Encounter 1 -
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!