Mumbling movie mook mars mountain milieu

About two weeks ago, when she first heard something rooting through her garbage cans after dark, Evergreen resident Brie Kammhem-Behr was annoyed. Sunday night, after she staked out her driveway and caught the culprit in a flashlight’s accusing beam, she became truly frightened.

“At first all I could see was a dark shape hunched over a pile of trash and tearing at a half-eaten Hot-Pocket with its teeth,” she said on Monday morning, still clutching an aluminum baseball bat and clearly shaken. “Then he looked up and snarled at me and his eyes reflected the light like a pair of golden globes. It was Johnny Depp.”

Mook amok.


As unlikely as that sounds, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that Kammhem-Behr’s terrifying discovery may go far toward explaining the sudden rash of over-turned trash cans, frightened household pets and soaring Cutty Sark sales that have plagued central Evergreen during the last three weeks.

“It’s starting to add up,” explains deputy Gilbert Grape, carefully dusting a deeply-chewed, silver-tipped ebony cigarette holder for fingerprints. “A jogger found this in a porta-potty at Evergreen Lake that we think Depp may be using for shelter.”

For one Main Street business owner who wishes to remain anonymous until she’s heard back from her agent, the J.D. sighting provides the missing piece of a messy puzzle.

“Every morning when I come in, the delivery porch is littered with stale croissant ends and Galois butts,” she says. “Now that I know Johnny might be crashing in there, I should be able to get a fortune for them on e-Bay.”

Reached by telephone at his Los Angeles office, film-agent Morey Amsterdam declined to give Depp’s present location, or even say when he and his most illustrious client last spoke. He did confirm, however, that Depp walked off the set of his latest picture, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Planks a Million,” nearly a month ago, putting the project on indefinite hiatus

Still, one must ask what personal demons could drive a celebrity of Depp’s stature to such wretched depths. According to the megastar’s therapist, celebrity headshrinker Dr. Royce Carruthers, the answer is tragically simple.

“Basically, he began to feel snubbed by your community and it sent him around the bend,” Carruthers explains. “He fell in love with your town last year, and did his best to embrace it with his whole heart. He went house-hunting among your beautiful hills, shopped in your quaint groceries, noshed at your local bagelries, even took to walking around your lovely lake early each morning. Yet everybody acted like he wasn’t even there. For a film artist who’s adored by millions, that was intolerable. Medically speaking, he went Froot Loops.”

While the thought of an unhinged Hollywood icon skulking around Evergreen’s quiet neighborhoods is certainly disturbing, it’s not without ample precedent. In late 2002, cinema tough-guy Al Pacino terrorized the quiet township of Cactus Creek, Nev., for nearly a month after the local Bijou closed his latest picture, “The Sense of a Wombat,” after only two weeks. And just last year, Hollywood heavyweight Susan Sarandon, esteemed in industries circles as an actress of great seriousness, spent several days wandering the tiny hamlet of Quaker Oaks, N.H., sleeping in the park and eating from birdfeeders. According to Amsterdam, the episode began when Sarandon learned that the popular half-pound “Susan Saran-Ton” garden burger at Mimi’s Silver Screen Diner in downtown Quaker Oaks had been renamed the “Adam Sandler-wich” after the prominent ham stopped to disburden himself on a dwarf chestnut tree on nearby Rural Route 86.

A Sarandon scorned.


Even now, county personnel are bending their efforts to catching the troubled superstar. Authorities hope that deftly camouflaged snares laid in Dedisse Park and baited with plastic Oscar trophy replicas will snare the two-time nominee so that he can be safely darted and relocated to a less natural environment.

“We don’t want to hurt him,” Grape says. “We just want to end the fear and loathing in Evergreen.”

Do not engage!

Johnny Depp Redux

Our recent exploration of local chatter regarding Johnny Depp prompted numerous readers to contact the newspaper – some positive, some otherwise – and at least two offered clues to the rumors’ origins.

As near as can be determined, the first second-hand Johnny Depp sighting surfaced approximately three months ago. It may be no coincidence that King Soopers cashier Matt Villareal noticed a person matching Depp’s description buying milk, cereal and fruit at his register at about that time.

Have you seen this man?

According to Villareal, an unshaven fellow clad in a stained, gray trench coat and wearing a type of hat often associated with Johnny Depp appeared in the Bergen Park grocery 10 or 12 weeks ago. While shabby shoppers aren’t ordinarily noteworthy, they are when they look suspiciously like famous people and Villareal was immediately struck by the man’s resemblance to Johnny Depp.

“At least two other employees saw him check out, too, and we all thought he looked a lot like Johnny Depp,” Villareal says. “After he paid, I checked the credit card slip but the signature was illegible.” In itself, Villareal’s account is unremarkable. Added to his next statement, however, it could explain a great deal. “This was before all the rumors started, so I pretty much just shrugged the whole thing off.”

But not before sharing the incident freely with their friends and co-workers. Thus, at least three local residents had reason to suspect a brush with greatness on the eve of an epidemic of alleged Johnny Depp sightings. Taken together, they’re what Bill Nye the Science Guy might call a “causal relationship.”

While suggestive, Villareal’s report does nothing to explain the oft-repeated tale that Depp has, or soon will, buy real estate on Upper Bear Creek Road. Fortunately, longtime Upper Bear resident and local Realtor DeWitt Petty offers a plausible theory as to how an unverified Depp sighting became Hollywood West.

Shortly after Villareal’s curious encounter, Petty brokered the sale of a large property on the Clear Creek County end of Upper Bear Creek Road. Freshly infected with the Depp fever, an acquaintance phoned Petty and asked him to confirm her personal belief that the famed actor had purchased the $8 million estate. Whether motivated by commendable professional tact or a keen sense of mischief, Petty equivocated.

“I told her I wasn’t at liberty to tell her that,” Petty says.

What’s not secret is that, when offered a “no comment,” most people immediately attach a mental nudge and a wink to it, and it’s entirely possible that the tales of Depp’s Evergreen house-hunting can be traced directly back to Petty’s inquisitive friend. In any case, the property was sold to a Denver couple with no known cinematic associations.

For his part, Petty finds the gossip machine’s current product especially entertaining in view of a persistent celebrity fiction that’s plagued him for nearly two decades. Some 19 years ago, Petty was interested to learn that the sale of a nearby home was based in part on the strength of its Hollywood pedigree.

“The sellers were telling everybody that Farrah Fawcett used to live there,” Petty says. “As a Realtor, I got curious and did a title search on it.” He wasn’t surprised to discover that the one-time Angel had no more connection to the home than Charlie did, a fact that did nothing to dispel the notion in the popular imagination.

“In the last 19 years, I’ve sold that house three times,” Petty says, “and every time I do, someone says ‘hey, you sold Farrah Fawcett’s house,’ and I always say ‘yeah, I guess I did.’”