Johnny Depp on David Letterman talking about Tonto

Published June 28, 2013 by Sandee

native american

These people were trampled by the white man, David Letterman and Johnny Depp    say — exploited.  Johnny Depp’s hoping he’s done a fine representation of the native American character, to have the character fleshed out beyond the humiliating side-kick role for which Tonto’s traditionally known.

Johnny Depp says he spent time with native Americans on their reservations and got their approval.  Go see the movie, it’s wildly entertaining says David Letterman.  There’s a slap-sticky clip where this ‘noble’ version of Tonto outsmarts a white man as they ride the top of a train.  I don’t recall the exact choreography, but it’s something like Tonto ducks and the white man gets it.  Wow.

Do I have to tell you about the 800 lb gorilla?  These people who have been trampled, exploited by the white man, can’t even get a role playing one of themselves.  Hm!

Really.  How do David Letterman and Johnny Depp talk about how evolved this role is with straight faces?

Or is it that Johnny Depp is one of the thousands of Americans claiming to be that exotica called “a quarter part Cherokee?”  Bahahaha!

Oh and what’s up with that brown pin-striped suit JD wears in every photograph he’s in lately?

I’d respect you more if you didn’t talk about all that nobility crap, and just took your money and went home.


14 comments on “Johnny Depp on David Letterman talking about Tonto

  • “These people who have been trampled, exploited by the white man, can’t even get a role playing one of themselves.” … Yes yes and yes!!!! What a shame the stuff Hollywood is selling us. A load of bs, if you ask me.

  • It’s an old story that will keep getting rehashed until someone realizes that it actually is demeaning for someone who doesn’t belong to a particular racial group to represent that racial group onscreen. It’s removing voice and agency from that group, letting someone else speak for them. I’m sure Depp does a fine job (he’s good enough to play a rock and make it believable), and I’m sure he’s relatively authentic (compared to the original Tonto, at least). But it still smacks of blackface to have a white man play a Native American.

    • This is why it surprised me also, because Johnny Depp is a really good artist and I thought he had some integrity.

      It is demeaning for someone to play another race. Another thing that always gets to me is that Dominican character in the remake of Shaft who is played by a quote unquote African American (I hate that phrase but just am using it for clarity — I like “black”). Part of that movie was shot in upper Manhattan where I grew up. There are thousands of Dominicans in the area. I’m sure there are quite a few Dominican actors they could have used. The bottom line is the dineros.

      • I use African American all the time, but I don’t like it either. It takes away from the very political reasons a lot of black people began using the term “black” in the first place (plus it’s easier to say/type black). Obama is one of the few people who can genuinely be called African American–he has actual, current African heritage. I don’t go around calling myself Irish American just because previous generations of my family came from there.

            • True. I met him when I used to do the events at the Riverside Church of New York, one of Rockefeller’s endeavors. He’s really tall and very teflon-ey — he’s got a veneer — very political of course. From the podium at the church I saw him looking at my legs — hahaha! I gotta say I didn’t understand (not because of his speech impediment) a word of what he was saying — went over my head I guess.

  • I thought of that when I heard that they were casting Johnny Depp as Tonto: Really? Were there no ACTUAL native Americans to play that role?? It’s pretty obvious they just went with the big ticket actor, and although Johnny Depp is a good actor, it’s not really appropriate. It’s a shame, Hollywood could have done the right thing here.

    • I guess it’s hard to pass up the big bucks. I’m just surprised that a lot of people just go along with this ‘representation’. I happen to love David Letterman (he’s such an imp!), and I’m surprised that he went along with the whole Johnny Depp’s doing a service to the native American thing. Oh well! I still think Johnny Depp’s a talented artist either way.

  • You hit the nail on the head with this.
    On the other hand, acting is acting, that’s why people can play people they are not. I am not against casting however one needs to cast, but yes, this is a jaded stab at money-grabbing. We get shoveled a lot of crap at the movies and likely Depp should shut his fucking mouth, what he says is sheer hubris and comes from a privileged place he seems to forget he’s in.

    • I did think about the fact that actors are who they are because they can ‘act’ like somebody they aren’t. Johnny Depp’s a talented artist — I don’t refer to all actors as artists — some are merely entertainers, etc. But I know he’s one of those few ‘gods’ out there that do get a free pass. I read a comment where the person says, “He’s Johnny Fucking Depp, give it a break.” That’s the mentality of a lot of people.

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