Remember when Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen) explained the knife-fight rules to Jim Stark (James Dean) in Nicholas Ray‘s Rebel Without A Cause? “Now there’s no stabbing,” Buzz said. “Just a little sticking.”

A half day ago Rolling Stone published “The Trouble With Johnny Depp“, which is subtitled “Multimillion-dollar lawsuits, a haze of booze and hash, a marriage gone very wrong and a lifestyle he can’t afford — inside the trials of Johnny Depp.” It was written by the smooth and silky Stephen Rodrick. Less than exacting but a hugely skilled writer, Rodrick is no assassin. But he likes to “stick” his subjects with little cuts.

I know because he profiled me in a 2009 Los Angeles piece titled “the Blog Whisperers.” He implied something that struck me as unfair, and there were three or four inaccuracies. Rodrick also stuck it to Bill Maher, slightly, in a 2017 Esquire profile.

I could’ve told Depp to watch out before agreeing to Rodrick visiting his home in London. I’m not suggesting Rodrick hasn’t reported exactly what he saw and heard. Depp is almost certainly the louche, vaguely ruined fellow described in the piece, a guy who lives in his own psychological realm and who slurps red wine like it’s going out of style.

I love this early passage:

“Depp is dressed like a Forties gangster, jet-black hair slicked back, pinstripes, suspenders and spats. His face is puffy, but Depp still possesses the fixating brown eyes that have toggled between dreamy and menacing during his 35-year career.” Technically 34 years — Deep’s first film was Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street (’84), made when he was 20.

“‘So are you here to hear the truth?’ asks Depp as [his chef] Russell brings him a glass of vintage red wine. ‘It’s full of betrayal.’

“We move to the dining room for a three-course meal of pad thai, duck and gingerbread with berries. Depp sits at the head of the table and motions toward some rolling papers and two equal piles of tobacco and hash, and asks if I mind. I don’t. He pauses for a second. ‘Well, let’s drink some wine first.’

“This goes on for 72 hours.

“It had taken a month and almost 200 e-mails for the message to become clear: Come to London; Johnny Depp wants to bare his soul about his empty bank accounts.

“It’s estimated that Depp has made $650 million on films that netted $3.6 billion. Almost all of it is gone.

“He’s suing The Management Group, run by his longtime business manager, Joel Mandel, and his brother Robert for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. The suit cites, among other things, that under TMG’s watch Depp’s sister Christi was given $7 million and his assistant, Nathan Holmes, $750,000, without his knowledge, and that he has paid the IRS more than $5.6 million in late fees. (Most of the ire is directed toward Joel, who had day-to-day responsibility for Depp’s account.) There are additional charges of conflict of interest, saying that TMG invested Depp’s money for its own purposes and returned it without profit.”

What a mess.