Johnny Depp China Trip Sparks Fan Frenzy, Media Angst

Superstar makes first ever visit to Beijing

HONG KONG — Johnny Depp’s first ever visit to China this week was a two day feast of fan events and media frenzy. Not all was smooth going, but probably most was good publicity for the superstar and his film “Transcendence,” which hits Chinese theaters on April 18.

Depp began by meeting some 300 journalists and later shot a TV special for Zhejiang TV, before attending an evening red carpet event.

A subsequent show with Sina TV, the video arm of internet giant Sina.com, was cancelled when it emerged that many fans had fake admission tickets and hundreds more were trying to get in to the venue, a former warehouse in the 798 art district. “It was a matter of security for Johnny and for the fans themselves,” a spokesman for DMG told Variety.

The cancellation kicked off a social media flurry on (Sina-owned) Weibo – much of it directed at DMG rather than Depp — and was also picked up by state broadcaster CCTV. But it may just possibly have been a case of inter-media rivalry in a high stakes week for China’s consumer media and Hollywood star spotters.

The same week also included visits to Beijing by “The Amazing Spider Man 2” team of Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield and Jamie Fox and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” stars Scarlett Johannson, Chris Evans and Samuel Jackson.

The second step of Depp’s tour was characterized as a learning day. Depp discussed many of the scientific and technical aspects of the movie with fans, and later embarked on some learning of his own – a little Mandarin, some calligraphy and a three hour walk around ‘hutongs’ (alleyways) and the curiosity shops they contain.

Depp also got to meet local film stars including Ge You (“Let The Bullets Fly”) and Wu Xiu Bo (“Finding Mr Right”) before jamming with David Tao on a cover of the 1990s Chinese rock classic “Yi Wu Suo You.”

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