Johnny Depp’s ongoing defamation case against Amber Heard has been a focal point in Hollywood discourse over the last couple of years. He lost the initial libel battle against his ex-wife in November 2020 but is still pursuing action. Heard’s abuse accusations against the star railroaded his career, so much so that he was dropped from the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts. Following his ex-wife first claiming domestic abuse from the star, Depp called the charges a “choreographed hoax,” leading to the case he still finds himself in. It has drawn a line through the film industry, with many stars choosing a side either for or against the fallen icon. One of his Pirates of the Caribbean co-stars is the latest to clear the air on what Depp is really like on set, with Javier Bardem describing him as “very accessible, very generous,” in a recent interview.
Javier Bardem is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, having starred in mega franchises such as James Bond’s Skyfall and Dune. He has worked closely with Depp on two occasions, the first came in 2000 with Julian Schnabel’s biopic Before Night Falls. The second was in 2017 with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – marketed as Salazar’s Revenge in some territories.
Bardem has co-starred with Depp both in his indie filmmaking days and when he was a Hollywood juggernaut, with the two remaining firm friends to this day. It puts him in an ideal position to comment on the star’s on set behaviour and he had nothing but praise to share.
Speaking in a new interview, Bardem talked about what it was like working with Depp in Before Night Falls, where the Pirates star played a dual role. Bardem said: “Especially in the second scene, when he plays a lieutenant, that we shot in [director Julian Schnabel’s] house, actually — he did this little set in his house and we shot it there — where Reinaldo is taken prisoner by him and he has this idea, sort of imaginations about the sexuality of this lieutenant, and then it mixes with the reality of the situation where he’s going to be very much punished for being anti-revolutionary, a writer, and especially a gay person.
“That scene took a whole day, and I loved playing with him. I could tell that he was so easy, so soft, so flexible. Like nothing, it was a dance — I love working with him.” (Via GQ)
He added: “I stand by Johnny because I have always seen and felt a true caring and loving man in him — an extraordinary and unique artist who has listened to anyone who needed his help. I not only love Johnny but respect him deeply and I thank him for being the free and careless little boy he is in his art and the mature and loving man he is in the lives of others — always there when we need him.” Bardem added: “I love Johnny because he is a good human being, trapped in the lies and manipulations of toxic beings and yet smiling and loving us all in spite of it. How? Through his music, through his acting, through his silence. This means a lot. Thank you Johnny. Millions of others like me love you deeply.”
He isn’t the only one to defend Depp, with Bardem’s wife and frequent co-star Penelope Cruz similarly supporting the star. “[I] count on him as a great friend. I’ve always been impressed by his kindness, his brilliant mind, his talent, and his peculiar sense of humour,” she wrote according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
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The letters didn’t end there, with two of Depp’s ex-girlfriends also defending the actor. Both Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis wrote declarations of support, all of which were obtained by PEOPLE and first reported by TheBlast.com
Ryder wrote: “I do not want to call anyone a liar but from my experience of Johnny, it is impossible to believe that such horrific allegations are true. I find it extremely upsetting knowing him as I do.” While Paradis commented: “We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together. Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father.”
While the case between the two is ongoing, the streaming service Discovery Plus confirmed in November 2021 that development on a two-part documentary was underway. Titled Johnny vs Amber, the doc will “tell the story of the breakdown”. It will feature interviews with people “close to the pair” as well as Depp and Heard’s lawyers.