This is the story of Carol Darlin’ meeting Johnny at the Pirates III camp at Guadalupe Dunes October 19th, 2006.
“(…)I wanted to share with you an encounter my daughter, her best friend and I had with Johnny Depp at Guadalupe Dunes last Thursday night! We drove four hours from our home after seeing pictures that DB had posted of the base camp. Even though we knew it was a risk of being disappointed.
Anyway, we arrived about 4:30. There were about four cars with some moms and kids there, and a pirate bus with some pirate type people. Maybe about 15 people in all. No one really knew anything. So, we just waited. After a while, the busses and vans started to leave the base camp. There were two really nice security guards, who weren’t allowed to tell us anything, but after a while, it was clear that Johnny was indeed there. (By the way, earlier, a KEYT 3 new guy came and talked to the kids. They are actually on the news video that someone posted earlier on the Zone.)
Just before dark, a bus suddenly stopped and out jumped Mr. Gibbs, Pintel and Regatti and the Little Person, enthusiastically smiling and all the kids got their autographs. Mr. Gibbs said “Keep to the Code,” and Pintel said, “Ello Poppet” for the kids.
The guards told us that Johnny, depending on how tired he is, may just roll down the window and wave, which would have been just great. So, we had our cameras ready. Finally, a black SUV came to the entrance and stopped at the highway patrol car for a moment, then rolled forward towards us.
When we saw it stop in front of us and the doors opened, we could barely contain ourselves. But, we stayed quiet and waited. And then, there he was. Johnny Depp was standing four feet in front of us, smiling, looking beautiful, wearing his old leather jacket and a black beanie, with his pirate beards and some eyeliner still on. What a thrill!
My daughter’s friend was crying uncontrollably, and my daughter had a look of pure disbelief on her face. When we got our turn, Johnny took so much time with each of the girls, asking them their names and how to spell them, and wrote them each a nice long sentence and autograph. Then, he gave them each a big bear hug. We took a picture with the two girls together with him. I asked him if Mom could have a hug, too. He said, of course, and I got a great big hug from Johnny Depp. He is very affectionate and a great hugger. Gawsh!
When he went to hug the crying girl again, I said, jokingly, “You have to hug the other one again, too, or they’ll fight all the way home.” He laughed and hugged the other one, too. And for the twenty minutes that followed, every time he hugged one, he was careful to hug the other one. How sweet for him to remember that. And they did get at least eight or nine hugs that night. Amazing.
We took a lot of pictures, and when he was done with everyone’s autographs, I realized I should ask him for one myself. So, I asked him if he would sign my POTC2 soundtrack CD, which he did, and asked if my daughter could take a picture of ME with him, and he said, “Of course, Darlin’!” Oh, love that voice. So, I got to stand next to him with our arms around each other. All I could think was, “This is Johnny Depp… I mean, Johnny Depp, with is arm around ME!”
My daughter’s friend asked him if he would say a pirate line, and he went totally into character, movements and all, “This is the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow, Savvy?” And on the “Captain Jack Sparrow, Savvy,” he leaned in next to her ear and whispered it as Jack Sparrow would do. Captain Jack It was COOL.
He even said hello to my husband on the cell phone. My husband is an original Johnny Depp fan and told Johnny he was going to be great as Lin in Shantaram, since he had read the book and loved it. Johnny said, “I hope so. I’ll do my best.” He was so nice and smiling and genuinely seemed appreciative.
He showed us his gold teeth. The thing I noticed most of all was his calmness, never rushed, and truly caring, especially with the kids. There was a little baby there, and he just lit up looking at that baby. We have a picture of that. I always thought that if I ever met Johnny Depp, I’d be dumbstruck and wouldn’t be able to say a word, but it wasn’t like that at all. He is so nice and easygoing and easy to talk to.
When it was time to go, he hugged my girls one more time, remembered their names and said Take care to each, shaking their hands, then went out of his way to reach over to shake my hand, too! It was truly amazing. Then, they were gone. Wow. We couldn’t believe it really happened. I was so flustered, I got lost for an hour in the little town of Guadalupe! Ha ha. Anyway, here are some pictures. I hope you enjoy. Sorry this was so long!”
(see all pics here in the galleries/appearances section)
Later, Carol Darlin’ gave another detailed report:
Oh, I’d love to. You are really egging me on! What I remember is the black vehicle FINALLY coming to the gate. The guard saying, “That’s Buck,” which by then we knew was Johnny’s driver (I think). We all stood in our line that we had made earlier in the sand and pretty much froze.
The black vehicle stopped in front of the highway patrolman, the one you saw a picture of at the gate, and the driver seemed to be speaking with him for a moment. We all got our cameras ready in case he was to roll down the window and wave. We knew at this point that he was really there because the guard said so. I think some of us were saying, “Is that Johnny? Is that Johnny?” And he said yeah.
We stayed totally quiet because we had been warned earlier and didn’t want to scare him away. So, we waited…. and then the car started to roll forward. That is when my daughter’s best friend started to sob between “Oh, my God”s Then, after just the short distance to where we were, it stopped. I believe all the doors opened about the same time. I didn’t see him right away, because the people directly in front of him were already blocking him from us. He got out on our side from the back seat. I think the older guy, who I think was Buck, said to us, “Well, go on and say hi,” because we weren’t moving from our spots. So, we all gravitated around him all at once, no frenzy, except for mutterings of disbelief.
The first thing I saw was his face through a couple of people, although we were only about five feet away by now. He stood up. He was smiling. I saw his beanie first, then, his beautiful face. I saw the pirate beard and the eyeliner. I noticed right away no glasses, and just stared at those EYES. My girls were repeating the mantra, “It’s Johnny Depp. It’s Johnny Depp. It’s Johnny Depp.” He began signing autographs for the first kids in front of us. I remember waiting to hear the VOICE. And it was “unmistakable”. I’d know that voice anywhere.
I’d say at that point everybody was in a circle .. remember, it’s only about 15 people total, and the pirates stayed over by their bus, so less than that…. and just smiling and watching and waiting their turn. Then, it was our turn. I’m sure I am repeating, but you asked for the whole story, So… Johnny said first to my daughter, who was just dreamy eyed and uncontrollably grinning, “What’s your name?” putting his hand no her shoulder. She told him, “Stephanie” and he said, very sweetly, “Is that with an F or a PH?” She said “PH.” He printed her name out very neatly, then wrote, “All My Best Always,” then, the signature JDepp, it looks like. Then she received her first hug. Then, my daughter’s girlfriend, Heather, who was crying, was next. He asked her her name, also putting his hand on her shoulder, and between sobs, said, “Heather.” “H-E-A-T-H-E-R?” said Johnny. She said yeah. He wrote her name as well, then said, “All good to you always, JDEPP.” Then, she got a hug. I asked to take their picture, one on each side. He put his arms around them, smiled, I took the picture. It is a beautiful picture. I believe the picture where he is looking straight ahead is that one that we cropped. Then, I asked him if Mom could have a hug too, and he said “Oh, of course.” And I got a bear hug. OooooH.
I would say from there, he was pretty much going to each child the same way. People were talking to him. We just hung around him while he did all of that. Oh, you just made me remember something. A man asked him, “Are you really going to have a gypsy wedding?” And he said, “Oh, yeah, I’m going to gather up some of my gypsy buddies.” My daughter heard that one. I stood right by and took some pictures for the girl with the baby, her personal one with her and Johnny and the baby, which I didn’t post, and the other one which you’ve seen. Another woman’s camera died, so I took some pictures for them as well. I just remember Johnny looking straight at me for several pictures. It was dark, so I couldn’t see a thing through the screen part of the camera. So, I just aimed straight as I could and watched his face while he stood and smiled.
At one point, one of his guys said, “Okay, we need to go see the pirates. The whole group moved in a little clump right along with him, and watched him interacting with them. They had several things they wanted him to do. Sign their bus, Take their necklace, Hold up some kind of sign while they took a picture of him! I remember he checked out their bus and really looked it over, admiring the artwork on it, and seemed to be complimenting it. Oh, then, the highway patrolman, bless his heart, came over, and asked if he could get a picture with Johnny. The oriental woman with Johnny took the picture for him. I also took a picture that was slightly blurred at the same time, which I’ll post later when my daughter comes home. So, I think I have two more to post. They just weren’t as crisp, but I still really like them.
After that was when I decided to get my own autograph and my picture taken by my daughter, which I told you about. Except for one more detail I just remembered. I was so tickled, I guess I was making faces or something. My daughter says he turned and looked at me and smiled real big. Yeah, I was losing it. She screwed up once and didn’t get it right, and he said to her, “It’s okay, Darlin’,” or something of that nature, you know, reassuring her it’s okay, don’t panic! Then, she took the picture.
After that, he was done with autographs, and people were just asking him questions. That is when he talked to my husband. The cool thing about that was that I could not get my husband to hear me (stupid cell phone) It was all cutting out, so I finally just handed it to Johnny and asked him if he would mind saying hello to my husband. He said, “Oh, sure, ” just as nice as he could be, took the phone and said, “Who am I speaking with?” I found out later that the first voice my husband heard was Johnny’s. He didn’t even expect it! But, he knew right away who it was… Unmistakable… and said “Johnny?” I already told you about that, though.
That was also the time when he gave us the Jack Sparrow line. And everyone was just sort of standing around him, not crowded at all. He was still hugging periodically. I believe some of the people may have even left at that point. (Can you believe that?) I remember thinking, Gosh, ask him something. He’s standing right here in front of you. So, I said, “Can we see your teeth?” What a dork! But, the kids got excited about that, and he said, “Oh, my teeth? Are they still there?” And grinned widely pointing at his gold teeth. Another woman asked him how long he’d had them. He said, “Oh, a couple of years now.”
Now, I’m drawing a blank. The girls are going to try and think of more little things we might have missed. Oh, I did notice his boots. I remember looking at the boots, those famous old boots he always wears, and thinking, “It’s the Boots! Cool.” I love how he loves his old clothes. And I love that old leather jacket. I noticed he was wearing a long sleeve white t-shirt underneath, becuase I could see the cuffs under the jacket. Wondered if it was the same shirt he had on at Redondo Beach on the last day.
I noticed he had two sharpies in his back pocket. Yes, I looked at his “back pocket.” Couldn’t help it. Pretty soon after that, the lady said, “We need to let him go now.” I know there were other people around still, but I feel like the three of us were right there by him getting into the car. Because the last ones he hugged were my two girls, and remembered their names again, “Take Care, Stephanie,” and shook her hand. And “Take Care, Heather,” and shook her hand. That is when he reached around towards me and squeezed my hand, which I already told you about that. He got back into the back seat, and said, a little louder, “Sorry it took so long!” I think people were yelling “Bye, Johnny!”
I know he was talking with a lot of other people in between, but I don’t remember anything else that was said. I’ll write again after I talk to the girls. I am sure they will come up with more!
Oh, One more memory. He had his number 3 tattoo on his hand smudged over with charcoal looking makeup. The girls noticed that. I didn’t see it. You can see it in one of the pics, though. Also, they noticed he was wearing a Pirate ring!
Oh, no media people at all. Like I said, a Santa Barbara news guy came earlier (DB posted that report), but the guard told him we had no chance of seeing anything if he was there. He understood and took off after that.
His guys weren’t really hovering at all. They seemed pretty relaxed. I think because it was such a small group. The just stood back. The two cinema security guards were all smiles.
I will definitely post at least two more pictures tonight, but have to wait for my daughter.