Surprisingly, the filmmakers had little difficulty getting the star to agree to the cameo and they spoke to Moviefone about not only writing the part, but how the superstar behaved during his one day on the set.
Screenwriter Michael Bacall, who developed the movie’s story with star Jonah Hill, reveals that Johnny Depp‘s cameo was always a goal since Depp starred as Officer Tom Hansen on the original television series. Bacall says, “Jonah wanted to approach Johnny Depp very early in the process. It took a while, but we kinda heard through the grapevine that he might be interested in it.”
Depp was interested, but under one condition: he wanted to end the story of his character Tom Hanson in a very permanent way.
“It is such a funny idea,” Bacall explains, “Huge credit to him for having that idea. Then we just immediately took that ball and ran with it, and wanted to take it as far as we could.”
Phil Lord, one of the film’s co-directors, confesses that although Depp was only on set for one day his impact on the production was immediate.
He says, “That was our third day on the set. Basically, on a movie set that we were supposed to be in charge, you realize how not in charge of anything you are. How crazy that can make a set. And then you realize instantly why someone like that is such a big movie star. He walks on set, there’s no smoking on set. ‘OK, no problem.’ He’s smoking. You’re like, ‘Of course!’ That’s what makes him awesome.” And although Depp wouldn’t put out his cigarette (much like his idol Keith Richards, who openly smokes on stage when the Rolling Stones tour New York despite the city’s “no indoor smoking in a public venue” policies), Lord has nothing but praise for Depp, saying, “Such a creative guy. Such a genuine person, great improviser. Game. Doesn’t take himself so seriously. It was like, ‘I understand why he makes a kajillion dollars.’ He’s awesome. Everything you would hope for in a movie star, he’s it.”