What started off as sheer glee at the thought of meeting some AMAZING actors, has turned into something I never imagined. I have found life long friends, gone on some wonderful road trips, and of course had several meetings with one Mr. Johnny Depp. I stepped back to look at earlier this year, when I tried out for Public Enemies as an extra. It seems like it was only yesterday, and now it is over. The past few days has left me with many mixed emotions. I never thought I would ever get the chance to be involved in something so special. From meeting new friends, to talking to people in Chile, to hugging my all time hero. I say hero, because that is what he is to me. Johnny Depp has brought people together in an amazing way. Not only has he shared his time with us, but he gave us a reason to smile again when some of our lives were in shambles. I would have never guessed that I would be sitting at the Kurth in Columbus, or standing in line for a glimpse of a movie star, or even leaving at 11pm at night to drive 3 hours south just to be a part of history. This experience has changed my life forever, and I will be forever grateful to Johnny, Michael Mann, Public Enemies, and my new friends.
Some people call this the "Depp Effect", and this is what that means to me. Johnny Depp has a way of reaching people, whether they know it or not. Last night when I was in Lockport, IL. I finally found that "connection" that people talk about. Even though, I never got to pose for a photo with him, I am very happy. There was a moment last night, that I felt was reserved just for me. It may have only lasted a minute, but it seemed like an eternity, and it will last forever. Whether Johnny knows it or not, he has been an inspiration to so many people. The children just adore him, and he seems to enjoy speaking with them. Simply put....he is a wonderful man. I admire his strong family values, and I think that is the part of him I admire the most. He just makes you feel special when you meet him, and he has a calming effect on people. He took his time, and was gracious to everyone, each time he has come out to the crowd. For that, I thank him.
DAY ONE - Thursday 6/26/08 - St. Anne, IL
Although I had decided previously not to try to see anymore filming, I was persuaded to go by the enthusiasm of my friends. I met Shakes, Osh, Evan, and Dawn up in Beloit around 11am. Osh drove us through some pretty heavy traffic, down to Chicago. We had no idea where they were filming since it was all up in the air. We got a call half way down from a good friend who informed us that filming was to take place today in St. Anne, Il about 1 1/2 hours south of Chicago. Since we were already near Chicago, we decided to keep on going. After being demoted from front seat navigator ( I don't do maps), we finally reached our destination. The basecamp was in the high school parking lot, and it was the largest basecamp by far. A couple of the crew were grilling ribs on a BBQ behind the highschool, and let me tell you....it smelled good! I wished I would have been smart, and ate before I went. The aroma was making me drool. Tiffany, Marcella, and Becky met us down at basecamp a little later in the night. Each of them had driven separate, and I was glad that they had made it down safely. It's not easy to navigate your way around in that area. We saw people coming, and going, then coming again. Filming was taking place just down the street at an old farmhouse, but we could not see anything. We had great fun as we watched the crowd grow into over 1000 plus people. It was more than the towns whole population!! (1300)
I saw Stephen Dorf, and maybe Johnny as well, drive in a little after 9pm. People just started screaming, so I am guessing it was Johnny. I couldn't see. I was excited to see Stephen, myself. Jerry came out to asses the crowd, said that there would be no autographs or hugs, and stopped to talk to a little boy named Zackary. It was a very sweet moment. He also got a present from Shakes! He said "What's this?", and Shakes said " it's for you!". Jerry opened it, and smiled, then shouted "No bribes girls!" We chuckled at that. Next, he took a very special gift to Johnny from Osh and Evan. It was a book of photos for Mr. Depp. I snuck my thank you card inside before Jerry took it to Johnny. A few crew members went by taking pictures, then wardrobe, and even Chris Stolte drove by in his car. (Which I thought was kinda odd) Each time they went by, the crowd errupted in screams. Someone even started letting off fireworks nearby.
Johnny came out at 10:17, 5 minutes prior to my phenomonally accurate estimate! Right girls? He graciously shook hands with people, and smiled as he went down the line. When he got to me, the Depp Effect took me once more. He took my hand, and squeezed it as I said a very humbled "Thank you". He let go, then with in an instant, he grabbed my hand again. Whether he thought it was a different had, I don't know, but it was nice all the same. After Johnny made it down the line, he waved to the crowd from the car, and he was gone. I tried to pick up as much trash as I could get, until some unidentified liquid spilled on my shoes. Then I was done. Some of the crew thanked me for trying to pick up the mess, and told me where they would be tomorrow.
Here are some pics from St. Anne before we go onto Lockport:
A very sweet girl named Alyssa. A Johnny fan in the making perhaps?
The crowd gathers, and gathers, and gathers
Dawn shows us the letters her girls had written for Johnny
A little fun with Evan, Shakes, and Tiffany
Stephen Dorf arrives at basecamp after filming. It's the only shot I could get. Is that Johnny in the back seat? What happened to Jerry?
The wardrobe gang arrives! They wave hello to the crowd as they pass
Zackary and Jerry having their moment, followed by one happy kid! Jerry asked him about which pirate movies he liked the best, and then Zackary told Jerry his favorite line from Charlie and the Chocolate factory...."The earth says HELLO"
The crew drives by taking pictures of the crowd. Also, look who I caught grilling out ribs at basecamp
Minxie also got her moment with JD, just not in person
"i'm Baby Face Nelson's double!" The driver of the car jested.
And here is Mr. Depp!
DAY 2 - LOCKPORT, IL - FRIDAY 6/27/08
After talking with Becky Thursday night, I decided to try and make one last final attempt at getting a picture with Johnny Depp. I also wanted to be there on the last day of filming in the area. It was a bittersweet day. I met up with Becky in OakCreek around 3:30pm, and waited for Tiffany. Becky, and her wonderful friends, decieded to head down while I waited. We were going to meet them at the Oasis, for something to eat. Tiffany and I set off in my mini around 4pm to meet them. Traffic was flowing well, despite me almost killing us 3 times. About 10 miles north of the Oasis, we ran into traffic. A HUGE accident. We got into the express lane, and bypassed all the traffic...and even Becky, who was stuck. We arrived a good 20 minutes earlier to the Oasis than they did because of that lane. After eating some food, we headed down. This time deciding NOT to take the express lane, and thank goodness we didn't. It was all backed up. It took us about 2 hours to get to Lockport, so all in all...not bad. We got there about 7pm. When we got there, we saw the filming straight away. it was not hard to miss. There were trucks just about everywhere, and old cars driving up and down the road. We had already missed filming outside of Mama Onessey's restaurant earlier in the day, and now they were shooting street scenes. Marcella, and her mom, were at basecamp at the highschool. It was great to see her again! We had been texting all day, and we felt relief when we were all safe and sound in Lockport. It is a really pretty city, with lots of old buildings. There was not too much of a crowd, so we decided to leave basecamp, and head to the filming. We saw lots of extras walking the streets, and old cars started circiling as soon as "action" was called. Reports were that Johnny was filming just beyond the hill. Also, there were reports that Christian Bale was seen around basecamp that morning. I thought he had wrapped, but maybe not. Giovvani WAS there, but I could not get a photo of him.
Once we had watched our fill, we headed back to basecamp. Peg met us there, and I also ran into a few of our fellow bloggers, and watchers. I was introduced to them as "The famous Vicky"! I had not realized how popular I was lol (Just kidding). It turns out that one of the ladies had emailed me last week about some photos I had posted that she was in. I cannot remember her name at the moment, but it was nice to meet her! I am glad we came back when we did, since basecamp was filling up quickly with more and more people. Around 8:20pm, Johnny arrived back at basecamp to the screams of all the little kids waiting to see him. AS we stood there, watching the magic of Public Enemies unfold, it was clear that all the cast and crew were in high spirits. Lots of celebrating, and photo taking. Jerry did his usual inspecting of the baracades, and stopped to talk to some cute little babies along the way. I never realized how much he loves children! He once again announced that there would be no autographs, but "take all the pictures you want!" He shouted.
While we were waiting, a couple of guys walked up to us. I had seen them so many times before, and always wondered who they were. They walked over to us, and handed this little girl a copy of today's script. She was ecstatic! (And so was her mother, it was really quite charming) I said "Hi, I've seen you before, haven't I?" (or something like that) He said "Hi, I'm Johnny's double/stand-in", and the other guy said, "And I am Christian Bale's!" (Which adds to the speculation that Bale was in fact there that day) We thanked them for coming out to meet us. They were both so nice to us, and posed for some photographs before heading home.
Johnny made his final debut around 10pm. He seemed to be in great spirits! He was laughing and joking with the crowd, taking his time, huggging/shaking hands, and talking to all the kids. A guy next to me said "where are your golf shoes?" (to go along with the hat he was wearing) Johnny laughed, and said something I could not hear. When he got to me, I finally had the moment I had been waiting for. I said "Thank you so much for all that you have done. I hope you have enjoyed your time in the midwest, and you've really meant a lot to everyone, especially the children. Thank you for doing this, love." (At least I think that's what I said...pretty sure) he grabbed my hand with both of his, and looked at me with such a thoughtful look, smiled, and said "thank you", and that was that. No photo with him, but I am ok with that. I have had so much over the past few months, that I am beside myself with gratitude.
The BEST part of the night, was when Johnny and Jerry jumped up on to the running board of the SUV, and waved to everyone. Then they DROVE OFF hanging onto the side of the car still waving. I don't know how far down the road they went like that since I lost sight of them once they turned the corner. I have NEVER seen Johnny do that before, and it was so touching! The crowd erupted in cheers, and applause as he drove away! WHAT AN AMAZING EXIT ON THE FINAL DAY!!! I have to admit, even I screamed "GOODBYE JOHNNY!" as he drove away. I have never screamed at him before, and I don't know why I did then. I was just so happy that he had done that for his fans!
I would have loved to have met some of the other actors, but we had a great GREAT time throughout this whole experience!
We came away from there last night with some VERY special moments, and memories!
Here's a look at the final day of on location filming. Next stop.....LA! GOOD LUCK JOHNNY, CAST, AND CREW....AND THANK YOU!!
Lights, camera, action.....go picture cars! Go extras!
Jerry has another special moment with some of the kids!
Johnny Depp's stand-in(right), and Christian Bale's stand-in(left)
Goodbye Mr. Depp! Thanks for everything! (best picture I could get)