One of the few comforts of modern living is that, at any given moment, we mostly know where Johnny Depp is going to be. (On a movie set, usually, or in the company of The Hollywood Vampires.) (Johnny Depp is in a band with Alice Cooper, called The Hollywood Vampires.) But sometimes Depp slips the net, for good or ill, producing the occasional heartwarming hospital visit, or a plot to flood Australia with blatantly illegal dogs.
This week, Depp went briefly off the grid with the help of his friends at Disney, for a promotional prank based around his upcoming appearance in Alice Through The Looking Glass. The company set up one of those video billboard displays—the ones that cycle through a series of still images and movie posters with actors’ faces emblazoned on them—at its Anaheim Disneyland Resort. Occasionally, Depp’s Mad Hatter would come up on the screen, along with pictures of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Except, in Depp’s case, the image being projected wasn’t a still picture, but a live video feed of him, in costume, with a camera watching the people in the park.
Predictable (and, admittedly, adorable) wackiness ensued, with Depp scaring people, chatting with little girls, and generally feeding on their blessed, life-giving attention. But the prank also raises a far more terrifying concern: i.e., that any image of Johnny Depp that we see in our regular lives might actually be the actor, pulling some kind of elaborate, corporate-backed goof. Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels are already scary enough, with their ability to transform any picture of them into another Weeping Angel. We don’t need them also doing a Keith Richards impression for a decade, or laying waste to local haberdasheries and bandana stores. (And God help us all if Universal ever manages to actually turn the man invisible, because then nobody will be safe.)