It’s no general secret that Johnny Depp has found himself surrounded by trouble and controversy of late. In addition to recent concerns over his physical health and controversy surrounding his casting in the Fantastic Beasts franchise stemming from the domestic abuse allegations that surrounded his 2016 divorce from Amber Heard, a Hollywood Reporter article from 2017 alleged that Depp is up to his ears in financial debt. He’s developed a reputation for being an occasional on-set liability, to say nothing of the continuing scorn that continues to follow him due to the leaked Heard video.
The level of candor that Depp offers to journalist Stephen Rodrick in a newly published Rolling Stone profile about him, then, is all the more remarkable, both for what Depp is willing to admit openly and for the general picture Rodrick paints of a once-soaring movie star who now finds himself in profound crisis. Rodrick’s profile, covering three days spent with Depp in his London mansion, addresses everything from his financial woes (which are dire) to the legal web surrounding his estate (it’s profoundly confusing) to his own drinking and drug use (some of which takes place during the interview). In fact, his divorce is virtually the only thing he mostly avoids discussing, although even that finds its way into the periphery.
As Depp drinks wine and seems to constantly orate, Rodrick works in a number of details about the actor’s alleged $2 million-a-month lifestyle and the disappearance of untold millions more through everything from gross over-spending to alleged fraud that has Depp currently involved in a lawsuit with his sister. Rodrick takes an entirely unsentimental view of Depp; the image given off by the article is one of a man consumed by a hoarder’s impulses and other untold troubles, who lives nocturnally and seems as bewildered as anybody by the mess in which he’s found himself.
“It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 on wine, because it was far more,” Depp insists at one point during the interview, and that serves as a fairly effective thesis statement for the profile at large. Rodrick’s portrait is hardly flattering, but it’s one of the more compelling pieces of entertainment journalism you’ll read this year.