The old charge that Australians don’t get irony looks set to be revived today, after Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard released a sarcastic video apologizing for bringing their pet dogs illegally into Australia, which the former Minister For Agriculture took at face value and immediately posted on his facebook page.
Johnny Depp famously channeled Keith Richards to play Captain Jack Sparrow and Anna Wintour to play Charlie and the Chocolate factories Willy Wonka.
For his latest appearance - playing a remorse-stricken Hollywood star making a public apology to the Australian people for illegally importing his pet dogs into Australia – he appears to be taking inspiration from Marlon Brando (whom he worked with in the movie Don Juan de Marco) to play an enigmatic border guard warning tourists not to 'disrespect' Australians by disrespecting their laws.
The masterful, utterly deadpan performance, delivered alongside his pretty actress wife Amber Heard (who perhaps has slightly more trouble withholding a snigger) was bought lock stock and barrel by an Australian court who showed mercy on the couple today.
At a mobbed court hearing in Australia which the couple had flown in from Hawaii to attend, Heard plead guilty to making a false statement on her immigration card about the couple's Yorkshire terriers.
Boo and Pistol were brought undeclared, into the country on board a private jet while Depp – who appeared to fall asleep in the court room, according to reports – was filming the fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
In the brilliantly sarcastic video – which agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, who has led the so-called #waronterriers immediately posted on his facebook page – the couple speak directly to camera.
“Australia is a wonderful island, with a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and people,” Heard, 29, says in the video.
Depp says “it has to be protected”, and adds, “when you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly.”
Heard apologises in the video, saying “I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important.”
Depp ends the video saying: “Declare everything when you enter Australia.”
He then gives a firm nod of the head which manages to undermine everything that has gone before while outwardly appearing to do the opposite.
It's a Johnny Depp masterclass, basically.
At the time the incident provoked a war of words with Australia's then-agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, who said the dogs should "bugger off back to the United States" or risk being put down.
Mr Depp fired back, referring to Mr Joyce as some kind of "sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia". In the new video he more diplomatically says "Australians are both warm and direct."
Proceedings were much more civil in court. Although the case is likely to have cost Heard and Depp, who embraced as the verdict was read out, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.