Last year, while Johnny Depp was filming the latest installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in Australia, a simple oversight created an international drama for both Depp and his wife, Amber Heard. It all began with the couple bringing their pets, two Yorkshire terriers named Pistol and Boo, to Australia aboard their private jet, and failing to claim the animals with the country's customs department. Threats of extreme penalties, including fines and imprisonment were levied against Depp and Heard in an attempt to make a very public example of the celebrities.
Australia Wages A "War on Terrier" Against Johnny Depp And Amber HeardThe issue of the celebrity couple's failure to report Pistol and Boo to the proper Australian authorities came to a head in April, when the country threatened a penalty against Ms. Heard, which would require her to serve a 10-year prison term and pay a fine of $100,000. Magistrate Callaghan, the principal authority overseeing the case, instead agreed to a plea bargain which would require Heard and husband Johnny Depp to film a PSA in support of Australia's strict customs laws. By allowing Depp and Heard to do the public service announcement, the magistrate hopes to get "more deterrence value" in support of the Australian Department of Agriculture.
The resulting video message puts the couple together in an official setting with Amber and Johnny looking deadly serious, as they address the camera.
"Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are commonplace around the world," Heard said. "That is why Australia has to have such strong biosecurity laws."
"Australians are just as unique, both warm and direct. When you disrespect Australia law, they will tell you firmly," Mr. Depp adds.
"I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared," Heard says with much sincerity. "Protecting Australia is important."
"Declare everything when you enter Australia. Thanks," Depp says, finishing off the message.
Johnny Depp Mocks Australia, As He Returns To EnglandJohnny was back in England, promoting his latest film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, when he took an opportunity to express his true sentiments about the ordeal the Australian government forced him and Amber to endure over bringing their pets to the country. While the Australian government may utilize the PSA to help deter future smugglers at their borders, Johnny is using his star power to counteract the affects his coerced video might have on the public, stating in one interview that he planned to make the video at every opportunity.
"I would really like to apologize for not smuggling my dogs into England because it would have been a bad thing to do," Depp said, stirring laughter among the crowds. "Because the Australians, they're chipper."
"I tried to kill them after Australia," Depp added with his usual dry humor.
Johnny Depp wasn't alone in mocking the video. Many celebrities and political officials commented on the PSA recorded by Depp and Ms. Heard, remarking at the somber expressions of both actors' faces. Comedian Ricky Gervais observed that the video seemed more like a hostage video than a PSA announcement, while Australia's own prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, joked that Depp looked like he was "auditioning for The Godfather."
Fans added their own commentary on the video and none of the remarks seemed to favor the video. Instead, the distaste Depp and Heard both felt for making the video seems to be the overriding observation to all. One fan compared the message as something akin to tactics employed by North Korea, while another fan said the video was simply embarrassing.
"When you Skype your parents and dad still can't deal with you being gay but mum is at least trying," another comment stated.
"Johnny Depp's 'Oh, sod this' demeanor in that apology video is an absolute joy to watch. God bless Australia," posted another man.
Australians have also expressed their own thoughts on the PSA. While many aren't pleased with the video or how it came about, the majority of Australian people replying to the video have reaffirmed that Australia really is a "wonderful island" and the pride they all hold in their homeland may do more for the Australian Department of Agriculture than any forced celebrity PSA.
Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter, is scheduled for a May 27 theatrical release.
[Image by Alison Buck/Getty Images]