White House Hid Johnny Depp-Hosted Secret 'Alice In Wonderland' Party
Barack and Michelle Obama like to party with Johnny Depp -- but only in secret.
The Obamas -- an upcoming, unauthorized and eagerly anticipated biography from journalist Jodi Kantor -- exposes details of the First Couple's private Halloween celebration in 2009, the New York Post reported. It was a big Alice In Wonderland-themed to-do, hosted at the White House by Depp and Tim Burton, who directed the 2010 film update. The affair was kept hush-hush because of the recession, and the potential backlash that might have resulted had the news gone public.
One high-profile guest included Chewbacca, or someone wearing the Star Wars icon's original costume, personally messengered by franchise creator George Lucas for he event. Depp dressed as the Mad Hatter.
“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans -- or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care -- that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged," according to an excerpt of Kantor's book in the Post.
Earlier that Halloween, the White House held festivities for D.C.-area schoolchildren that were covered by the media.
The State Room had been decorated "in (Burton's) signature creepy-comic style," Kantor wries. "His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with a long table set with antique-looking linens, enormous stuffed animals in chairs, and tiered serving plates with treats like bone-shaped meringue cookies."
The Obamas is slated for release Tuesday. Besides hush-hush soirees, the book sheds light on the presidential marriage and the First Lady's somewhat reluctant transition into her new role as well as tension with Obama staffers including former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
The White House has dismissed the book an "overdramatization of old news."
"If we wanted this event to be a secret, we probably wouldn't have invited the press corps to cover it, release photos of it to Flickr, or post a video from it on the White House website," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement, via Politico. "Even Johnny Depp’s fans knew about it and posted on their website. Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read in books these days."
But Kantor defends her words, telling the Today show interview on Monday: “If you look at the text of the book, the sort of outside trick-or-treating was public with press. The inside party, which was the more lavish party, was kept very quiet.”