Johnny Depp’s unorthodox behavior has helped make him one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but it also appears to be a serious risk to his career.
Often balancing outlandish roles — as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” in his numerous Tim Burton movies — with being the face of a giant blockbuster franchise in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Depp has been seen as an A-list star who loves to take chances. And it made him beloved the world over.
The stories coming out about Depp’s behavior while making the latest “Pirates” movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” aren’t going to help. They portray an actor in crisis mode.
The Hollywood Reporter delved deeper into the star’s reported reckless spending over the years and revealed allegations that he was constantly late to set and drank excessively while making “Dead Men Tell No Tales” (opening in theaters May 26).
Not enough liquid money for ‘$2 million in monthly bills’
Depp is engaged in a legal battle with his former business managers at The Management Group, who claim that the star, despite earning more than $650 million in 13-plus years, there wasn’t enough liquid cash to cover Depp’s “$2 million in monthly bills,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The business managers say they confronted Depp about his spending habits, which included, they say, $30,000 a month on wine. Depp has also admitted to paying $5 million to shoot the ashes of his friend Hunter S. Thompson out of a cannon.
Depp has sued The Management Group on charges of fraud and mismanagement, and the company has countersued.
A ‘Pirates’ staffer was reportedly tasked with following Depp’s every move
THR also unearthed unflattering stories about Depp’s work on the set of “Dead Men Tell No Tales” from production sources.
Depp’s lateness to the set of the movie on certain days reportedly led to hundreds of extras waiting hours for the star to show up, causing the movie’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney production chief Sean Bailey to huddle to figure out how to shoot around him.
Though production staff raised the matter of Depp’s tardiness with the star, he reportedly never changed his habits.
“There were certainly days when our plans were challenged,” Bailey said. “But no one should underestimate Johnny’s passion and commitment to this character and franchise.”
One source told THR that it got so bad that a production staffer was assigned to stake out Depp at the Coomera, Queensland, compound Depp rented while shooting the film. The staffer was stationed outside the house in an unmarked car and was told to alert his superiors of Depp’s movements, including when a light was switched on in the morning (or in some cases the afternoon), signaling Depp was awake.
“When he got up, he’d turn on the light, and the moment the light went on they’d call the line producer, who would then call the directors [Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg]: ‘He’s up! He’s getting ready!'” a source from the set said. “They even had a special code term, like ‘The eagle has landed.’ Johnny had no idea this was going on.”
Filming shut down after Depp injured himself by seriously cutting his finger. According to numerous reports at the time, the injury occurred when Depp was inebriated and had a dispute with Heard. Bruckheimer told a different story to THR.
“We don’t really know. He got it caught in a car door, or he got it caught in a sliding door. I’ve heard a couple of versions,” Bruckheimer said.
Depp’s reported drinking and lateness to set also caused an argument between Bruckheimer and Depp’s then-agent Tracey Jacobs on the “Pirates” set, according to a soruce.
“She went over to Jerry and said, ‘You’ve got to do something! You’re the producer.’ He said, ‘You do something. You’re the agent,’” the source said.
“Everyone was an innocent bystander watching this trainwreck,” the source continued. “But when Johnny came on set, he was charming, nice. He’s yin and yang.”
Bruckheimer denied to THR that the spat took place.
The reporting is just the latest black eye for Depp, who for most of his career has been able to keep negative press about himself to a minimum.
But so far, at least, it hasn’t hurt him from landing major roles. Following his cameo at the end of 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” he is set to star in the movie’s sequel coming out in 2018. He’s also wrapped on the highly anticipated “Murder on the Orient Express.”
A representative for Depp did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.