unexpectedly crashed the press conference, Depp blurted out, “We just established that I’m a Belieber.”
“And I’m a big fan of you so I came to support you,” Bieber said as he gave Depp a handshake. He quickly turned to greet and shake hands with Abigail Breslin and Isla Fisher (Depp’s costars) sitting next to Depp.
“I had to come say hi,” Bieber told Depp. “I heard you were in the building.”
As quickly as appeared, he ducked out amid much applause.
After Bieber left the room, Depp asked: “Okay, so who’s not a Belieber now? Are we all Beliebers now?”
As half the audience of reporters laughed, and the other were stunned by the surreal interaction, Depp quipped, “How am I going to explain this to my daughter?”
Bieber, in town for the Grammy Awards, had good timing, as his documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never opened in theatres in Vancouver last Friday.
Ah, the magic of Hollywood.