The production crew on Johnny Depp's upcoming film Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge has spoken out about the Hollywood actor's antics on the Australian set, alleging that he was almost always late to set, was under the influence of alcohol frequently and would get into "physical fights" with his then-wife Amber Heard.
"He's not a morning person," began one member of the team, as production chief Sean Bailey added: "There were certainly days when our plans were challenged. But no one should underestimate Johnny's passion and commitment to this character and franchise."
Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, the sources went on to recollect how a production assistant, in an unmarked car, ended up being stationed outside Depp's Queensland accommodation in order to alert the crew when he woke up.
"When he got up, he'd turn on the light, and the moment the light went on they'd call the line producer, who would then call the directors [Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg]: 'He's up! He's getting ready!' " said an informant.
"They even had a special code term, like 'The eagle has landed.' Johnny had no idea this was going on."
Depp's purported heavy drinking on set even led to an altercation between producer Jerry Bruckheimer and his then-agent Tracey Jacobs (who was fired in 2016), stated an unnamed source.
"[Jacobs] went over to Jerry and said, 'You've got to do something! You're the producer.' He said, 'You do something. You're the agent.' Everyone was an innocent bystander watching this train wreck, but when Johnny came on set, he was charming, nice. He's yin and yang."
Not everyone Depp, 53, worked with on Salazar's Revenge corroborates with the claims being made however. Bruckheimer – who has worked with the star in every instalment in the swashbuckling franchise – urged Depp's critics "to understand the kind of pressure [he] was under in Australia. At times helicopters would follow him home. There would be so many media outside his gates that trucks were feeding them."
"There was so much stuff made up about him," Bruckheimer continued. "That Johnny had a fight on set and had gone back to the States, which we both read about while we were in his trailer."
The Alice in Wonderland star came under particularly scrutiny during his time down under after he, and Heard, breached strict quarantine laws. The pair had falsified documents that enabled the smuggling of their two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country when the couple travelled in via their private jet.
Following domestic violence claims, Heard and Depp divorced in August 2016. The latter is now involved in an on-going legal battle with his former representatives, the Management Group, for failing to pay his taxes, make unauthorised loans worth $10 million (£7.7m) and overpaying for services.