Australia’s deputy prime minister boasted that he had got into Johnny Depp’s head like fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter after the Hollywood actor quipped that the ruddy-faced lawmaker appeared to be “inbred with a tomato.”
The exchange spanning half the globe is the latest in a war of words that started a year ago when Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have Depp’s pet dogs, Boo and Pistol, put down.
Joyce bluntly said it was time the Yorkshire terriers that had been illegally smuggled into Australia “buggered off back to the United States”.
The 52-year-old actor’s wife Amber Heard pleaded guilty in a court last month to falsifying documents to conceal the pets when she arrived by private jet to join her husband. The couple videoed a deadpan apology as part of a deal with prosecutors that allowed Heard to avoid a conviction.
Depp referred to Joyce as Barnaby Jones, the television detective played by Buddy Ebsen, while discussing the case on the US talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“He looks somehow inbred with a tomato,” Depp told Kimmel. “It’s not a criticism. No, I was a little worried. He might explode.”
Joyce, who is campaigning ahead of July 2 elections, said he had moved on from his dispute with Depp.
“I’m inside his head, I’m pulling little strings and pulling little levers. Long after I’ve forgotten about Mr. Depp, he’s remembering me,” Joyce said. “I’m turning into his Hannibal Lecter,” Joyce added.
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