Johnny Depp spent $3m blasting Hunter S Thompson's ashes from cannon, ex-managers claim

Counterclaim against Depp’s mismanagement suit alleges actor in ‘financial turmoil’, with catalogue of spending including $30,000 a month on wine

Former managers for the actor Johnny Depp have alleged he spent $3m firing the late author Hunter S Thompson’s ashes from a cannon.

“All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true,” said Depp at the time. “I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” Depp played gonzo writer Thompson in the 1998 movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – the two men remained friends until Thompson’s death in 2005.

Thompson, who shot himself aged 67, had said that he would like his ashes scattered in such a fashion. “He loved explosions,” said Thompson’s widow, Anita.

The claim that Depp bankrolled the ceremony, which involved hoisting the cannon to the top of a 47m tower on Thompson’s Colorado farm, had not been widely publicised until now. Other attendees included John Kerry, Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, Josh Hartnett and Ralph Steadman.

Depp’s spend on the service was one of a number of extravagant financial acts alleged by his former managers, The Management Group. They launched a countersuit on 31 January in response to Depp’s $25m claim earlier last month that The Management Group defrauded him, mismanaged his finances, took out loans without his approval and hid the extent of his spending from him.

The countersuit responds by saying that Depp was kept fully briefed and the poor state of his finances was down to profligacy. Other alleged spends include $18m on a 150-foot yacht, $4m on a failed record label, $30,000 a month on wine, $200,000 a month on private planes, $150,000 a month on security and $300,000 a month maintaining 40 staff.

The countersuit claims that rather than heeding advice, he “often responded by rebuking and cursing his business managers for issuing such warnings and advice, while increasing his extravagant lifestyle and spending, and demanding that his business managers find some way to pay for it all”.

“Depp, and Depp alone, is fully responsible for any financial turmoil he finds himself in today. He has refused to live within his means, despite the best efforts of TMG and the repeated warnings about his financial condition from TMG and his other advisors.”

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in 2015.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in 2015. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

In December 2016, Depp was named the worst value actor by Forbes magazine, a title he also won in 2015. Forbes found that Depp brought in just $2.80 for every $1 he was paid, thanks to the flopped box office for Disney sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, whose release coincided with domestic violence allegations by his then wife Amber Heard, which Depp rejected. They divorced in January.

Looking Glass took $77m in the US, compared with $344m for Tim Burton’s original. Despite an Oscar nomination for 2015’s Black Mass, Depp has been plagued by a string of commercial and critical failures, including Mortdecai, Transcendence and The Lone Ranger.

However, Depp enjoyed a high-profile cameo in Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and later this year will return to his most beloved character, Captain Jack Sparrow, for a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Last month Depp was named favourite movie icon at the People’s Choice awards, where he made an emotional speech thanking fans for their trust and support.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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