Johnny Depp dropped in on the London Film Festival on Saturday in a surprise visit to honor the career of Christopher Lee. He referred to Lee as “a national treasure” and “a genuine artist.”
Jonny Depp himself was chosen to present the now 91-year-old iconic actor with the British Film Institute Fellowship. Johnny Depp said it was a “childhood dream come true” to work with Lee after the two appeared together in Sleepy Hollow, a film by Tim Burton.
Johnny Depp and Christopher Lee also worked side-by-side in Dark Shadows and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Lee also seems to hold Johnny Depp in high esteem, as he referred to him as one of the few younger actors in Hollywood “who is truly a star.”
Among Christopher Lee’s 250 movie appearances he is best remembered for his roles in the James Bond films as well as Jinnah and The Lord of the Rings.
The London Banqueting House was the esteemed venue for the event, where the best-picture prize went to Pawel Pawlikowski for his film, Ida. You may remember him as the director for the films My Summer Love and Last resort.
Anthony Chen’s llo llo won the first-feature prize, while screenwriter Jonathan Asser was awarded best British newcomer for his role in the prison based drama Starred-up. Paul-Julien Robert’s won the documentary prize for My Fathers, Mothers and Me.
In an emotional moment at the event, when Lee received the honor from Johnny Depp, he tearfully accepted it saying: “I didn’t know you were going to be here. I must try and pull myself together.”
During the ceremony Lee continued to talk about his special relationship with Johnny Depp: “He means an enormous amount to me. He is one of very few young actors on screen today who’s truly a star. Everything he does has a meaning. He’s a joy to work with, an actor’s dream and certainly a director’s dream. I could go on a long time but I’d probably embarrass him.”
Sir Christopher Lee spoke after receiving the honors from Johnny Depp about his 67 years in the movie business: “When I take a look back, and it’s a long one, 67 years, at the characters I’ve played I get a truly strange feeling they were all played by somebody else, and not by me. And there are a few occasions when it has been the case I wish it had!”
The impromptu surprise visit by Johnny Depp clearly meant so much to Sir Christopher. We wish him every success and many more healthy and happy years ahead.