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Johnny Depp, whose film career began with John Waters‘ 1990 Cry-Baby, was a surprise guest at the 9th Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute on Sunday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the film was screened on the mausoleum.
Depp joined a Q&A moderated by Sex Pistol Steve Jones and also featuring Waters and costars Traci Lords, Ricki Lake, Joe Dallesandro (of Andy Warhol film fame) and James Intveld (Depp’s singing voice in the film and, according to Waters, “the real Hollywood crybaby”). Cry-Baby, a ’50s satire, set Depp free by satirizing his then-imprisoning image as a TV heartthrob.
“Johnny Depp was sick of playing a teen idol; he couldn’t escape an image, so he embraced it and made fun of it,” Waters told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think if you make fun of what the critics are using against you, nobody can ever use it against you again, and they didn’t. I did that in my own career — I raced the critics to the typewriter to call my movie Pink Flamingos a ‘trash classic.'”
The disarmingly self-mocking directing career Waters launched at Dreamland Studios, located in his bedroom at his parents’ house, led to worldwide grosses of about $224 million, almost $7 million more than Depp’s latest film, The Lone Ranger.
“Cry-Baby had the wildest parties on the sets of any of my movies,” said Waters. The outdoor Cry-Baby party was a success too, according to Johnny Ramone’s punkily glamorous widow Linda Ramone.
“This event is something Johnny would have loved,” she said in a statement. “Having these amazing autograph signings and screening cult films — this is what Johnny was all about.”
Johnny Ramone was also one of “The Ten Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” according to Time Magazine. The 9th Johnny Ramone tribute set a new attendance record. Guests included Ramone friends Shepard Fairey, Michael Des Barres, J.D. King, Pete Yorn, George Kotsiopoulos, Joel Madden, Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats), Billy Zoom of X, Keegan Allen, Susan McKagan, Liz Goldwyn, Tennessee Thomas and Justin Chambers.
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