Johnny Depp knows a little bit about living life under the media’s glare. So when he wants to get away, the star and his family head to Little Hall’s Bond Cay, Depp’s private, 45-acre island in the Bahamas.
“(The island) is my decompression,” Depp told the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine. “It’s my way of trying to return to normalcy … Escapism is survival to me.”
The beaches on Little Hall’s Bond Cay are named after Depp’s partner, Vanessa Paradis; their children, Lily and Jack; actor Marlon Brando; and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. But he also named one “Heath’s Place” after the late Australian actor Heath Ledger.
“I don’t think I’d ever seen any place so pure and beautiful,” Depp said of the island as a whole. “You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It’s instant freedom. And that rare beast — simplicity — can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity … Whenever I was getting frustrated about being ‘novelty boy’ and making movies, I told myself, ‘Calm down.’ I can come down here and disappear. I spent the Christmas season here with Vanessa and the kids. You can feed hot dogs to the nurse sharks in the Exumas — but it’s best to not swim when doing it.”
Another place Depp goes when he’s feeling stressed? Into other art forms.
“When I can focus on something like guitar or painting, I do,” he told the mag. “I started painting people I admire, like (Jack) Kerouac, Bob Dylan, Nelson Algren, Marlon Brando, Patti Smith, my girl, my kids. I painted Hunter a couple of times. Keith Richards. What I love to do is paint people’s faces, y’know, their eyes. Because you want to find that emotion, see what’s going on behind their eyes.”
Hollywood continues to call, however, and Depp revealed he has been thinking about playing Tonto in a Disney remake of “The Lone Ranger.”
“Tonto needs to be in charge,” Depp laughed. “The Lone Ranger should be a fool, a lovable one, but a fool nonetheless.”
But while Hollywood works to lure the actor into various memorable roles, Depp can’t help but hear the call of his island.
“I look forward to my kids growing up on the island, spending months out of the year here … learning about sea life and how to protect sea life … and their kids growing up here, and so on ... Theoretically, this place can add years to your life … Money doesn’t buy you happiness,” he continued, quoting an old adage. “But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it.”