Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has leapt to the defence of his friend Johnny Depp, following reports that the star’s ‘excessive drinking’ and other wayward behaviour on the set of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’ led to a chaotic production.
An exposé of the reputedly troubled production in The Hollywood Reporter claims that Depp and his then-wife Amber Heard would have physical altercations and that he was constantly late on set.
A full-scale media circus accompanied the movie, which was filmed on Australia’s Gold Coast, and which peaked when it emerged that Heard had brought their dogs into the country circumventing its strict quarantine laws, causing an incident which was reported worldwide.
Bruckheimer, who has produced all of the ‘Pirates’ movies, rubbishes the claims, however.
“You’ve got to understand the kind of pressure Johnny was under in Australia,” he told THR.
“At times helicopters would follow him home. There would be so many media outside his gates that trucks were feeding them.
“There was so much stuff made up about him: that Johnny had a fight on set and had gone back to the States, which we both read about while we were in his trailer.”
However, extensive testimony from crew on the movie paint a rather different story – one chapter of which found production staff sent to stake out his rented mansion to inform the movie’s directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg when Depp had woken up.
“When he got up, he’d turn on the light, and the moment the light went on they’d call the line producer, who would then call the directors: ‘He’s up! He’s getting ready!’ They even had a special code term, like ‘The eagle has landed.’ Johnny had no idea this was going on,” said one staffer.
Another vignette details an argument between Depp’s former agent Tracey Jacobs and Bruckheimer over Depp’s allegedly erratic behaviour.
Added another anonymous staffer: “She went over to Jerry and said, ‘You’ve got to do something! You’re the producer.’ He said, ‘You do something. You’re the agent.’ Everyone was an innocent bystander watching this train wreck. But when Johnny came on set, he was charming, nice. He’s yin and yang.”
Producer Sean Bailey also defended Depp.
“There were certainly days when our plans were challenged. But no one should underestimate Johnny’s passion and commitment to this character and franchise,” he said.
Whether the antics on-set has affected the quality of this latest jaunt on the high seas will be seen once ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ is released in the UK on May 26.