I’ve always* found Johnny Depp to be a tad bit pretentious (you’re from Kentucky, please stop pretending you’re European — see also Madonna), but since I love his films and his ability to play a wide array of characters (or at least four variations on Captain Jack Sparrow, as it were), I don’t pay his real-life persona much mind. Unfortunately, living in blissful ignorance about celebrities has gotten much harder in the digital age, and damn near impossible in the wake of all the hubbub surrounding Roman Polanski.
Thinking too hard about all the actors, writers, directors and producers who have come out in support of Polanski almost prompts me to never watch a movie again. I mean, Terry Gilliam? Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón? Ugh. And, now, with Depp saying “Roman Polanski is not a predator” because he’s 75 and has “two beautiful kids” and isn’t “out on the street doing horrible, horrible things,” a little bit more of my movie-loving soul has died. Look, I know Depp has worked with Polanski. I’m sure they hang out and have a grand old time. But he really needed to drink a giant cup of STFU when the reporter asked him that question.
To suggest that a 75-year-old man can’t be a sexual predator is so mind-boggling. I wasn’t aware that there’s an age cap on perversity and crime. Ditto for the “out on the street” assertion. Roman Polanski didn’t rape a 13-year-old “out on the street.” Because he’s privileged and famous, with endless resources at his disposal, he did it in a house, behind closed doors. And then he got off scot-free. For all the people crying and whining about how he’s suffered enough because he spent 30 years away from American soil to avoid prosecution…it’s not like he was locked up in a garrett with no running water. He was making movies, making a shit ton more money than most people will see in their lives. He was not being punished for his crimes simply by the virtue of living in France. I don’t care if there was hinkiness at the trial and people scheming against Polanski behind the scenes, the fact remains that he raped a girl, pled guilty, and then didn’t do his time.
And like so many in the blogosphere, I have to wonder how Depp and other parents of young daughters who have come out in support of Polanski would feel if somebody had drugged and assaulted their child. Would it be so easy to dismiss the attacker as a harmless old man who needs to be left alone to make his art? Would 30 years really erase his deeds?
Maybe it’s fitting that Depp’s next big role is as the Mad Hatter, because it certainly feels like he’s living in Wonderland.
*Okay, I didn’t think he was pretentious on 21 Jump Street.