Johnny Depp has announced his latest musical project, an album made with 75-year-old blues-rock guitarist Jeff Beck.
Announcing the collaboration with a cover of John Lennon’s song Isolation, Beck said: “Given all the hard days and true ‘isolation’ that people are going through in these challenging times, we decided now might be the right time to let you all hear it. You’ll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while, but until then we hope you find some comfort and solidarity in our take on this Lennon classic.”
Depp, who has maintained a relatively low profile recently amid legal battles with the Sun newspaper and his ex-wife Amber Heard, joined Instagram and announced the collaboration from lockdown during coronavirus, confirming that he and Beck had recorded a whole album together. He quickly accrued nearly 2 million followers.
Depp encouraged people to be creative during the crisis: “We cannot and must not succumb to shutting down and giving in to what feels like hellish quarantine monotony. Create something today that will benefit yourselves and others tomorrow. Do anything you think could be of use to brighten someone’s day. Draw, read, paint, think, learn, make a film on your phone, play an instrument if you play; if you don’t, learn.”
The Beck collaboration is another of Depp’s starry musical projects, following on from Hollywood Vampires, the rock band that features Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.
His next film releases are Waiting for the Barbarians, adapted by JM Coetzee from his own novel and co-starring Mark Rylance and Robert Pattinson, and Minamata, a Japan-set drama co-starring Bill Nighy.
Depp is currently embroiled in a libel case against the Sun, that has been adjourned due to the coronavirus outbreak. The newspaper described him as a “wife beater” in the wake of his divorce from Heard, which Depp denies.
Heard and Depp have previously each accused the other of physical violence. In 2019 a lawyer for Heard stated that Depp “repeatedly beat” her, with Depp himself stating “I never abused Ms Heard or any other woman” and accusing Heard of “painting on” bruises before appearing in court. Depp and Heard were both expected to give evidence at the libel trial, held at the high court in London. Heard has since been allowed to give her evidence behind closed doors.
At the adjournment hearing, Heard’s lawyer, Adam Wolanski, claimed Depp “has used, for many years, his physical, financial and professional power to embarrass and harass her and people around her, including witnesses in this case”. Depp’s lawyer Jenny Afia said he was “extremely keen for these proceedings to go ahead as soon as possible so that he could vindicate his reputation”.