His shirt was tattered in a fashion-statement kind of way, and his tan was very Jack Sparrow. My encounter with him seemed way too casual for it to be a real live interview with one of the most prominent actors of our era, Johnny Depp. Yet there I was, sitting across from the erstwhile Edward Scissorhands and Mad Hatter, chatting with him at the Paris press junket for his new movie, “The Tourist.”
When I mentioned I was from Miami, Johnny told me that he used to live in Miramar, Florida — a mere 20 miles from my home. And when he smiled, I caught a glimpse of Jack Sparrow’s gold teeth. A moment later, the chatting ceased so we could begin the four-minute interview.
Johnny’s character in “The Tourist,” Frank Tupelo, isn’t a typical role for him. As an ordinary math teacher from Wisconsin, Frank is mistaken for a wanted criminal and pursued by both authorities and gangsters. Johnny’s roles tend to be eccentric, but Frank is a character that still suits Johnny well. In fact, Johnny said it was Frank’s lack of uniqueness that hooked him on the role.
Johnny and I also discussed his new friendship with his co-star Angelina Jolie, which caused me to wonder what it would be like to spend a few months in Paris and Venice filming a movie with the both of them and Paul Bettany, who I interviewed after Johnny. I’m sure we all would have become biffles for life.
When my time with Johnny was up, I headed to another room to chat with Bettany. The similarities between Paul and his character, the by-the-book Agent Acheson, are purely physical. Paul is a jokester — and call me lame, but I’m a sucker for English accents. I’m sure his wife, Jennifer Connelly, is too — she brought their two sons to Venice during filming so the family could be together.
With my “Tourist” guest correspondent gig behind me, I have to say that studying journalism was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. There are journalists who make a career out of covering press junkets like the one I had the privilege of attending. Thanks to MTV, Sony and Columbia Pictures for such a memorable experience in Paris! I’m not just a contest-winner, but a journalist — and a lucky one at that.