May 2, 2017


Does Johnny Depp Get His Lines Through an Earpiece On Set?

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

You can't be Johnny Depp–famous and hope for a fight with your ex-managers (or a divorce marked by abuse allegations) to be quiet. But we'd be surprised if Captain Jack Sparrow knew it'd go this far.

Depp's January lawsuit against The Management Group, home to ex-managers Joel and Robert Mandel, says the company led him to $40 million in debt by failing to pay taxes, making unapproved loans and more. TMG's countersuit came full of allegations of its own, most notably the statement that the 53-year-old's spending habits "often knowingly" exceeded $2 million per month—including $30,000 in wine—"which he simply could not afford." The three-time Oscar nominee reportedly spent more than $3 million to shoot Hunter Thompson's ashes out of a custom-made cannon, and is said to own 14 homes, 45 high-end vehicles and 12 storage facilities worth of Hollywood-abilia.

In an amended complaint on Monday, TMG says Depp's filing is "replete with demonstrably false and fraudulent allegations." They add as evidence the new accusation that the Lone Ranger actor spent six-figure sums to keep on annual retainer a personal on-set sound engineer who would feed Depp lines "so that he no longer had to memorize [them]," writes attorney Michael Kump.

Vulture notes that this claim mirrors a nine-year-old comment Kirsten Dunst made to one of their reporters: 

"Johnny Depp has music playing in his ear when he acts. He has an earbud. That's why he's so great. ... I don't know if he does it on every project, but I know he does." Asked for her source, she answered, "I'm in the biz. Word gets around."

In 2012, sound mixer Richard Lightstone said Depp took up the earpiece idea after making Don Juan DeMarco, where he saw Marlon Brando using an earpiece. Lightstone said Brando used it "for prompts on when to pick up a prop and other action, rarely for line cues." 

Adam Waldman, an attorney for Depp, responded on Monday by saying "the defendants decided their only defense is psychobabble. This is how guilty people respond when confronted with the detailed results of a 9 month legal and forensic investigation conducted by 4 firms."

Stay tuned for more—TMG also says it will bring to trial evidence that an "army of attorneys" has smoothed over a number of sticky legal situations for Depp and dealt out multiple "hush money settlements." They also decry the Fantastic Beasts star's "pattern of habitual lies and deception designed to avoid responsibility for his actions" and speculate that he "may suffer from a compulsive spending disorder, which will be proven in this action through a mental examination of Depp ... and expert testimony."

If you're ready to detox from all the seriousness for now: