is a list of
Johnny's known participation in music-related documentaries.
See more details below, and please click images to
1992 Rolling Stone 25: The MTV
1998 Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State Of The
2001 Music Behind The Scenes (archive footage)
2004 Taraf de Haïdouks Live At Union
2006 Gypsy Caravan AKA When the Road Bends: Tales
of a Gypsy Caravan
2007 Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
2007 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down
2008 Rock And A
Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora (unreleased)
2012 Arts In
Context: Bill Carter And The Blame
2012 West Of Memphis
Strip: The Movie
2013 That's What I'm Doing Here
2014 Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued
xxxx Friends Of The Viper Room (unreleased)
2010 When You're Strange: A
Film About The Doors
Untitled Keith Richards Documentary
without Johnny's planned
It For Johnny Depp (unreleased)
Interviewee / Archive Footage /
Stone 25: The MTV Special (1992)
This was a television
documentary to mark
the 25th anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine. Johnny
only very briefly, and he doesn't get a chance to speak about music per
se. In one brief clip, he remarks about how uncomfortable it
to pose for photographs, and in a second, he says that he was shocked
when he made it to the cover of the magazine (in January of 1991).
It's At: The
Rolling Stone State of the Union (1998)
television documentary was shown on ABC on May 21, 1998.
Johnny is credited on IMDb
as a participant. Here is a description found by Maggy from
the initial airing:
what's up. Rolling
Stone magazine is turning 30, and to note that, publisher Jann Wenner
has produced a two-hour special titled Where It's At: The Rolling Stone
State of the Union. Airing at 9 tonight on ABC, Where It's At
(named for the catchy Beck tune) examines pop culture and the attitudes
of today's youth _ as opposed to yesterday's youth, who may not relate
to what's being said but will get to hear a lot of Bruce Springsteen.
Younger viewers get Marilyn Manson, the most surprising commentator on
the show, plus Sean "Puffy" Combs and Fiona Apple, Jewel and Beck.
The film poses a lot of questions about spirituality, values,
identity and hope. Marilyn Manson talks about religion; Bruce
Springsteen, Fiona Apple and Johnny Depp about fame; Jewel on body
image; Tom Wolfe, Salt-n-Pepa and Rosie Perez on sex and love.
In addition to speaking about fame,
Johnny comments on the violence
facing today's youth, as well as his love and value of music.
This is a listing on IMDb
includes Johnny (as archive footage) in the credits. It
appears to be a
miniseries that aired in the UK in 2001 and in Finland in 2004.
After years of searching for more information, I have found
Australian ad that describes the miniseries as a look at how music is
incorporated into films. Johnny isn't mentioned specifically,
is listed as one of the films covered in the episode Suspense
, and Edward Scissorhands
is listed for the episode Independents
Therefore, presumably, Johnny is being credited for the
archive footage shown from those two films.
The Australian ad:
(note: I found this ad on a Google search and have no idea
the offer is still available. It seems very pricey, though,
considering Australian currency).
Live At Union Chapel,
Adventures Of Taraf de Haïdouks:
Taraf de Haï
is a Romani band with whom Johnny
appeared in the 2000 Sally Potter film, The Man Who Cried
This part interview, part performance film features
Johnny in three segments, discussing the first time he met Taraf de Haï
turning on musician friends of his to the band, and specifically, the
reactions of Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch upon seeing Taraf for the first
When the Road Bends: Tales of a
Gypsy Caravan (2006)
Screened on May 1, 2006 at the Tribeca
The film is
a brief look into Romani culture and Rom (Gypsies) from around the
globe as five famous Romani groups (Esma Redzepova, Maharaja, Fanfare
Ciocarlia, Taraf de Haï
and Antonio el Pipa Flamenco Ensemble) tour the USA and
Canada. The film visits their
families at home in Spain, India, Macedonia and Romania.
participates in this film discussing Taraf de Haï
The film has been released in the US, Europe and Japan, and
continues to screen in select theaters. It also aired on
television on select PBS
stations in the spring of 2008.
The DVD was released in Region 2 in April of 2008 and
Region 1 on August 26, 2008. Extra bonus materials include an
extended 11 minute interview with Johnny.
Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)
debut January 20, 2007 at the Sundance Film Festival. The
film celebrates the life of the late legendary frontman of The Clash
and more recently The Mescaleros. The film was made by Julien Temple.
Johnny is one of the contributors, along with former Clash members Mick
Jones and Topper Headon, and many other noted musicians and actors such
as Bono, Steve Jones, John Cusack and Matt Dillon. Most of
interviews were conducted in front of a bonfire.
The film had additional screenings
across the pond,
Film Festival in February of 2007, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the
Seattle and LA Film Festivals, a number of screenings on May 9,
"Joe Strummer Day," and at Cannes (as an unofficial screening?)
released theatrically in the UK on May 18, 2007. It also had
screenings in Brooklyn, Seattle and LA. The
film was released in the US via Independent Film Channel on
November 2, 2007, and had a limited
theater run through December 2007. In 2007, the film won the
British Independent Film Award for Best British Documentary.
The Region 2 DVD was released on Sept.
17, 2007, and the Region 1 DVD was released on July 8, 2008.
Screencaps thanks to Liz/Endora:
Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin'
Down A Dream (2007)
This documentary about Tom
Petty and the Heartbreakers is
directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Johnny is one of the participants,
discussing the band in general, his participation in the video for Into
The Great Wide Open, and inviting the band to play opening night at the
The 238 minute film was shown at the New York Film Festival
Oct. 14, 2007, in select theaters on Oct. 15, and on the Sundance
Channel on Oct.
29. It was released as a 3DVD/CD bundle exclusively at Best
Buy stores on October 16, 2007.
2 DVD version of the film, with 3 live bonus performances not included
in the Best Buy package, was released on October 28, 2008.
film won a 2009 Grammy Award (eligibility year 2008) for Best Long Form
Petty says (according to an unsourced
quote from a Petty message board): "It
looks pretty great. I think he's mostly based it around the concert we
did in Gainesville (Florida) in September. It sort of goes into
flashbacks, with lots of archival footage, and then just keeps coming
back to the present, whether it's the rehearsals or on the airplane or
at the concert in Gainesville."
past ties to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers include
starring in the Into The Great Wide Open video and endorsement of the
band on MTV in the early 90's.
And A Hard
Place: Another Night At The Agora (Unreleased;
screened in 2008)
This documentary was about
the South Florida music scene
of the late 70's and early 80's, about Sheila Witkin as one of the
driving forces of that scene, and about the Memorial Reunion Concert
that was held in her memory on January 28, 2007 in Pompano Beach, FL.
participated in this show as a member of The Kids. A second
show was also held on May 20, 2007 at The Scene in
Pompano Beach to capture additional footage from Z-Cars, The Cichlids,
and Charlie Pickett for inclusion in this documentary.
film had its World Premiere on April 12, 2008, at the
Palm Beach International Film Festival in Mizner Park, FL, with a
second screening on April 17. The film also had 4
screenings at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival from Aug.
29-Aug. 31, 2008, including brand new interview footage of all four
As of 2012, there has not been any word
additional screenings, a theatrical release, or a DVD release, and as
of August 2012, the official website was no longer active. It
seems unlikely at this point that there will ever be a general release
of this film.
In Context: Bill Carter And The Blame (2012)
Debuted on KLRU in Austin on July 26, 2012.
special celebrates Bill's long career as a songwriter and musician.
It covers Bill's early days as a songwriter, his meeting and
subsequent lifelong collaboration with his wife, Ruth Ellsworth Carter,
and the strong bonds he has formed with fellow Austin musicians.
Interspersed with the interviews is performance footage from
May 18, 2012 concert that was taped at the original KLRU Studio
specifically for this documentary.
Bill and Ruth tell of meeting Johnny in
90's, which led
to the formation of the band P, and also about the impending birth of
Johnny and Vanessa Paradis' daughter Lily-Rose serving as the
inspiration for the song,
Paris. They also discuss watching the West Memphis Three
documentary, Paradise Lost, with Johnny in the early 90's; Bill and
friendship with Damien Echols and Damien's wife Lorri and their
longtime support of the successful effort to free the West Memphis
is a basis for their song, Anything Made Of Paper.
is featured in some clips chatting and jamming with Bill, and also in
some archive performance footage from the SXSW Austin Music Awards in
1993 and the Continental Club in 2011.
Of Memphis (2012)
Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January
20, 2012. This documentary about the West Memphis Three, made
Peter Jackson, features Johnny. Johnny appears on stage as part of the Voices For
Justice concert on
August 28, 2010 in support
of the West Memphis Three. He is shown doing a reading
of Damien Echols' letters and performing with
Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines, Bill Carter, and others.
The film had its official
premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8,
2012, and its official release on Christmas Day, 2012. Johnny
is also featured prominently in the West Of Memphis:
Voices For Justice soundtrack; see the JD Rocks! Discography
section for more info.
Johnny is interviewed in this documentary about
legendary Sunset Strip. Johnny is a former owner of The Viper
Room, a prominent club on The Strip. The film screened at
March 16, 2012 and had its LA
Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on June 19, 2012. The
premiered on Showtime on August 16, 2013. It became available
for download and streaming on October 31, and a DVD is planned for
sometime in 2014.
Johnny speaks about various aspects of
The Strip, and focuses in particular on The Viper Room: "What
I wanted out of The Viper Room, first and
wouldn’t it be great to have a place that you could go to
you weren’t necessarily on display all the time, or you
didn’t feel like a novelty, you know. You
to sneak in and sneak out and hide and all that. And you
listen to the music that you and your friends like. And we
to hear Louis Jordan, and we wanted to hear Cab Calloway, and we wanted
to hear old blues, Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf.
was the initial thing, you know. Let’s make this
like it should’ve been, or like maybe it was back then, you
in the 30’s. A speakeasy. It was called
Room then, which is like at that time, I mean, the people that I heard
that had played there were like Charlie Parker, Coltrane, all these
amazing, amazing players from back in the day. So yeah, we
all very excited about the history of the place."
discusses the tragedy of River Phoenix' death at The Viper Room, and
how Johnny Cash's appearance there in 1994 helped to "cleanse" the club
after the tragedy.
What I'm Doing Here (Unreleased; 2013)
In 2012, Bill Carter's former manager Matt
embarked on making a film chronicling the lives and
careers of three legendary Texas musician-songwriters: Carter,
Alejandro Escovedo, and Charlie Sexton. Concerts of Carter
Escovedo were filmed as footage to include in this
documentary, including Carter's December 7, 2012 show at The
in LA in which Johnny performed. Unfortunately, virtually all
Matt's progress was destroyed in a flood in Austin TX in the fall of
2013. Some footage that Matt had uploaded to YouTube does
The good news is that Matt has now revived his
career and is focusing on his songwriting and performing, so here is
hoping for a lot of great music from him in the future!
A13) Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued (2014)
On November 21, 2014, Showtime aired this documentary
about the recording of Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes.
The album, released on November 11, 2014, features songs using
some newly discovered Bob Dylan lyrics from the era of The Basement
Tapes (ca. 1967) that were thought to have been lost. T Bone
Burnett produced the album, with artists Marcus Mumford, Elvis
Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, and Jim James composing
arranging the music to Dylan's lyrics. Johnny filled in for Costello on
a day that Costello had a scheduling conflict and could not attend a
recording session. He played on the song Kansas City, which was
sung by Mumford.
A14) Friends Of The Viper Room (unreleased)
A Kickstarter campaign took place in May of 2013
for a new documentary
about The Viper Room, which Johnny co-owned from its opening in 1993
through 2004. Called Friends
Of The Viper Room, it is directed by Repo Man and Fame
actress Olivia Barash, who was a promoter and VIP liaison at The Viper
Room back in the day. Former club co-owner Chuck
has already participated, along with Bob Forrest, Norman Reedus, Maria
McKee, and others. The filmmakers do
plan/hope to interview Johnny.
A 4.5 minute trailer was
released in September of 2013.
You're Strange: A Film About The Doors (2009)
Johnny narrates this film about the
The Doors. The film premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2009, with a temporary narration
by the director, Tom DiCillo. It also screened with DiCillo's
February 7 at the Berlin Film Festival, where the official announcement
was made that Johnny would narrate the final version of the
DiCillo then made the
decision not to screen the film again until Johnny's contribution was
added, forcing him to pull out of the South By Southwest Film Festival
in March. Johnny's recording was done sometime between about
March 17 and May 20, 2009. The film screened for the
with his narration on June 21, 2009 at the Los Angeles Film
Festival, with an additional screening on June 24. DiCillo
lauds Johnny's narration as
"He brings something
very personal to the
had been my first choice. My sense was always that the film needed a
real actor to perform the narration, someone who could genuinely relate
to the Doors and tell the story as if it really meant something to him.
He has succeeded." After attending the screening
in Deauville, DiCillo further stated, "Depp’s
narration is even stronger than I’d remembered. His presence
the film is quiet, assured, emotional and powerfully intimate."
Doors drummer John Densmore was also quoted in Variety as
the inflections; it's so personable. He's an icon like Jim, so he
brings something that's closer to Jim."
is the first feature documentary about this legendary band.
film contains some never before seen footage of The Doors, who were
together from 1965 through Morrison's death in 1971. It also
contains rare footage from Morrison's experimental film, HWY, taken from the
original 35 mm negative.
The film had a private buyers' screening in NYC on
June 30 and also one in Paris at around the same time. It
screened at numerous film festivals worldwide in the summer and fall of
2009, including Deauville, San Sebastian, Woodstock, Rio de Janeiro,
The Times BFI London, Viennale (Vienna), and Mar del Plata (Argentina).
In 2010, it screened in Santa Barbara, London, Dublin, Austin (SXSW),
and Aspen. It won the Audience Award from the SXSW Film
in the category, 24 Beats Per Second.
film received an R rating from the MPAA: "Rated for
some sexual content including references, nudity, drug material and
language." When You're Strange had
a limited US theatrical release beginning April 9, 2010, with an
opening weekend of $66,833 in 8 venues. It has been released
The Netherlands, France, the UK and several
other European countries.
Its television premiere was May 12, 2010 on PBS, as part of
Masters series. The
DVD was released on June 29.
The film received an RIAA Gold Certification on September 10,
2010 in the category Video, Longform, and it won a Grammy Award for
Best Long Form
Music Video on February 13, 2011.
Depp on When You're
When You’re Strange is a meticulously crafted, exhilarating
to one of music’s greatest, most exciting ensembles; The
Doors. Watching the hypnotic, hitherto, unreleased footage of
Jim, John, Ray and Robby, both on and off the stage, I felt like I was
there, with them, living and experiencing what they were experiencing,
seeing it all through their eyes. Ultimately, Jim has been resurrected
here to remind us that he is to this very day, one of the most
significant frontmen/poets/shaman to ever grace a stage and that the
band behind him, kept the music alive every step of the way, adding
fuel to an already raging fire, all along their wild and electrifying
ride into history. The raw material entrances
In terms of a rock n’ roll documentary, or any kind of
documentary for that matter, it simply doesn’t get any better
than this. What an honor to have been involved. I
proud of this as anything I have ever done.”
Documentary about Keith Richards (2016?)
is directing this documentary, originally given the working
title Happy, which began filming in
January of 2010.
Johnny, Keith, Patti Smith and others were spotted on set in
on January 30, 2010, and Johnny later said that they shot for about 5
Johnny first announced plans to direct
during a Serbian interview he gave while attending the Kustendorf Film
Festival on January 14, 2010. As
a guest on the Jonathan Ross show, which aired February 26 (see part 1
here), Johnny spoke a little
about the documentary: "It’s
a thing that we’ve talked about for a number of years now,
we finally had a moment, the two of us, to get together and do like a
first installment if you will, and so basically, all it is is exactly
what Keith and I have been doing over the years, is sittin’
around in hotel rooms, talking, gabbing, having a drink, and, we
documented it. So it’s something that
together, and we did 5 days and it went extremely well. It
just incredible." A Phillipine
elaborated a little bit more: "The
Keith Richards documentary came about in a very strange
and I have spent a lot of time together over the years, whenever
he’s off the road and I’m off a film. We would
up in the living room of his hotel suite or my house or his place in
New York. We would talk and I get all these incredible stories that
just haven’t made it out there in the world. I suggested to
that maybe we could try something like that on film and he went,
‘Yeah.’ For a number of years, he was like,
we’ll see.’ Finally, bless him, he deigned to give
shot so it’s something that we’re doing together."
In December of 2010, while promoting The Tourist,
Johnny briefly mentioned the project for myFOXdetroit.com, saying he
thinks of himself more as the "hunter" or the "capturer" of Keith than
as the director or producer. "Keith
is being a wild beast that you just sort of document. You
turn on the camera and let it run out, and feast upon what he has to say."
In January of 2011, in the Entertainment Weekly Music
Johnny provided a few tidbits: that they had filmed one "installment,"
which is presumably what was filmed in January of 2010, which included
35 hours of conversation and performance footage. The
footage features Patti Smith, Norah Jones, and members of Keith's band
X-Pensive Winos. He also added that the
filming was done by cinematographer Dariusz Wolski.
The plan was to film two more installments; details are not
as to whether this plan was followed.
On March 24, 2013, Drum Doctors tweeted
a photo of owner Ross Garfield with Johnny, with the caption: "Johnny
Depp & me @ the Keith Richards film shoot yesterday" (March
23rd). While he didn't specify what kind of film shoot it
possibly had something to do with the documentary. Other
circulated that there was some performance footage taken at around this
time. In a spring 2013 interview printed in the British OK
magazine, Johnny was asked about whether he would ever direct another
film (after 1997's The
Brave). He replied, "Yeah,
actually I have been working on a film for about the last four years or
so. And we've just completed the filming part - and it's a documentary
on Keith Richards." Asked if it will be similar
to the Rolling Stones movie (Crossfire
Hurricane), he said, "Most
definitely not [laughs]." He offered another
brief description of the film process in a July Daily Mail article:
"Actually, it’s a little strange to call it a documentary,
it’s more an opportunity to experience Keith – as
don’t get to see him because he’s quite a
Essentially it’s Keith and I sitting around having a
and what it boils down to is his wisdom and his philosophy and his
experiences – and that would be cut with footage of his
life." Keith similarly described the film in a July 2013
Rolling Stones sideman Ian McLagan also told ABC
in a July 2013 interview that he will appear in the film. He
divulges that a few months ago, they filmed in Johnny's house, which
jives with what had been reported above. McLagan also says
they recorded "new renditions of the Keith-sung Stones classics 'Happy'
and 'You Got the Silver,' as well as a brand-new Richards composition."
No word on if Johnny actually performed on the recording, but it sounds
The film is now listed on IMDb
as being in post-production. In January of 2015, while promoting
the film Mortdecai, Johnny was asked about the film and touched upon it
briefly. He mentioned that Keith had seen a "rough cut" and that
he's taking his time with it but that it's very important to him.
However, in April of 2015, Keith told Rolling Stone: "We
shot some stuff, but I don't think there's anything in the cards about
it. I don't think he's going to use the footage and I don't think
I've seen Johnny for a couple of years." Hopefully, Keith was just being overly cautious about the status of the film.
Luckily, the documentary made the news again
in late 2015, when cinematographyer Dariusz Wolski sat down for an
interview with Collider and made mention of the film's status: "(It
was) an amazing experience, actually there is a screening of it
tomorrow at UTA, yeah it was pretty incredible, yeah. You know,
the movie has a pretty long history because we shot original footage 3
years ago, 4 years ago, and then we came back to shoot more stuff
with Tom Waits, which was probably a year and a half ago by now.
It’s hard to imagine because we do this stuff and then everybody
goes away does their own movies and we come back. But there is a
new version of it screening tomorrow. I can’t wait to see
it. (Asked whether it might screen at a film festival) Yeah.
I hope so, because it’s an exceptional film… It’s an
exceptional film because you have like a truly personal insight into
Keith." Let's hope to hear some news about screenings or a release in 2016!
Music Documentaries without
Johnny's planned participation
It For Johnny Depp
(Unreleased; screened in 2007)
This was a documentary about
the quest of filmmakers Haylar Garcia and Darcy Grabowski to bring a
screenplay (entitled Narcophonic,
the Ballad of Bad Bax) about guitar maker
Scott Baxendale to Johnny. Originally named Do It For Johnny,
it first screened at the Bug
Theatre in Denver Colorado on Sunday, January 21, 2007 and had its official premiere
at the 22nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Jan. 28. During 2007, the film was
an official selection for the Vail, Sonoma Valley and Hollywood Film
won Best Documentary at the Rainier Independent Film Festival.
In late 2008, Garcia told blogtalkradio
Jo Tucker that the film had several distributors for foreign release,
and that they would be distributing the film themselves in the US.
He had expected the film to be available in the US in
2009. There was a new trailer
added to YouTube in March of 2011. As of early 2011, the film
was listed under Moving Pictures Film & TV Distribution, also
known as ICAP Media;
however, these links were no longer active by the fall of 2011. The
official site is gone and the MySpace page has not been updated in a
and no other news seems to have emerged about a possible release.
It seems unlikely by this point that the film will ever have
The documentary featured
information about Johnny's musical history. It included an
interview with Ringo Jukes from
the Rock City Angels,
and reportedly featured 3 RCA songs: Mary (cowritten by Johnny), Beyond
Babylon and Hell's Kitchen.
if you have any additions, or corrections, thanks!