The crowd to see Johnny Depp walk the West of Memphis red carpet was easily the craziest, biggest crowd I've seen at this year's TIFF (sorry Ryan Gosling!).
Over an hour before the documentary – which is an ongoing piece of investigative journalism on the West Memphis three – there was already hundreds of fans crammed around the Ryerson theatre. Not only were they all pressed against the barriers, but they had also lined up on the other side of Gerrard Street and climbed on top of lights and pillars, hoping to catch a glance of the blockbuster star.
This was the first red carpet that I've seen police on – that's how many fans were present. Or maybe also because Depp fans seem a little bit more rabid than the rest of the stargazers.
Many came with their own art of the actor. There was even a little boy (maybe 5 years old) who was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow and propped up on his father's shoulders. All of this seemed a little strange since this isn't a documentary about Johnny Depp. West of Memphis, directed by Amy Berg, searches for reasons why three men were falsely convicted of the gruesome deaths of three boys. The doc examines abuse of powers and inept policing and confronts the fact that there is still a child killer on the loose. It's dark stuff, not exactly the setting for smiley photos and cheery autograph sessions.
But this didn't stop the Depp-heads.
The moment Depp, who has been a long-time advocate of the now-freed West Memphis three, stepped out of the car, it was chaos. Shrill screams from the fans. Some crying. Lots of "JOHNNY COME OVER HERE PPPPPLLLLLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE!"
With only a few minutes before the documentary screening was set to begin, it reached a climax. Depp stepped away from media interviews and walked over the crowd to feverishly sign as many autographs as possible. Maybe two minutes into this, a woman came bursting through the media pit barriers. It was all kind of a blur but it's clear that the young woman, who had long wavy black hair and a red and yellow scarf, got out onto the carpet and touched Depp before getting tackled by security and dragged off the carpet.
Before any media could get their cameras turned around (everyone was still interviewing other people in documentary), the woman was gone. No word on charges yet.