An American in Paris

We trekked to France tracking down the always offbeat Johnny Depp to see if family life has settled him down — or if he’s still living on the edge – By Gregory Katz.

“I didn’t have a life before. Until I had kids … I just didn’t get it.”

Imagine a doting dad playing Barbies on the floor with his 4-year-old daughter while he gives his baby boy a bottle early on a Sunday morning. Now move the scene to a farmhouse in the south of France, picture the father as a somewhat disheveled but darkly handsome long-haired man with mysterious gold caps on his teeth, and you have a glimpse into the life of daddy Johnny Depp.

But the former teen heartthrob — remember “21 Jump Street”? — isn’t quite your average father. At 40, Depp loves to play loud electric guitar, wears clothes that could use a cleaning, occasionally orders $18,000 bottles of wine in restaurants, and pals around with Rolling Stones bad boys Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

Copyright 2005 USA WEEKEND. All rights reserved.

This is an article excerpt. To view the article in full, please visit the USA weekend website.

Sasha from Kentucky: Her Encounter with Johnny Depp on 6/18/03

When I found out that Johnny Depp was for sure going to be on the David Lettermen show, I decided then and there I was going to NYC to see him.

I luckily have a friend (thank you Wes!) who knew how I could get a ticket to the Letterman taping. I knew all this was risky, but I was determined and willing to take the risk. My mother, who has always supported my Johnny Depp ?habit? was wonderful enough to go with me and help him out with the long drive (thank you Mummy!). She knew how much this meant to me and probably wanted it to happen for me so I might shut-up about seeing him. Let me say here, I don?t know why I NEEDED to see him, or meet him?but I just HAD to. My fascination with Johnny has never been a sexual one, yes he is attractive, but I honestly fell in love with his acting and brave choices he made in his career and unique personality. The Kentucky connection also drew me in. I can?t tell you how many times I?ve heard Johnny stories around here about people seeing him, talking to, so many stories?that would have to be an entry of it?s own. Sorry, now back to my encounter. I arrived in NYC city (about 12 hours on the road) late Tuesday night. On Wednesday afternoon I got my tickets for Letterman and went back to the hotel room to freshen-up for the evening and had a hysterical moment. I cried a bit and got all flustered knowing I was about to see the Johnny Depp in a few hours. Hey, I was emotional and had to get it out then so I wouldn?t freak out later in front of him. We arrived at the Ed Sullivan Theatre (where Letterman is taped) and I found a crowd of autograph hounds and press where the guests enter/exit the Letterman show. I joined the crowd and waited for Johnny to arrive holding my French Studio magazine with Johnny?s self-portrait on the cover (best Johnny magazine ever) hoping he would see it as unique for someone to have him sign and catch his attention. As I waited, I realized I was the only Johnny Depp fan there?that I knew of…..or could tell. Sorry if a fan was there, I didn?t see you. It was all the HORRIBLE STINKY LOUD MEAN ANNOYING autograph hounds with tons of Johnny photos and Pirates posters wanting them to be signed to sell on ebay and stuff. I was disgusted by them, except three autographs hounds from Chicago. They were great, funny, and very helpful to me later. They said that Johnny always signs every autograph and is always kind to the crowd. I waited a little over an hour, and then he arrived and he was late. The crowd went wild, yelling at him, pushing to get his autograph. I was amazed I was seeing him, and you can see what the scene was like in the Letterman press pics. I was being held up a bit so I could see him better and try to get his attention (you can see me in the far left corner of the Letterman press pics in the background) I yelled over and over again ?I drove from Kentucky to see you!?, but he didn?t hear me. Like I said, he was late?so he didn?t get to stay long and sign, then he went in the building. I was sad I didn?t get pictures or an autograph, but I was thrilled I got to see him. Then I ran to the Ed Sullivan theatre and was late (?cause of waiting for Johnny, but that?s ok) and was the very last person to be seated, I barely made it. I watched the Johnny segment and as soon as he left, I got up and asked if I could leave?actually begged to. I don?t think they like for the guests to leave, but they let me go. I once again ran around the corner to where I was standing before to see if I could get to him a second time around. I asked the Chicago trio I met if he had come out yet and they said no. We waited a bit longer and there he was again. This time the crowd went even more wild and knocked over the police barricade and surrounded him. I went with it and I was standing behind the bodyguard guy and he started walking backwards stepping all over my toes trying to get Johnny into his vehicle. I was still yelling my ?I drove from Kentucky to see you!? but he still couldn?t hear me. Then I realized Johnny?s face was just inches from mine in the crowd?I froze?and then he was in the vehicle. I missed my chance again. I stood there outside the vehicle holding my little magazine with this pitiful look of sadness on my face about to cry?I still wonder if Johnny could see me there outside his window. I looked for my Chicago pals that I lost in the crowd and the next thing I know they are in a van and yelled for me and said they were going to follow Johnny to his hotel. I paused for a moment wondering if I should go with them or not . For one, I barely knew them. Two, I felt uncomfortable following Johnny like the paparazzi or something. Then again, I did drive 12 hours to see him and was determined to at least get a autograph?.I mean?I came all that way! What would you have done? So, I jumped in the van. We were not the only ones following him, about two or three more cars were doing the same. Let me point out here, these were not fans?these were the disgusting autograph hounds (but I loved my Chicago trio). Johnny?s vehicle made through a red light before we could and our driver said we should just get out and run?so I did. There I was, running to the entrance of his hotel in my little Nine West leather slide sandals on a sidewalk of New York City. Johnny had made it inside the hotel and was behind glass double doors of the hotel. The two Chicago guys with me helped me push my way to the front where the doors were and they were yelling ?She came from Kentucky to see him! Let her through!? and I made it to the doors. I put my magazine up to the door and the only thing separating Johnny and I was a thin glass door. I looked at him and said though the glass ?I drove from Kentucky to see you!? he said smiled and said ?What part??, I said ?Eastern?Pikeville, KY.? He laughed, smiled and shook his head in acknowledgement and motion for me to get my magazine to him. I gave it to the bodyguard in the front of the door (mind you, it was still loud and chaotic behind me). Johnny got it and asked me my name. I told him and he signed my magazine ?SASHA- with my best- Johnny Depp.? You are going to think I?m nuts, if you haven?t already, but we said some things to each other through the glass as he was signing but I can?t remember any of it. I was in shock and couldn?t think straight, sorry. Although, I did ask him ?I?m sorry, but do you mind if I get a picture with you?? he said ?Sure!? and told the bodyguard ?Let the girl in.? The bodyguard put his arm around my shoulders to safely get me in and there I was standing alone with Johnny and some guy in the foyer of the hotel. I was the only one who got in! Well, I was the only fan there (that I know of) and the only girl there. Johnny took my camera and asked the guy (maybe a friend of his??) if he would take the picture and he said yes. Johnny put he arm around me and I put my arm around his back, I could feel the puffiness of his tucked in shirt under his coat. The guy took the picture and said ?I?ll take another to be safe?, but my stupid camera was stalling and I was just waiting there holding on to Johnny. Johnny said ?It probably needs to reset.? and we let go of each other and I got the camera and turned it on and off as Johnny continued to sign more autographs. I talked to the friend a bit about the crazy crowd outside and some small talk as we waited for Johnny to get finished signing. Then Johnny turned around to us and asked ?Ready?? we said yes and out his arm around me again, but tighter this time. If you look in the pictures of us (the second one) you can see his hand on my shoulder touching my neck and hair!!!! After the picture I thanked him a million times and expressed how much it meant to me. He smiled and said something like no problem, or not a problem….I can?t remember. The he hugged me ..a great big nice hug?.and said ?You welcome, sweetheart.? and kissed me on the cheek as he hugged me !!!!!! KISSED ME ON THE CHEEK!!!!! It wasn?t lusty or anything, it was just a tiny brush on my cheek. I felt his face and stubble against my face. I was stunned. I walked out of the hotel as Johnny headed to lobby and that was the last of his signing. The End. He was so so kind and nice to me and he smiled lots. I was distracted by the gold teeth and could barley look him in the eye I was so scared. I know I am a lucky girl, but I didn?t just run into him…I basically chased him down! It was perfect, I couldn?t have asked for it to have went any better unless he asked me to hang out with him or something and we know that probably would never happen. I do wish I could have said more to him. I have so many questions and things to say to him, but my mind was gone and I couldn?t think of any of them. Maybe one day I?ll get to have that conversation, in the meantime I?ll live in the glow of an incredible meeting that I will always think of fondly. It feels like a dream, it?s hard for me to believe. I was the happiest girl in the world for that moment and am when I think of it. Thank you, Johnny.

i’m home from letterman (6/18/03) and still grinning ear to ear

hi depp fan folks,

i just got back from the letterman taping and wanted to get my report down while everything is still fresh.

i was very lucky to get a ticket. as you might know, i work for a newspaper and at one time i did the daily tv and local event listings for the sports section. one part of my job was to keep in contact with the publicity people for the different networks. i always had a good relationship with them and it was that relationship than enabled me to get a letterman ticket. last week i called one of my old contacts and asked her if she could help me. well, she busted her ass for me! it took her a few days but yesterday morning she told me she had been successful and she got me a ticket. all i had to do was show up this afternoon with my confirmation letter and a photo i.d. of myself and i was in.

johnny was already iniside when i got to the theater. i hope those outside were able to see him. the production assistant greeting people at the door told me that since i was a guest of cbs i would have one of the best seats in the house. that was a surprise because i had thought that there would be a mad scramble for seats. the cbs guests, 40 or 50 of us i estimate, were taken to the balcony and seated in order in the front rows of the balcony. i got worried at one point because they were running out of seats in the front rows of the center section and stopped seating people when i was number 3 in line. they sent up back over to the left side, where they had already started seating people who had been behind me in line. i was almost ready to protest, when the usher asked me how many were in my party. i told him i was alone, so he smiled and pointed to a single seat on the aisle — in the front row — wow! i had been worried for nothing. i wanted to go to the bathroom so badly, but i had to wait until they finished filling the balcony. non-cbs guests got the seats in the back. i also found out that the seats on the floor level weren’t as good as i had thought they would be. camera men and cue-card men and the director and other floor workers were running around blocking the view. but i hurried to the bathroom and got back in time for the warm-up. you know, when they tell you to laugh at everything whether it’s funny or not. then they introduced the orchestra. we had a special treat because b.b. king was sitting in with the orchestra. so during the commercial breaks we had the pleasure of listening to him sing and play. having him there was an extra special attraction that i hadn’t planned on. he was terrific.

they tape the show straight through without stopping so they whole thing was over in an hour. but it seemed like 3 or 4 hours before johnny came out. he was the first guest after all that silly comedy stuff and my heart certainly skipped a beat or two when he finally walked across the stage to meet dave. i think the stage actually got brighter when he came out. he was dressed in baggy pants and was wearing a vest over a plaid long-sleeved shirt, blue and green i think. he had a gold watch chain hanging out of his front pants pocket and was wearing rings on both hands. the one on the right hand was very shiny. he had on glasses with dark frames, brown, or tortoise-shell, it was a little hard to tell; but they suited him very well. he had neat facial hair in a goatee style. but the fabulous thing was his hair. it was blond, a very natural looking soft blond color, not white. and, it was gleeming. it would swing loosely whenever he moved his head. i loved that hair. needless to say, he was absolutely stunning and completely adorable. dave asked him about his gold teeth, which he said he hadn’t had time to remove yet and they talked about dental problems, aparently johnny has had some root canal problems lately. he said he had to have one done during the potc filming. he had to be knocked out completely for it, 5 or 6 hours, he said. he also had a bit of a cold and was a little nasal. dave asked him about the children and he told a funny story about lily-rose asking him questions about god. i won’t ruin it for those of you who will watch him tonight. he also told another funny story about going through customs with some “vitamin powder” that had exploded in his luggage. they showed a clip from potc with johnny and orlando bloom sword fighting. they discussed france a little and johnny actually made a political statement or two. again i don’t want to give it all away.

sadly his time on stage wasn’t long enough for me. but they were in commerical when he actually left the stage, so tv viewers probably won’t see him waving to all of us and shaking hands with letterman and the crew and waving to the band members. all in all, he was totally charming, sweet, relaxed and absolutely beautiful. i was truly blessed to be that close to him. he was definitely a “presence” in the room. letterman again told the audience that johnny was the “coolest guest we ever had” and he certainly was.

unfortunately, by the time we got out of the theater, he had gone so i didn’t get to meet him but i consider myself truly lucky to have been in the same place with him and it’s a memory i’ll carry with me always. i only hope that all his fans can have the same experience at some point. he’s a treasure.

i didn’t want to give too much away last night since the show hadn’t aired but now that americans have had a chance to see it, i’ll be gladl to tell you more. i know that some people in the u.k. will see it later today, so don’t read any more if you want to be surprised.

johnny said he’d just flown in from portugal and france and that he had a 3 day cold, which he said would be a 4 day cold tomorrow. he and dave had some banter about how long the cold would last. and then he talked about customs coming on the private plane he was flying on. he said he always felt a little nervous and “guilty” under those circumstances and told about meeting the big customs man and, because of his cold, he sniffed. of course, everybody laughed at the drug reference. dave asked him about former customs experiences and he told a story about flying in from peru and being immediately stopped by customs and asked what was in the bag he was carrying. “piranhas,” he told the agent. he explained to dave that he had some shellacked pirahnas in the bag and a vampire bat. “dead,” he said. then he told about also having a bottle of “vitamin powder” which had exploded during the flight and when the customs agent unzipped his bag the powder poofed up the the man’s face. he was very charming telling that story and quite funny. his economy with words makes his stories even funnier than they would be ordinarily.

dave asked him about his gold teeth, which he said he “forgot” to have removed before he left l.a. after filming potc and would have removed next week. then they talked about why he hadn’t shown up for the show during his promotions for blow. he had had a root canal and wasn’t feeling well. he said it was a double root canal and that he had had another double root canal during the filming of potc. but had been knocked out for that since it took 6-8 hours. again, his telling of the root canal story was quite funny. he told about getting an i.v., which he hadn’t wanted, to be put out for the procedure. he started counting backwards, “ninety-nine, ninety-eight, — three.”

he talked a little about being an american in france and about how the american government wanted to change the name of french fries to freedom fries. he said he wanted to write a letter thanking the government for proving “globally” that they were “imbeciles.” that got a big laugh. fortunately the other guest for the evening, christine todd whitman, who is a member of george w. bush’s cabinet, wasn’t on stage at the time.

then dave asked him about being a father. of course, his face lit up. when dave asked him what it was like he said it was like “hanging around with a miniture drunk.” “you have to hold on to them, they bump into things, they laugh, they cry, they urinate, they vomit.” dave asked about his daughter, his face lit up again and he told a story about lily-rose sitting him down and asking him if god was afraid of dogs, if god had seen the dinosaurs, and if god had a maid. i hope you’ll be able to see the tape, because there’s no way i can convey to you how funny and touching johnny was talking about how “profound” his 4-year-old daughter is.

they talked about filming potc. dave said it’s a pirate story and also a ghost story, isn’t it. johnny said, “i think so. i haven’t seen it yet.” they got ready to show a clip and dave asked him if he knew what the clip was going to be. johnny said that somebody told him something back stage, but “i don’t remember.” again, lots of laughter. then they showed a clip of johnny and orlando bloom sword fighting.

unfortunately that was all there was. and they didn’t cut any of it, so the only thing you’ll miss when you see the tape is johnny leaving the stage, waving to all of us and shaking hands with the people on stage. that was done during a commerical break.

like i said, there’s no way i can convey to you how charming and truly funny he is by only telling you about it. you need to see him. so much of his humor is in the way he talks, not in just what he says. i’m sure you know that by things you’ve seen in the past. hopefully someone can make a tape for those of you in europe. in case you haven’t heard already, he will be on abc’s 20/20 this friday and on the tonight show with jay leno next friday. there are other interview coming up, too. it’s going to be hard to keep up with him the next couple of weeks.

love,
elsie

This encounter has been posted first on Johnnydeppfan, and has been transcripted here with permission

Anna’s Encounter

I met him two years ago and it was wonderful! I was at work and a friend of mine told me he was in the city doing an interview with David Letterman. So Iran down to the studio and waited outside until he got there. He showed up and a lot of fans were there screaming and asking for autographs and pictures and I was just frozen staring at him.
He noticed that I was pregnant so he came right over to me, took my hand and said “Thank you for waiting here just to see me.” And I don’t remember what the hell I said. I think I told him that I loved him or something. I just thought he was such a gentleman for coming straight to me and that I might have the baby right then and there, I was so excited! LOL!
I never got to take any pictures because I didn’t have a camera with me but I did get his autograph on a picture I had with me in my purse. I’ll never forget meeting him. He was so sweet! And next time I hope I at least have my camera with me!

Anna has a lovely website, Got Depp! Be sure to pay it a visit!

IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT!

I have just had the most exceptionally wonderful, beautiful…almost surreal experience a fan can have. I met Johnny!! Wow, I can’t believe I’m typing these words. I’m absolutely floating right now so forgive me if this is a bit loopy. My friend Jesse (who collects autographs as a hobby) took me down to Letterman’s studios to try and see him. I really didn’t know what to expect…all or nothing. I’ll skip over the 8 hours of standing out in the freezing cold because what comes next supersedes any discomfort I might have felt. When Johnny first went into the building there was a rush of people and I only saw his head for about a split second and then he was gone. That was surreal enough. Next came about 2 hours of waiting I brought a bouquet of roses with a little note with me and all though there were a lot of people there clamoring & waiting for autographs people were nice enough to let me get to the front of the police barricades. God bless Jesse who helped me negotiate the crowds and get to the front. Next came about 2 hours of waiting with my head spinning and my hands freezing and then boom! the doors opened and there he was. First may I say (and this might have actually slipped out of my mouth) he looked exceptionally beautiful. I really must say he looked BETTER in person then on film(and this from someone who has found him exceedingly handsome on film). He really was spectacular…breathtaking. He was clean shaven, had on a long black coat and a striped knit cap.

Okay…deep breath…here’s what happened next and what I’ve been screaming with my friends about for the last few hours. He began signing autographs on my side of the barricades. I saw my friend Jesse getting an autograph. He began working his way over to me and the guy standing next to me said “This girl had been here for 10 hours (slight exaggeration on his part :-)) and has some roses for you”. Another deep breath…Johnny looked at me and smiled and said “That’s so sweet…thank you” and took the roses from me. I said “Johnny I’m a great fan of yours, I really appreciate you’re work” and he said “Thank you darlin'” and smiled. !!!!!!!!! I shook his hand and this is the part I’m embarrassed about and that I had hoped I wouldn’t do but I heard myself say “I love you” and he smiled, looked back at me and said “me too.” What a sweetheart!!! I couldn’t believe I said that. He put the roses (gently!!) into the back seat of his car which was parked right there at the end of the barricades. The guy next to me, who really WAS a sweetheart, asked if I could get a picture with him and Johnny kindly said “sure” and leaned in toward me and put his arm around me (!!!) and asked “which camera?” where I pointed to my friend Jesse who then snapped it!!!!!!!

After signing many more autographs around me, someone told him that they should be going and he said that he had to get the other side. He then went to the other side of the barricades.

This was the end of my personal contact with him but I just watched the rest with my head swirling about. He was so amazingly sweet to everyone around us. He took special care to sign for a guy in a wheel chair who was off in the corner. He took a picture with him and made sure to get the guy’s name when signing the autograph. He smiled for photos and posed with anyone who asked even though the people with him seemed to be trying to get him to leave. By the way, people who were with him included Jonathan Shaw (his tattoo artist friend) and a strikingly beautiful, somewhat pouty women who MAY have been Vanessa Paradis. I couldn’t tell…I really only glanced at her twice…couldn’t tear my eyes off of Johnny. He must have signed about 60 autographs. At the very end my friend Jesse tried for another autograph and reached over a crowd of people to which Johnny said “nice reach, man” and signed again.

Now I was in a state of shock and trying to be fully aware of what was happening. Security started to push people away, saying it was getting out of control but Johnny still posed with yet more fans.

Johnny got in his car and waved to everyone as he was leaving. Then my last glimpses of him were of him rolling down his window and talking to a homeless man who was following Johnny’s car on a bike.

Everyone was going on about how sweet and wonderful he was and I had a full freak out session on the way to the car, in the car, at my friend’s apartment and I think it’s still going on now :-).

It was just an absolutely wonderful experience. Johnny is truly a giving and kind human being. At least from what I’ve seen today, there is big and beautiful heart beating in that chest. I had no idea what to expect from this outing today and what occurred exceeded any and all expectations. Johnny, if you’re out there, you have done a fan’s heart good.

A special ?thank you? goes out to Jesse for with out his help I would have never been able to have had this experience. Jesse stood out in the cold, shivering with me hours and worked the camera for me as my hands were too frozen to move. This is all testament to yet another big and beautiful heart. Thank you Jesse!!

Sam

This tale has been taken from Johnnydeppfan and reproduced here with permission.

FEBRUARY 25TH, “THE NEW SCHOOL”(12th street 6th avenue) NEW YORK CITY

FEBRUARY 25TH, “THE NEW SCHOOL”(12th street 6th avenue) NEW YORK CITY, 11:00PM eastern time:
In a hunt that would make Fred Abberline, Dean Corso, and Ichabod Crane proud. In a mere 3 1/2 hours I pieced together the great mystery of the “Inside The Actors Studio” taping. In this conundrum I managed to meet, and chat(well sort of), with Johnny Depp! My first time or even close since I tried to get on the phone with him on Howard Stern.

Let me preface this by saying the IAS taping was more vague than JD’s Blockbuster acceptance speech and in real life he seems more frail/distracted than a Taco Bell Hard taco value meal. I never actually got into the taping(due to the blatant lack of promotion and the fact it’s totally reserved for NEW SCHOOL film snobs/students) but I tracked down his exit to the awaiting car at the last minute for a very fascinating/terrifying 2 minutes which seemed like 4 hours.

IAS did a masterful job of keeping this taping a major covert secret. Like most of you I couldn’t find out a fricken thing besides that damn FEB 25th date, whatever that meant, and I live in NYC? Were they taping it that day or was it to air that day? Well, they in fact taped it this day(Feb 25th) for what was 7pm to 11pm eastern time(Also where JD ate his meals with Sal Jenco in 1983, 7-11). This I found out virtually through excruciating leg work, LUCK and TODAY at the last minute.

During a 5 mile run I mistakenly read(picked up off the ground out of boredom) the NY post and they printed ambiguous info on the JD taping for IAS it reads “it was the hottest ticket in town you can’t buy seats for”. I thought “we’ll see about that”. While drinking Starbucks at 7:30pm, and just finishing a five mile run, I decide to track it down(I figure NO WAY is there a chance in HELL I’m catching him or it, but I have to try?). I go to IAS spot 1, 44th street and 10th Ave(Manhattan),it’s closed. I go to MAN RAY(15th street and 7th ave), figuring he owns the place lives in France, he has to check in at some point SHIT!! it’s closed too. I go to IAS spot two, Bleeker and Laguardia(Greenwich Village) I find a Jamaican guard playing chess, and I ask him about the taping. He says “Oh movie star taping down there on 12th and 6th avenue.” I sardonically tell the guard he “runs a tight ship”, and move on. Now it’s 10:30 pm and I’ve been walking for 3 hours now. I just say fuck it, lets see if he’s right(but what are my chances?). I trudge up to the spot, low and behold there is a massive production truck and as JD puts it a “gaggle of paparazzi” awaiting but small(12 or so) in comparison because of the subterfuge like efforts to keep it hush hush. I’m about one of 5 fans that weren’t paparazzi waiting outside, in the know. Again you couldn’t research this, it can’t be looked up. The fricken elusive taping is going on as I wait(It’s edited severely and is 4 hours originally, OUCH!) The doors fly open and here comes the undeserving access, weenie, talentless, delusional, film students(11:00pm)exiting, that got to see the taping, and lets’ face it, didn’t deserve to! I’m not bitter when I say if that homage were about Shaquille O’Neal praising his work on Kazaam, Blue Chips and Steel, the students and James Lipton alike still would have gotten to see it with the same fascination. Everyone a buzz outside. I’m perched in a tree like Sam in the beginning of Benny & Joon to get a DEPPSeye view.

30 minutes later things clear and I’m one of 25 people(A diminished 150) remaining waiting for JD to exit, or so we figured? Now I move inside the studio and remove a sign that said “PLEASE QUIET ACTORS STUDIO TAPING IN PROGRESS” for potential autograph purposes(I’m not big on autographs but how can’t I now?). The set is being torn down and people are still milling around. I pace over to the car that I believe Depp is going make his get away in and memorize the license plate (NEW YORK, BLS-28), a black tinted windowed, Lincoln Navigator SUV with a bigass tough looking black driver with the motor running(Still you can’t be sure it’s his?).

Now, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. Depp emerges from the set, head down(drained), making his way towards THIS SAME CAR! He is flanked by two guards, a little old lady, and another attractive brunette who I believe was Tracey Jacobs or Kim Gass. The paparazzi just lunges, in his face snapping photos, literally 4 inches away from him, screaming bizarre requests for photo opts “LOOK UP Johnny”, “OVER HERE Johnny” over and over, ad nauseum(it made me sick and angry). Depp graciously bashes on and signs everything in his path with his head down, hair calculated and in his eyes, as if he has put himmself in a paparazzi trance(no eye contact). Depp DEPPliberately didn’t look up or speak once TO ANYONE, I suspect to lower the value of those parasites shots, so they never get an actual picture, penalizing them for their neanderthal rudeness(as it turns out, none were printed in the NYC papers! He did his job). I positioned myself in the mix with my paper out, feeling creepy because JD DID NOT utter a word to anyone or pickled with paparazzi psychosis. Like I said I improved this whole endeavor. I was wearing my running clothes, a red bandana, Major league baseball windbreaker, and running pants I say softly “Please don’t ever give up acting, it’s the only reason I go the movies anymore/my salvation, and are you doing Howard Stern tomorrow?” I try to rattle him with a blast from the past “Johnny it’s your old friend BONES, glad to see you not on fire!” and “Is Chucky O’Hara’s bio your next film or what?(my nephew, funnyass name, and a big Depp fan). He doesn’t/can’t hear a thing from anyone he has numbed himmself from ALL sound. He signs my sheet without looking(Ala Eddie Rebel), and continues on his way. My fandom quickly turned to almost family like anger concern/love when I saw the press and their psychotic aggression. I literally like a great basketball rebounder boxed out three or so paparazzi angrily clearing a path(throwing elbows). Trust me it is SOOO FREAKY/surreal, as Johnny says “they’re just aggressive beasts”(you almost feel guilty being there). You lose all respect for them instantly, when you see them in action. Depp’s England wooden plank rage is totally validated when you see this for yourself.

Depp looked soooo uncomfortable/fragile/mummefied and just wiped out from the ordeal as he seemed to be floating into the awaiting SUV. Sporting plain brown long hair(no blonde streak) and his standard goatee, he looked just like the Details cover recently. He heads for the exact car/SUV I targeted. He gets in the back left seat(exasperated) with the baby safety seat waiting for him, no seatbelt(hahaheh), and Jacobs riding shotgun. The hulking black driver just lights up his tires REEEEK seriously nearly plowing over 5 paparazzi, spilling out onto 12th street towards 5th avenue.

I drifted over to the hotel hot spots to see if I could strike lightening twice. Nothing but wannabee models/posers/cheechboys, so I retreated home, to check out MAN RAY and Howard Stern tomorrow.

I’ll add more as I think of more. I’m exhausted! Questions are of course welcome. THIS IS ALL 100% FACT!

Love,
– John “ARM” Bogdan

JACK-O-PANDERIN’

A vivid yet distinctly fictitious recreation of the crime-plagued gutters of 19th Century London, the Jack the Ripper thriller “From Hell” is quite a homage to the dense graphic novel from which it was spawned – by Rob Blackwelder.

Depp’s performance carries the movie, to a certain extent, because his is the only character with tangible depth. We witness Abberline’s disturbing visions, and the drug-fueled process that brings them about. We know of his unhappy past (his wife died while delivering their stillborn daughter) and understand his determination.

Copyright Contactmusic.com Ltd 2005

This is an article excerpt. To view the article in it’s entirety, please visit the ContactMusic website.

Such a gallant man

In September 2001 Johnny Depp was in Deauville, in the Normandy region of France, to promote “Blow”. I live not very far from Deauville so I decided to go – after all, I’d been waiting for this day for 12 years!

After work I jumped into my car with my best friend and off we went. When we arrived in Deauville there were so many people — girls crossed France to see him. We waited for him for about an hour. At last he arrived and I was a little bit excited, but unfortunately he was so far from me and he went into the cinema screening room. I thought that I?d missed my chance to talk to him and I was very disappointed. I was about to leave to go back home, but then I thought “S**t, I ‘m going to wait until the end of the movie”, and I decided to go back to the cinema. After about 15 minutes I saw cameras flashing and a lot of people milling about inside. My best friend, who knew the town very well, told me “He’s going to take the underground passage”, so we ran towards the underground to wait for his car. Two other people had heard what she said and followed us.

Then Johnny stopped his car – oh my god he was so beautiful: long hair, a clear pink skirt and an arabian scarf, and his old, old famous hat! He was drinking a glass of wine and smoking a rolled cigarette. (Are you surprised by this? Our authentic Johnny as we love him.) A girl moved towards him and she told him about her favourite movies. I don’t know why but he was so distant with her, he just signed her picture, ouf!

Then it was my turn, but it was strange – I wasn’t under stress anymore; I got the impression that I?d always known him. I told him that I was a big fan for 12 years, and he looked at me very surprised (maybe because I look younger than I am). He caught my hand and kissed it, and he asked me “Are you OK? You didn’t want to see the movie?” (It was funny because he knew that we were French and he spoke in an easy English.) I explained that I will have time to see it but that I didn’t have time to buy a ticket and, yes, I was very fine! He took my paper and asked me my name. I started to spell it in English but he stopped me and told me: “In French please”. After this he took a lot of time to pronounce it. While he wrote I talked to him about the time that we saw each other very quickly at the end of Vanessa Paradis’ concert in Normandy; he remembered it and he laughed. “So, I read you what I’m writing for you: “elise = my best to you always = love johnny depp”. I asked him to kiss my hand again so I could get a picture, and he took my hand and put his lips on my hand, and waited so that my best friend could find a good moment to take the picture. Unfortunately you don’t see my face in the photo – only my hand and of course his tender touch. I thanked him for his simplicity and I told him “Carry on making us dream through your movies”, and he thanked me.

It was the most beautiful day in my life. I hope that I won’t have to wait another 12 years to meet him again!

Elise
January 2003

From the old JOHNNYDEPPZONE

Isa’s report on the Deauville Film Festival, September 5, 2001

I went to Deauville to see Johnny on Tuesday but when I got there, I heard that he wasn’t coming until Wednesday. Actually, Johnny had changed his mind! On Friday he didn?t wanted to come at all. But then on Saturday morning he wanted to come but only on Wednesday! So the festival had to change the program between Tuesday and Wednesday. Anyway, he came down to the Royal Hotel at noon. He had lunch and then had to do some interviews inside. He came in a black mercedes car. He was seated near to the driver and he was wearing his hat. He waved “hi” with his hand. There were many people waiting for him and some security guys were there to keep us away from the car. We had to stay outside of the hotel and the car went into the park lot so we could hardly see him when he got of the car. Everybody was screaming, “Johnny! Johnny!” but he didn?t turn toward us. He just went in the hotel. He was supposed to go to the Canal Plus TV program but didn?t show up. He canceled it!

Then the press conference was at 5 pm, just after the photocall. I was in line for 1 hour, to go to the press conference! So many people wanted to get in! It was crazy! I fought, but I got in! Yeah! He was alone and Ted Demme was not there. He stayed for 20 minutes, speaking about the movie. I took as many pictures as I could!!! I probably took the first 36 pictures in a minute! Then, when he was speaking, a guy asked me not to take pictures, even without flash. But he had the very good idea of leaving me alone after a while, so I took more photos!!! Yeah! Of course, he was smoking?the whole time! He was so cute! Even if I didn?t really like his large pink shirt! Then at the end of the conference, many people came up to see him, to get some autographs. It was crazy! Then I left and ran to the corner of the street and I saw him in the car. He was going back to the hotel and the windows of the car were open! He waved “hi” again with his hand. It was fun! Then people saw him and started to run to the hotel!!! It was very funny! So I ran, too! But it was too late! When I got there, he had just gone inside!

Then he went to the screening of the movie, at 8.30pm. He was late (of course! same for the press conference!). But he came in the car up to the entrance so only the people waiting there for hours could see him! He signed a lot of autographs for people and then went inside. I tried to go inside, but I couldn?t. It was more than full! Even some people with passes couldn?t get in! I heard on the radio that he was seated in the back of the theater and then came on stage to promote the movie but didn?t say anything on stage (usually all the people say something, but we all know he doesn?t like that very much). They said he needed more than 20 minutes to go on stage because he was signing autographs for everybody on his way to the stage! How cool!!!! Then he left the festival right after on the first plane. He didn?t go back to the hotel. He also said in an interview in Deauville that he thinks that smoking marijuana should be legal. Some guys on TV spoke about his declaration on TV! It wasn?t very appreciated! OK, I think that?s it! End of the day! I missed him when he came out of the theater.

So, see you later, Johnny! It was nice to see you, even if it was only for 20 minutes!!!

Isa

A sort of diary. To all the little solitary drops in this huge ocean.

Yes, I saw Him at the Venice Film Festival on September 8th, 2001. It was Saturday. My story, however, begins some time before. Almost one year before.

I have a friend, Edelweiss. She is a great fan of Matthew McConaughey. In a certain way we got closer and became friends because of our common passion for movie stars. In August 2000 she said to me that Mc and J would be in Venice for the Film Festival. If they would come on the same days? would we go too? Ok, I said. She found out they would be there on the same day. Well, I let her organize the whole trip. She arranged everything. She prepared also a little packet for Mc and so did I, for J of course. Who knows? We were travelling by train from Rome to Venice as she said: “You know? I heard J wouldn’t come? Sorry?” It’s ok, doesn’t matter. We will have fun. And after all I kept hoping it was only a rumor, a false piece of news. He will come. I was sure. I kept waiting and hoping all the time during the two days we spent at the Festival. How can I explain?? I felt Him in the air all around me. By a sudden chance just three days before we left I had seen in a very small cinema in Rome, Los Angeles Without A Map. I had felt a bit like the young hero. He spoke with a Dead Man poster. Sometimes I did the same at home with another photo. On that train I understood what the meaning of the movie was for me in that very moment: the only places where I would see or meet J was still my dreams and my fantasy for now. I brought to Venice a T-shirt I had made with J’s self-portrait printed on the front side. I wore it during our two days at the Film Festival. “If He won’t be here, His portrait will.” Only a few months after I read in an Italian magazine that Bardem had done the same with a photo of Reynaldo Arenas printed on the T-shirt he was wearing at Before Night Falls premiere in Ven-ice. The two days we spent at the Festival were special. We met a very young and kind journalist, she helped us, she told us all she knew about people landing to be interviewed or leaving the hotels and at what time. That way we discovered when we would see Mc and where and in which hotel he stayed. In the meanwhile there were people asking about J everywhere around us, young people and older and I was impressed how many they were. Will He come, will He not? We knew all about His past stay at the Festival: the party for The Man Who Cried, His hotel? but He didn’t come. They said He was on a set, I think it was From Hell. He couldn’t come, but everywhere I could feel His absence, wider than anyone else’s absence. And then? we were just waiting for Mc outside the Excelsior, the hotel where all the interviews took place, when suddenly I saw a very attractive tall guy coming out. I recognized him; I had seen him some months before in a TV-movie. I shouted his name and ran to him. I asked if I might take a photo of him and when I held out my hand to thank him he caught it, bowed over me and kissed me on my cheek. In the afternoon I read the program of the Festival more carefully and I learned why the guy was there. He played one of the main characters in Before Night Falls, one of the two competing movies J was playing in. How strange? J wasn’t there, but in a certain way I thought I couldn’t come closer to Him even if He would have come. I saw how strictly Mc and Bon Jovi and all the other stars were controlled and followed by bodyguards. They were like in a armored safe. Would I really like to see J like that? I considered all that and it seemed to me a little inhuman to come there and look at Him as if He was a kind of monument or something like that. We went to Mc’s hotel. We were lucky, they let us reach the hall from the delivery entrance and she left her packet for him. We saw where the receptionist put it. The key wasn’t there. Mc was in his room. She left her packet. I still had mine when I went home. She was very excited and tired in the same time. I was too. We had awaken very early in the morning just to be there. We sat then on a bench and we looked at the sea. The sun was setting, the light was so soft, the silence was complete. I saw a young man coming towards the hotel, he had such a gentle and lovely face, I thought he was one of them. Something in his way of walking let me think that. He brought a paper bag with Prada written on it. He seemed to be shy; he was walking without giving a glance all around him, low eyes, as if he didn’t want to be recognized. He was not alone, but they didn’t speak to each other. They were just walking and I thought for sure that the other one was a bodyguard. I kept looking at them without moving or speaking till they disappeared into the hotel entrance. A week or two after I saw in Rome Before Night Falls and I recognized the guy. He was the French actor Olivier Martines. I felt as if I had been into that movie too. Like J. This very night we went to the U-571 premiere. When we entered the cinema Mc was entering too, walking down a narrow passage through the crowd. We were almost two meter far from him. In some moments nearer and if we had stretched out our hands we had touched him? but we couldn’t. Plenty of bodyguards were controlling everything and everyone. We couldn’t even take some photos because we where so close to him. We just looked at him passing by and smiling to no one. We were speechless. Really, would I be strong enough to bear to see J like that?

At the end of July 2001 I was spending some days with Edelweiss at her home. A friend of her called and said: “Girls… don’t you know? Depp will be in Venice?” She started searching in the net if Mc would be there too. I left her and I was walking down a narrow street in Rome carrying my suitcase, when I saw him again, the tall guy I had met outside the Excelsior. “O my God, o my God?”, I could only repeat. Andrea Di Stefano was coming out from a travel agency. He also recognized me, I think. We had met once again some months before, always in Rome, always in a narrow street near my office. In that occasion I had asked him for an autograph. He was always the same kind guy I remembered from Venice, so kind that I almost forgot how handsome he is. The first thing I asked him was if he would go in Venice again. He said no, but he added: “If you go, have fun!” Thanks. I’ll have. I would do my best to make his wish come true. But some days after we learned that 13 Conversations About A Thing, the movie with Mc and Turturro competing at the Festival, and From Hell would be presented in different days. So we couldn’t go together. It would last too long and cost us a lot. I had to find another companion for the days of J’s supposed stay in Venice. I asked my friend Lilly and arranged the whole thing. I booked the hotel and the train. Every two days I was searching for information at official Film Festival web site. At the end of August Edelweiss called me and said: “I still don’t know if Mc will come or not, but I’ll go in two days. I’m so sorry, they said on the radio J won’t come?” What? Once again? You see? If J comes to Italy I have to go and see. But now? Anyhow I wasn’t sad at first. Two days after I was angry and a little disappointed. I had all arranged. I didn’t let myself get discouraged. I was going to spend some wonderful days in Venice, in this very strange town, built on a fish shaped island whose veins are its many canals, and its other islands, such as San Michele, where the cemetery is, the Giudecca, where Cipriani Hotel is, the hotel where Edelweiss and I had left that packet the year before, and the Lido, a long and narrow island that seems to protect Venice from the sea and where the Film Festival takes place every year. This strange town without bus or subway; if you want to visit it you must walk and walk or take the steamboat and when you land you feel as if you are still on board, the ground seems to move under your feet. This very strange town whose map I had been studying for two weeks in order to find the right hotel for me and Lilly. O God? He won’t come! But? Di Stefano had said: “Have fun!” I would have.

We got to Venice on September 6th. I had planned to see Jude Law, who was expected that night for the A.I. premiere. At the last minute he said he wouldn’t come. I decided to make the best of a bad bargain. I accompanied my friend through the town and I nearly forgot the Festival. She is a passionate photographer and brought a very heavy bag and a very big camera. The year before I had been at the Lido only and I hadn’t seen anything of the town. This time I saw the gondolas and the monuments. The whole town was made of art, beauty and tourists and I understood why they say: “Save Venice.” I had heard that this town is a lasting paradox: usually a lagoon doesn’t last so long. Either it becomes a piece of land or the sea floods it. This town is a kind of lasting miracle and a kind of trap for tourists, with its many souvenirs stores, confectioners, its many restaurants and pizzerias and ice cream parlors. But this very town is able to surprise you with its sudden silences. You just need to leave the main street and enter one of these narrow ways leading to nowhere, ending on a canal where the gondolas glide without a sound. If a gondolier is singing or explaining something to the tourists it usually happens on the main canals. Not here. So it’s not so strange that while I was in Venice I heard nothing about the Film Festival, as if it was taking place in Hong Kong or in Honolulu, not at the Lido. I just watched the final news on TV at night, as if I was home 600 km far from there. On September 7th morning we separated. We wanted to see different parts of the town. We should meet for lunch at 1.30pm in a restaurant. We were just having a typical Venetian lunch as she got a message on the phone from her boyfriend: “Depp is at the Lido.” Oh, I thought, he’s joking. What a bad joke? Anyhow I tried to find out something, but really Venice seemed not to be interested in what was happening at the Lido. The tourist office in Piazza San Marco, where I had got some information about the Festival the day before, was closed. We had no radio. When we came back to the hotel we turned the TV on and I found out the guy in Rome was not joking. J was in Venice. He had been at the Lido to be interviewed. O Christ! That night I saw one of these interviews on TV. He talked with His very voice with subtitles. I looked at Him and I didn’t understand anything. He is here! And I was walking like a stupid tourist the whole day. My friend got very angry with me. She said I should have been informed. I was informed. I had connected to Internet just the day before we left: He shouldn’t have come. It looked as if it was my fault that He had come. I was so disappointed as she was. Perhaps more. Why didn’t she understand? I thought: “Now we have to organize for tomorrow.” I tried not to think of anything else.

The next morning we woke up very early. We took the boat and went to the Lido. We had some breakfast. It was still very early. We bought some newspapers. We read He was at Cipriani, the hotel on Giudecca Island where Mc had stayed the year before. But newspapers don’t always say the truth. They are a little superficial, sometimes. So I tried to enter the hotel Des Bains, where J should have had to stay the year before. I just had a look at the reception and what I saw let me breathless. I knew it was the hotel where Thomas Mann had set his tale Death in Venice and Luchino Visconti had filmed the movie version. I asked if Mr. Depp was there. I just wanted to leave the packet I had prepared for Him. Although what I had learned before leaving I had still kept a little faith and prepared a new packet for Him, much smaller than the one I had planned at first. I also brought my T-shirt with His portrait printed on, but this time I left it in my suitcase. The polite elegant employee let me repeat the name. He wanted me to spell it. He checked up in his PC. No, there’s no one called like that. Thanks. I pretended to be more sure and resolute than I was, as if it was usual for me to enter such wonderful places, places where you need a lot of money to lodge in. Ok. Then we went to the Excelsior. Similar scene, different elegant uniforms. J didn’t stay there. They said He had been there the day before for the interview. He did just one? Really? Very strange? They said they didn’t know if He would come again. My friend was still very angry with me. She said we had to go to His hotel. I didn’t dare to propose it myself. I knew how far the hotel was. She didn’t know. Then it happened something that made us lose some precious time. The girl at the boat ticket window thought she had to explain me carefully why I had to buy just the tickets I wanted to buy. My friend changed color. Her face took on a very unusual red shade. I tried to keep being calm. I was struck by the way the girl could speak about nothing. At the end I was so nervous that I bought more tickets than we had needed, if only we had been a little more experienced in Venetian boats. At last we reached the hotel. Same way as the year before, same bench. Not the same silence. I tried to go into the hall. A guard asked me what I was looking for. I was very simple; I said him the same as I said in the other hotels. O, what a mistake! At first he said that J didn’t stay there. I pretended once more to be very resolute. I insisted I knew He was there. When I said: “I don’t understand why you are making so many difficulties? Last year you let me enter!” he replied: “Who let you enter? Tell me the name!” I looked at him a little ironic. I hoped he understood how stupid his question was. As if I could know all the people working in that hotel only for entering it once? He said he couldn’t me let in. I had to wait till his colleague would come and ask him. O God, I just want to go in the hall and leave this packet. It’s just a letter with a request for an autograph. I had some strange thoughts in my mind when I saw the two maids entering the door. My friend was a little far, but she noticed my strange glance. My patience was going to give up. I would be the most headstrong. I had came up to there; He was in the hotel, somewhere over or around me. I couldn’t go away now. Another guard went out of a room. A taller and finer one. I explained again as calm as I could and I added: “What if I had sent it by express mail?” “Great – he said – send it!” He was so fine and tall, but I think I looked at him as if I would soon lose my temper. He went into the room, he came out again and said: “He has gone to the Lido right now.” Calm, be calm? “I don’t want to see Him – I was lying unashamed and, after all, I thought they were just trying to get rid of me – I only want to leave this packet!” The tall guy took it and said: “I will try to give it to the receptionist for you. I don’t make you any promise. It depends on him.” He put his coat on and disappeared through the narrow passage that leads to the reception. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now I only had to trust him, to hope the receptionist would be so kind as the guard was, to hope that He too? I remembered what Marta, the Spanish girl who had met Him in Toledo during the filming of The Ninth Gate, had written. I knew how gentle He had been. I had much to hope. Would my faith be strong enough?

We came back to the Lido. We had lost a lot of time on the Giudecca. When we reached the little terrace opposite the Excelsior there was a little crowd. I asked what had happened or what was going to happen, the usual question in such an occasion, and two girls said to us: “He is come! We saw Him.” “Who?” “Johnny Depp!” “When?” “More or less twenty minutes ago. Maybe ten.” I didn’t look at Lilly’s face. He was into the Excelsior to be interviewed again. The guard told me the truth then? I can trust him. I must. I have no other possibility now. He was inside. But I felt as if He was miles and miles away from there, from that terrace where we were going to spend the next six or seven hours. The front of the Excelsior faces on the road, but the stars usually enter from under, they land from the taxi-boats on a little wharf on the other side of the road and people can look down at them. We stayed there till He came out. To be more exact: she stayed there without moving, with her camera ready and the powerful zoom on. I went once into the hotel. I left everything to her, entered and asked about the toilet. I wanted to investigate. It was 1.00pm and if He was having His lunch I thought we could go and have some lunch too. Right opposite the toilet I notice the room for the interviews. They were changing the lights or the posters’ disposition. I don’t know. I tried to have a look. I didn’t see Him. I tried to behave as natural as I could. I didn’t want people to realize I was just a fan, an unauthorized one. They might lose all their politeness or make some trouble. Who knows?? The first guard at Cipriani hotel was not very kind with me. I know he was only doing his job. But in that moment I wasn’t able to think like that. I could only think of my packet. Two young women were sitting on a bench near the toilet. They seemed to be waiting for something. I asked them what was happening in the front room as if I was not interested at all. “The interview with Johnny Depp.” “Really? – I said and I pretended to know more than they knew – But? I heard He’s having His lunch at the hotel restaurant?” “That’s impossible! He’s going to be interviewed. We have to interview Him?” “Ah, maybe I misunderstood?” I went to the toilet and then out. I told all to my friend. After a while someone came out under the terrace and showed to the taxi-drivers waiting there an open hand, as to say: “Five” or “At five”. My friend said: “I’ll stay here till He comes out.” We spent the time talking with a lot of people passing by there. They stayed for a while and then went away to dine or to see some movie. We stayed. I couldn’t leave her alone. She couldn’t get angrier than she already was. She kept saying: “If we go away and He comes out right then? We missed Him yesterday. We missed Him this morning. I don’t want to miss Him again. He must come out. I’ll wait for Him? I’ll catch Him? I’ll take my photos!” So we stayed. Someone told us that the day before leaving the press conference, just while we were eating our typical Venetian food, He had signed almost forty autographs. I preferred not to look into Lilly’s eyes. We watched the boats coming and going away. We made some suppositions about which boat He would take to leave. All of a sudden there was a little bustle on the road. We alerted our senses. A woman said there was Roger Smith. Such a lovely actor, she said. I didn’t know him and we were not interested in find out who he was and how lovely he was. We couldn’t leave our position. Nothing could distract our attention. People kept landing. Journalists. Starlets. Photographers. Some famous Italian personalities arrived. Some went away. From time to time I thought I really didn’t envy Him at that moment. We were waiting for Him, we were tired, but He wasn’t either having fun. All that time giving interviews, always listening to the same questions, always repeating the same answers. We hadn’t had any lunch, but I knew He hadn’t had any lunch too. It was five o’ clock and nothing happened. I ate some biscuits I had in my bag and drank some fruit juice. Lilly kept watching the wharf. When the light began to get dimmer she began to complaint about the light. The black dressed elegant tall bodyguards were coming and going. They talked with the taxi-drivers. They laughed. We spied all those signs. I was growing in nervousness. My hands began to tremble. Suddenly He came out. No wind. No flash. He just came out. We saw Him from above. My friend said: “I go down and I beat Him. Is that the way to get dressed?” She looked a little longer to Him and said: “O God! He walks like my boyfriend does!” He had that famous old Panama all the newspaper in Venice had talked about. Black pants with braces hanging on His hips. Black shirt. A large dark kefiah on His shoulders. I was surprised how delicate He seemed to be. It was as if He was trying to hide Himself. I don’t know how to explain? He had the grace of a dancer. He seemed not to move through the air, He glided and the air seemed to shift aside to let Him pass, as if they didn’t want to disturb each other. He was not very physical, at least in the way Mc had been the year before. He was the star there and He wasn’t playing the star. Or He was playing it in a very personal way. I was speechless. The year before I had been shouting all the time from that terrace Mc’s name so that he would turn to my camera. Now I couldn’t bring myself to take some photos. I wanted to do. I looked at Him into the camera and I saw Him bigger, but I felt as if I really didn’t see Him. I just saw His image through the lenses. He got near the little partition for the photographers. We had watched them; our cameras were bigger and more powerful than theirs were. For sure they were there just to see Him. Friends or relatives of someone working in the hotel or for the TV. He signed some autographs. I tried not to think of my poor letter waiting for Him at His hotel. Then He went on board. He waved. We had guessed which boat He would go on. We were in the right place. The boat turned. He sat on the back. We could see Him very well although He was rather far. He smiled, waved His hat and we looked at Him vanishing in the distance. Lilly said He waved to us. It all lasted five or ten minutes. We had been waiting for hours and now all took place so quick. Had I really seen Him? Lilly confirmed it to me. When I would be home I should have the photos to see and realize that all was true. But now? I was beside myself. Was I disap-pointed? No, I don’t think. It was all exactly as I had imagined it would be. Perhaps I hoped something more, but I knew it would all go as it went. It was six o’clock. At half past nine He would came back for the premiere. We had only a few hours to eat something, to go to the toilet and to find a convenient place by the partition. At 7.30pm we had chosen our point of observation. She prepared her camera, with zoom and flash. I had mine, simpler than hers. She had given it to me the year before, just for my first Venetian trip. I had used it then to take some photos of Mc, the same that Edelweiss had sent to the Mc’s fan site. It was the Festival closing night. We saw people coming for the awarding of prices. Loudspeakers filled the air with music. I recognized some of the songs and the voice of Tracy Chapman. Her words found their way through my brain: “Give me one reason to stay here?” I thought of J. I was tired. Lilly was tired. J was our reason to stay there. We had had to chose if we wanted to see From Hell at nine o’clock in a different cinema or Him walking on the platform outside the Palazzo del Cinema at half past nine. The showing had to be public, but this very morning we came to know it was only for invited ones. They began to enter; some of them were dressed like circus artists. Some were welcomed with hisses. No wind. No flash. Suddenly they came. He walked first holding Vanessa’s hand in His hand, as if He needed this contact to go till the end of the platform where the photographers were waiting for them aligned like a firing squad. Dressed and combed very similar: black coat, black pants and put up hair, the only difference between Him and her was that she was smiling much more than He was. Lilly looked into her zoom and said: “How beautiful He is! And how nervous and strained. I can see it by the way He clenches His jaw.” He stopped and turned to the photographers and I thought how patient and respectful for other people’s work He was. She kept smiling gently and seemed to be looking at us. I knew there were Graham and Holm and the Hugues brothers too, but I’m sorry, I had eyes only for the two of them. I tried to take some photos. I had no flash. I hoped the light would be enough and my hand steady. Then He turned to the crowd behind the partition and smiled. I think He was not at ease, He had to do what He was doing. It really seemed as if He would like to be everywhere but there, as if would prefer to be working on any set, on a mountain, in the desert, on a boat, wherever but there. This feeling I had made me understand the depth of His sense of responsibility. They entered the cinema. We went home. Disappointed? No, I knew I couldn’t have more than that. I was just a little sad. I almost felt a little guilty for I had come there to see Him as if He was a monument and not a human being. A human being shouldn’t stay under the light like this so that people can see him and take photos, as if he is such a fantastic monster or an animal, a strange thing to be shown. I can understand one loses his temper if he’s always regarded like that. Especially when he’s very young.

The next morning we left Venice and went to Trentino, a very peaceful mountain region south of Austria. We spent a day with some friends of hers. I made some strange dreams. I had no time to think about the last two days. I confused the day life with the dream. I felt I was missing something. If I was aware of what it was, I didn’t confess it to myself. I should have faith in the human kindness and sincerity. I knew that when I would be home I would begin to wait again, like on that terrace. Hoping. Despairing.

On Monday night I was home. On Thursday I went to work. When I came back I asked my mother as usual if we had got mail. She said a little absent-minded: “It’s on your bed.” I recognized at once the yellow envelope I had put into the packet with my address written on it. It was perfectly closed with a tape. I called Lilly. I opened the letter on the phone with her. My heart was beating loud, my hands trembling a little. I recognized His writing; I knew it from the February 2000 issue of French magazine Studio. It seemed as if He had used the same pen. If I look at the photos in that article I can imagine Him writing to me with a different hat. I held that piece of paper in my hands. My fingerprints were on it, confused with His. I thought once again: “I couldn’t get closer to Him?” I read the letter to Lilly without understanding anything, so excited I was. I owed it her for all we had got through together. Once we had been almost near to quarrel. I called Edelweiss too and one or two other friends. No more. Not everyone is so open minded to accept all your weaknesses. I felt I would like to tell it to the whole world and at the same time I wanted to keep it for me as a secret, as a precious thing, as the most precious gift I could have from Him. I realized how good the world could be. There was a chain of kind people under that letter. And He? He didn’t know I would tell the whole story. I didn’t know myself. I have been wondering long if I had to do it or not. I just told what I saw with my eyes and my heart. His answer was something out of the lights of the show, almost private, it touched me very much, for in that very tiring and busy days He was so kind to find a while for me. He had written only a few words, but every word was saying to me: “I read your letter.” He paid attention to me, He treated me respectfully, He treated me as a human being. Who am I? Just a little drop in the ocean of His admirers, the faint echo of a step following Him on His “very strange road”? Thank You.

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