Meeting JOHNNY DEPP (Part I) ~ Pre-story
Many of my family and friends over the years have said to me, “I hope one day you will meet Johnny Depp”, or “One day you will meet Johnny Depp, you’ll see”, or “Johnny Depp needs to meet you”, (that one always got me. He should meet me?). The endless positive support I did receive has been astounding to say the least. What started off as a Halloween costume has become in fact a part of a “lifestyle” where opportune moments were presented to me to get into costume and create ambience for an event, charity or fundraiser. Of course, every impersonator and cosplayer would love to meet the celebrity of their chosen inspiration, but I knew, living in Canada, that was not going to be an easy feat. I think my chances of winning a lottery was far greater.
I was always in awe and admiration when I found out (through social media) that friends of mine were given that opportune moment to meet JD at a premiere or set location. Premieres never happen in Canada, so I struck that off my list of chances which only left set locations, which was also a drop in the bucket. Even though British Columbia’s film industry is booming, (hence the name ‘Hollywood North’), receiving some pretty big titles, we are still classified as small fry compared to our US neighbours and far away European friends. Deep down I was not going to give up, but I wasn’t counting my chickens either.
Then an incredible chance landed on our front door, (well at least our daughter’s, I was a still 6 hour travel time away from that front door). POTC 5 re-shoot was coming to Vancouver March of 2016. Of course, even that opportunity can be a hit or miss and a true long shot, but not giving it a try and sitting at home saying “what if?” doesn’t create cherished moments. The chosen weekend was set in stone. With costumes packed, my husband and I left for port, (I just had to write that in) waiting to embark our 90 minute ferry ride. We sailed across the pond to Vancouver and met up with our daughter.
So here is the story in short:
Friday night: We drove to the studio (in regular clothes) to scout the area for our days’ adventure the very next morning. Unbeknownst to us at the time, (after we left for home), we found out Mr. Depp ‘was’ filming that Friday night. Strike one! Saturday: We got into our pirate garb, and headed back to the studio. Two hours in, a kind crew member told us Johnny Depp was not scheduled to be on set that day. Somewhat disappointed, we knew the odds were stacked against us. Strike two! He did, however, suggest to come back tomorrow, and winked. We left the studio and decided to have some fun in Vancouver proper instead but not without taking a photo of ‘Salazar’s mast’ gracing the Vancouver’s skyline. If there is anything I enjoy most, is to spend time with the family being idiots. We topped the day at a celebrity themed restaurant, (fitting) and had a drink called the “Kraken”. A handful of customers sitting at neighbouring tables, had bets on me whether I was Johnny Depp’s stand in or not, lol. It was a great way to end a day of adventure. Sunday: Morning hit. Victoria and I were up at 4am, and sat in my daughter’s bathroom discussing whether this was a good idea or not. With our daughter in the film industry and having worked so hard, along with such long hours, to get to where she is today, to allow a possible two minute (if at all) ‘hello’ and hopefully a photo, as a mom, it wasn’t worth putting our daughter’s career in a state of potential ‘limbo’. Both of us were gambling, and the biggest gamble was whether the crew in the industry would see the humour in us dressing as POTC pirate characters arriving on set. Neither of us knew what the reception would be like, and even though my daughter was determined to give me my day of possibility to meet a celebrity I have admired for years, as a mom I declined. My daughter, (and for that matter son in-law) came first. So I packed our pirate garb back in the suitcase, went back to bed for a couple of more hours waking up to a wonderful breakfast with the family.
Our daughter and I were not totally done with the idea of at least trying one more time to assert a mom daughter JD adventure. At breakfast we decided we would aim for the premiere of POTC 5 (presumably) held at Disneyland and looked forward to the planning.
A year forward. POTC 5 was released, and to our disappointment, was NOT premiering at California’s Disneyland. Strike three! We didn’t have the means to travel over seas to where it was being held, so our plans went down the drain. I guess it was just not meant to be. It was not, by any means the end of the world. Johnny Depp’s insights to his characters has given most of us Jack ‘cosplayers/impersonators’ the joy and pleasure to be a part of the character or character’s we have decided to mirror. I can honestly say my journey has been incredibly memorable with awe and wonderment. I have met so many talented and beautiful people and children on the way, let alone creating a project with the entire family. No one can take those memories away from me… and I can only thank Mr. Depp for this, his incredible talent and his unbelievable ‘know how’ in being an acknowledged chameleon.
Three months later, after the release of POTC 5, word got out that “Richard Says Goodbye” Starring Johnny Depp was being filmed in Vancouver. I thought of crossing the pond again, but without any knowledge of his locations, or if we could even get close, would most likely turn into yet another defeated situation ~ in essence, strike four. One evening, on a whim, our daughter found out one of the locations he was filming at, (a near by restaurant 2 blocks from her home) and had a hand at seeing if she could meet him. The crowd of fans was so thick, after an hour she gave up and went home for she had to get up at 4am to be on set herself. With this informatin, uncertainty began to brew again and I decided to stay on the island, but ready for any break through.
That breakthrough came a couple of weeks later. It was brought to my attention that “Richard Says Goodbye” was heading to the island on August 22, 2017 on location at Royal Roads University, (Hatley Castle). Emotions of excitement and hesitancy took hold. I had 3 days to think it over whether to go on set or not. It was probably my last chance it being in my own backyard, something I thought would never come to fruition. My daughter sent me a text that very morning and said I would be an idiot if I considered otherwise. My husband said, “Think of the next morning, when you are sitting at the office, staring at your computer and the words ‘what if’ starts to haunt you”. 2 hours later, in Jack attire, I was off.
(To be continued ~ part II)