Wednesday, June 11, 2008

and now for something completely different....


I MET JOHNNY DEPP!!!!

WARNING: the geeky 80s fangirl i used to be has arisen from the ancient ashes of my youth... LIKE A PHOENIX... so get out while you can before you're covered in hormones and braces and little debbies...

i don't even know where to start....

i mean do i start with the day i met him twenty years ago? when i was 16 in 1988... the whole cast of 21 jump street was doing a meet and greet in the pedway near marshall fields and a zillion fans queued up for hours, zig zagging underground, only to find that we couldn't take pictures or really talk to them... just shuffle by, wave and pick up a pre-signed 8x10 glossy on our way out....

or did this really start on my birthday? when the thin man and i auditioned as dance extras for his new film public enemies... i didn't get called back as an extra, but the thin man did. he's in a few scenes at union station and in a handful of scenes at the aragon ballroom. so, if he doesn't end up on the cutting room floor, you'll see him crossing johnny depp's path a few times, on the big screen, next year!

or maybe this all started when i saw his haunting performance in sweeney todd... it was that performance that nudged me to look for that forgotten 8x10 glossy in an old wooden trunk and i actually found it and my chandler's from '89 (my senior year). inside, on the one year anniversary of the day we met i wrote down "me & jd - one year ago today" with heart doodles and a cut out pic of him from teen beat or something.... (along with obligatory concert stickers from killing joke and nitzer ebb - in an effort to keep my "alternative" card).

something about that performance really jolted me into remembering that i too am a creative person. that i was a creative person before i was a parent and that like him, if i just kept at it, could continue to be a creative person and STILL be a parent... it was an epiphany that i'd had before, but his performance was really luminous and i had this strange urge to thank him for such great entertainment and for the epiphany... so, i wanted to offer him my best in gratitude for offering his best. i found a postcard of an illustration i had done, i made a lovely dress for his daughter lily and i wrote him a thank you letter on the back of a photocopy i'd made of the old 8x10 glossy. if i could have found an extra copy of the two poetry magazines i was published in i would have included those too...

( the dress on the far left is the one i made for lily depp... the one on the right is the paloma's)

i don't know why i feel i have to disclose this... but, honestly, i'm one of those fairweather fans of his... i haven't seen every film or interview... i don't plan on it. i don't know why i was so determined... so driven to finish what i started... all i really ever wanted was to get this little thank you package to him. i really didn't want/set out to meet him. i was really hoping that the thin man would find a way to get it to him. but, after three full days of shooting, the thin man came home defeated and the task fell to me... i dunno... suffice to say, something was in the works...

we found out that the cast and crew would be filming in front of frontera grill on june 9th - johnny depp's birthday - but not when. so i took a stab at it and figured on making it there around 11 am. a girlfriend of mine immediately agreed to look after the paloma and the porkchop as long as she had to so that i could get my little care pkg to him. i looked at the weather report and it was predicting rain from 12-5. i dressed apprpriately and took along a really good book, my wallet, keys, my camera and an umbrella and headed off.

i think i must have said a trillion hail marys from the time i left the house until the time i arrived... honestly, i didn't stop praying... (and apologizing... admitting guilt for everything... lapsed catholic that i am...)

i got there as planned and extras and crew were already hard at work blocking shots. i overheard a crew member tell some other random onlooker that johnny was not on set and that they had started working at 6 am. so, we were watching their doubles. and ten minutes or so later, a black suv rolled into the set and out stepped marion cotillard. another five mintues later, a second black suv rolled into the set and there he was... ok, he was half a block away, but i could see that johnny depp had arrived on set. i looked up at the sky which did look threatening... and continued to pray in my head...

it was around this time when they asked us to move from the corner we were on to the corner across the street. then, one of the many vintage cars started to back up towards us... and i spied marion cotillard in the passenger side (the side closest to me) and realized that johnny was in the drivers seat (the OTHER street corner)! as soon as the take was done, i ran over to the other corner and he was literally 50 ft away from me for maybe ten takes.... at one point, i along with other rabid fangirls (they were like 16 years old, mind you) started to yell "happy birthday, johnny!" before the take and he looked at us and smiled and waved... and i just about lactated... he was THAT dreeeeeeeeeeeeamy.... :)

(shaky fan + no flash allowed + long shutter delay = blurry photo)

ok, so HOURS later... around 2 pm, i had lunch with the thin man who also couldn't resist the magic yumminess that is johnny depp... around 3:30 or so, the clouds finally cracked and it began to rain buckets. my heart sank. i shared my umbrella with a young woman named lucy and her little 6 yo, lily. lucy's mom, della, was also there with lucy's 2 yo, jack. mind you, johnny depp has two children named lily and jack as well... and no, she did not name them to mimic johnny.... cosmic co-inky-dink, no?

we all hit it off quite famously, bonding in our common mom of twohood, fangirl geekiness, chicagoness and cat loverness.... half an hour or so later, the rain stopped for the whole day.... :) THANK YOU, JESUS (BUDDHA, YAHWEH, ALLAH, ELVIS)!

finally around 8pm or so, the final shot of the day was wrapping up. earlier, lucy had actually driven the kids home, and gotten her good camera but she wasn't back yet. before she left she told me that she had found the trailers behind her office in a parking lot. she told me the exact corner where they were and i told her mom that i would meet them there. i ran over there as soon as the last take was done.

lucy met me at the trailer and ten minutes later or so, johnny's suv drove into the parking lot. he rolled down his window and said hi and waved. and i frantically waved my pkg at him yelling "IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!"

YES. i am THAT freakishly uncool.

he nods and gives me the international "gimmeaminute" sign - index finger up, other fingers folded.... then, the suv parks and he gets out and again i jump around yelling "IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!IHAVEAPRESENTFORYOU!"...

omg. SOMEONE put me out of my misery... and again, he nods and gives me the international "gimmeaminute" sign.

after he walks into his trailer, his "right arm", otherwise known as "jerry" comes out and says, "johnny's too tired today. he won't be coming out." to which i promptly responded, "THAT'SOK.CANYOUGIVEHIMMYPRESENT?" and he looks at me like i'm a total raving idiot/lunatic and says calmly, "yes. of course, i can give it to him." in the tone of, "don't you KNOW who i am lowly fangirl?" i should have having read this great recap of another fangirl meet and greet with johnny.

so, he takes my pkg and i watch him get into johnny's trailer with it and leave without it. THE EAGLE HAD LANDED...

lucy and della (who ran to meet us) and i kinda look at each other and are not sure what to do... but i told them about what i'd read and how this was very similar to what happened to the girl at the other meet and greet and we decide to stick around...

another fangirl came up to me and sadly said that she had to go home. she asked if i could give johnny a gift that she had made - a mix cd and a letter. i told her i'd do my best... i was still racing the clock - i had to make a 9:45pm train. i gave it to a really friendly security guard who gave it to a crew member who came to me and told me he gave it to johnny. so, anonymous fangirl, johnny has your gift. :)

lucy then, generously offers to drive me home too so i don't have to hurry to catch the train home.... turns out she lives in a south suburb and my neighborhood is on her way home. is this NOT the day of miracles or what? THANK YOU UNIVERSE!

another hour later, strangely enough, jerry comes back out and kinda scopes us out for a bit and then goes back into the trailer. at this point, there's about 20 of us or so... and then, minutes later, in a very bawdy and loud (british accented?) voice, jerry says, "ok! everybody get in line! against the fence! johnny will only sign one thing per person! no flash photography! if he signs more then one thing or a flash goes off, we're turning around and leaving!"

luckily, della, lucy and i were already leaning on the fence, 'cause then, everyone starts to jockey for positions inbetween us. we somehow managed to squeeze everyone else around us so that we could stick together.... and then, he came out of his trailer and started to walk towards us...

(again no flash + long shutter delay + shaky fan = blurry photo)

i tore an end paper out of my book (sorry stephanie!) and handed it and the book to della who ripped the page in half and gave it to me... della was second or third in line. johnny greeted her warmly and genuinely and signed her little sheet. then lucy, who was also greeted well and he shook her hands, which she said was all she really wanted and then, finally, he got to me.

my brain was mush after standing for 10+ hours waiting for him. i couldn't think, couldn't breathe, i wondered if my breath stank... if i stank... then, he said "hi" and shook my hand with both of his hands. and i said "i made the dress for your daughter". and he said "what?" and i say "i made a dress for you... the dress for your daughter, did you get it?" and he quickly recovers and says "yes, the dress! yes, it's in my trailer. thank you. that was really sweet." he signs my little scrap of paper and says "thanks" again. and as i watch him go by, he actually turns to me again and takes a pause and says something like, "it was really sweet, God bless you." and i realize then, that he may have actually read my letter too and maybe then, he felt as i did that we had found commonality in parenthood and creativity or something.... i dunno...

and then, after meeting and greeting the rest of the crowd with a wave and a smile he got into the suv and was gone. lucy, della and i were stunned. lucy actually got the whole thing on video and if i can figure out how to open an .IFO file i'll post it...

i've so many other important and parentish topics to post about but, i just wanted to finish this... i finally said what i had to say to johnny depp. and i wanted to share that with you. i wanted to let you know that although i feel like a failure in other parts of my life, i actually allowed myself to dream up something totally impulsive and care-free and wild... and i finished it. i wanted to embrace that part of me that actually thinks and obsesses over other things besides loving and caring for my children and my husband and the cats and the house and our cray-zee, marathonic, roller coastering life. honestly, i wanted to stop living vicariously and actually BE like so many of you who live in the present - so vividly, courageously and honestly - and who i deeply and truly admire and adore... :)

UPDATE 6/30:

i finally got the dvd of my meeting with johnny transferred to an avi file! and apparently, johnny depp makes me hallucinate...

after viewing the video finally, i found that it was not quite how i remembered it... not in a bad way - except that it was much shorter than it felt and that it probably didn't have nearly as much meaning as i had hoped (to him, not me)...

anyhoo... at the 1:21 mark, you will hear me say, "did you get my gift?".

(you won't see me because my friend lucy was shall we say a little "distracted". ;P)

14 comments:

bokumbop said...

omigosh. I love this post. I'm right there with you on how momentous this was - I would also be reduced to a dithering dorky fangirl in Johnny Depp's presence, a huge teen crush for me and he still is all that and a bag of chips (don't tell J). I almost want to run over to your house, sit on the floor and have you tell me every-single-detail slowly and three times! **how do you write out an ear-piercing shreik?**

You know that your dress designs are amazing, right?

Osh said...

I found your blog linked on another site, and I have to share with you our Johnny moments...we had several in Wisconsin, and it was the last one that reduced me to a pile of idiot.
http://thehousethatoshbuilt.blogspot.com/2008/05/just-little-though-because-emotions-of.html

awesome story!

mamazilla said...

bokumbop - hey come right on ovah! :) i'm happy to relive the moments again and again and again... i finally got some sleep last night... everytime i closed my eyes, i kept seeing his face!!! eek!!!

osh - thanks for visiting my blog! as soon as i can i'll run over and read about your experiences. can't wait!!!! and thanks for rose for posting about my posting on johnnydeppreads.com.

readers from johnnydeppreads.com - hi everyone!!! :) thanks for stopping by! i hope to have the video up soon!

bokumbop said...

I keep rereading this ... it didn't even happen to me but it's still like the most exciting thing ever! Yes, I need to get a life.

Hope you guys get to go to a premiere or something!

mamazilla said...

bokumbop - you and me both, sistah! it happenned to me and i still can't believe it... i can't wait to see the video again... i really hope lucy sends it to me... if/when i get it you should come over!!! we'll watch it again and again and again!!!! we'll tell j and the thin man that we just had a really long playdate... :)

Rose said...

Hi, mamazilla-

This is Rose from johnnydeppreads.
I knew the other folks at jdr would like your blog about your face-to-face with Johnny just as much as I did!

I could really identify with your last paragraph, and I think Johnny has inspired many people to not only find what makes their heart sing, but to actually take that leap of faith and DO IT!

Thanks again for writing so vividly about your experience.

(And the dress you made for LilyRose is SWEET!)

Gotta run---I'm creating something in the kitchen today!
Rose

endoftheroad55 said...

Thank you so much for this. I so so so know what you mean about the being creative thing, the need to be impulsive just for oneself now and again despite the morrass of family and other real life.

He's the nobler self we would so much like to be.

mamazilla said...

rose - thanks again for posting a link to my blog @ johnnydeppreads.com. everyone there has been very welcoming too. so nice to find kindred spirits! :)

endoftheroad55 - thanks for visiting and reading my post!

and thanks to gilbert's girl for posting a link to my blog on johnnydepp-zone.com!

hello and thanks for visiting and reading to all johnny depp zone readers!

shakenbsis said...

Mamazilla,
Thansk you sooo much for sharing your story. That was really beautiful (choked me up a little)
I found your link over at JDR, visit my blog if you like, I have a story or two about Johnny too.

Thanks agian for sharing, you really touched my heart!

shakenbsis said...

Your video was worth the wait! ;)

MJ Tam said...

Whatever. I'm Jealous...that's all I have to say! LOL...kidding!

Oh...and the dresses are so pretty!

bokumbop said...

Ok, I watched the video - with stupid fawning teen mouth agape goofy smile through the whole thing. He's just too lovely.

What a great momento.

Amy M. said...

This was the best post! You totally made my day. I was so giddy for you the entire time I was reading...
:)

mae said...

this is AWESOME. i am catching up on my blog reading... it's been some time since i've read yours. (while i love your blog, i hope you're spending just as much time writing toward your book, heehee). also, i just signed up for the filipina moms blog update thingie! i had forgotten about that blog.
xo,
mae (fellow hagedorn aca alumnus)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails