George Jung, the notorious smuggler who was famously portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 2001 film Blow, died at age 78 this week.
Jung was infamously linked to Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, and at one point was a pivotal figure in the smuggling of banned substances into the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Depp, speaking to Esquire Middle East over Zoom on Friday, May 7, was heartbroken over the loss of the man he portrayed in the fan-favorite biopic, who he had grown close to when they met as he prepared to play him in the film, and in the years after its release.
“You know, I can only see George with a big f***ing smile on his face,” Depp tells Esquire Middle East.
“Truly it's a huge loss, because that man lived life with no qualms about [anything]. I mean, he was fearless. He was very special man,” Depp continues.
“Yeah, he taught me a whole lot. He was a very special guy. He was the prison philosopher.”
Jung was released from prison in 2014 after serving nearly 20 years for smuggling. At the time of his death, he had been working on a documentary about his life which Depp appears in.
Depp was also famously close friends with another man he played in a biopic, the famed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who died in 2005. After his death, Depp personally arranged and paid for Thompson’s ashes to be fired out of a cannon.
The gesture for Thompson reportedly cost $3 million, though Depp has reportedly said the price was closer to $5 million.
Depp’s next film is also a biopic, a film entitled Minamata about famed photographer W. Eugene Smith and his exposure of the mercury poisoning scandal that rocked Japan and the world in the mid-1970s.
“There's certain films I've done where I know I’m working on something very special,” Depp tells Esquire Middle East about Minamata, which is planned for a July release in the UAE.
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