Johnny Depp Describes 'Mortifying' Audition for the Coen Brothers

Gwynne Watkins
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Johnny Depp attends a screening of ‘Black Mass’ at the BFI London Film Festival in October (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

For all his talents, Johnny Depp claims he’s “horrible” at auditions. Of course, now that he’s an A-list star, Depp’s auditioning days are behind him. But speaking at the AFI Film Festival on Monday, Depp described the trauma of the last audition he ever went on: A disastrous reading for an unnamed Coen brothers film.

“It was mortifying,” said the Black Mass star (via The Playlist). “This was years ago, I was a big fan of the Coen brothers and I was asked to go and audition for something or another…I can only imagine the choices I must have made in the audition, but what I do remember very, very well was how loud the silence was after I finished whatever I had done. Between the three of us, it was sort of like, ‘How do I get out of this f—ing room?’ And they’re thinking, ‘How do we get him out of this f—ing room?’ So it was one of those things like, ‘Alright, so…yeah! Cool! OK, good…Alright…”And I just went, ‘Well, good then. Uhh, thanks.’”

So awkward was the experience that Depp doesn’t think he’ll ever get a chance to work with Joel and Ethan Coen (known for films like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and No Country for Old Men). “Not if they have any memory of that audition,” Depp said.

The self-effacing actor also reminded the AFI audience that he almost lost the biggest role of his career after he’d been cast. When the cameras first started rolling on Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner wanted him fired. “It trickled back to me that Michael Eisner went on some sort of bent about how, ‘G–damnit, Johnny Depp’s ruining the film! Is it drunk? Is it gay?’ And so I fully expected to be fired, and I got a call from the upper echelon at Disney who were courageous enough to ask me, ‘What the f— are you doing?’ And again, the questions came up, ‘Is it drunk? Is it gay?’ All I could say was, because they set me up with a great line, I said, ‘Well, don’t you know all my characters are gay?’” Depp wasn’t fired, but says that Disney did plan to put subtitles under his dialogue, because “they couldn’t understand Captain Jack.” 

Listen to the full conversation with Johnny Depp and Black Mass director Scott Cooper here.