Film and TV

Texas Audience Members Were Drunk on Johnny Depp's Rum Diary

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.

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James Wallace
Contact: James Wallace