Johnny Depp -- yes, the Johnny Depp -- was in Austin over the weekend for the Austin Film Festival, where the actor was honored with the first-ever "Extraordinary Contribution To Film -- Acting Award." Depp's latest film, The Rum Diary -- a screen adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's long lost semi-autobiographical novel -- also debuted during the festival at the gorgeous Paramount Theatre (so gorgeous, in fact, that Depp kept referring to it as a "church").
The actor, along with director Bruce Robinson (who was yanked out of retirement to helm The Rum Diary) and moderator Elvis Mitchell, was met with roaring applause upon taking the stage for the film's post-show Q&A. No offense to Bruce or Elvis, as I'm sure there were a few fans of How to Get Ahead in Advertising and The Treatment in the audience (myself included), but I would put money on most of the applause being for Captain Jack "Cry-Baby" Scissorhands himself.
Noting the roaring welcome and Southern hospitality shown to Mr. Depp by Austinites, I'm only talking about inside the theater here ... the media and fan frenzy for the mega-movie star outside the theater was surely a sight to be seen. For a historical venue more than 100 years old that has hosted its fare share of legendary guests from presidents to pop stars and everyone in between, the massive crowd that flocked with all kinds of posters, props and signs in tow made sure that this was going to be a Hollywood-esque night to remember -- with Austin flavoring of course.
Meanwhile, back inside for the Q&A, Depp spoke of why Robinson was the right man for the job, what it was like to once again play his closest of friends -- the late Gonzo journalist he already iconically portrayed in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- and why The Rum Diary took such a long journey to reach the screen.
Then the inevitable time came where Depp fielded all sorts of questions from the audience, from "Would you play God in my movie?" and more than a few "I love you! Will you marry me?" The first question of which he literally knelt down face-to-face with the young female inquirer and starred directly into her eyes the entire time he answered her question. She is now a statue permanently on display at The Paramount Theatre.
Oh, and did I mention that Robinson was clearly (and belligerently) drunk out of his mind (he blamed Johnny), providing all kinds of intoxicated ridiculousness and hilariousness? Things got weird and awesome. When your film is called The Rum Diary and you premiere it in Austin, it's all too fitting!
Check out the Q&A after the jump. And as an added bonus, check out the surprise pre-show introduction that Depp and screenwriter Caroline Thompson gave before the 35mm print screening of Edward Scissorhands!
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