Why Was Johnny Depp Not Credited in “Tusk”? Explained

johnny depp tusk

Ever since the domestic abuse allegations against him, Johnny Depp has become a frequently mentioned name among the masses. Thus, there has been a greater interest in his life, which naturally includes the artist’s work as well. One of the movies that wasn’t so much in the public eye upon its release, is Kevin Smith’s “Tusk” from 2014. Johnny Depp appeared in the movie but it would seem that he wasn’t credited at all. Let’s see why Johnny Depp wasn’t credited in Tusk.

Johnny Depp wasn’t credited in Tusk because it could have caused problems between Depp and his agents if he was involved in such a small-scale role. Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp took the safer route and simply didn’t credit him. Johnny Depp starred in “Tusk”, playing the role of Guy Lapointe (a hunter from Quebec), without being credited or signing a contract of any kind with the company. In the words of Kevin Smith, the writer, and director of “Tusk”  (who thought of sending the inquiry to Depp, to begin with), Johnny Depp was fascinated by the story and greatly enthusiastic to star alongside Michael Parks.

“Tusk” is a horror comedy written and directed by Kevin Smith. The movie was distributed by A24 and is based on one of the stories from Smith’s SModcast podcast. The role in question was originally intended for Quentin Tarantino, but he refused to appear in the film thinking he was offered a different role. Smith, who is a fan of Johnny Depp’s work, thought of asking him if he would be interested in joining the project. In Smith’s words, the studio he worked with wasn’t overly optimistic about such a global star merely stating they would appear in the picture without any written guarantees, but Smith stated that he was willing to pay out of his own pocket in case the oral agreement wasn’t honored.

As it turned out, Johnny Depp was shooting “Mortdecai” in England at the time, while his movie “Transcendence” had just hit the cinemas that same year, so it wasn’t really pivotal for him to star in “Tusk” (which is a movie of a smaller scale as is). Furthermore, much like Kevin Smith depicts in one of the interviews he gave, for such a huge movie star to do a movie of a small scale and a plot that is everything but a box-office success or a public favorite would most likely cause a disagreement between Depp and his agent at the time. Even though one is well-established among their peers and the public, career-related decisions are still made with a lot of thought, so it could be a safe bet to say that Johnny Depp would not have appeared in that film if crediting was involved.


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Formalities aside, this turn of events is more so the result of Johnny Depp’s personality, than it is of the impact reputation and money have on the artist when it comes to his work. To second this, we’ll again rely on the words of the man who directed him in “Tusk” and who even thought to cast him in the first place – Kevin Smith. As he mentioned in a different interview, “I am drawn to strong personalities, people who know exactly who they are.” This is what made him think of Depp after Quentin Tarantino had refused to star in the movie.

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Johnny Depp in “Tusk” (2014)

Looking at his career from the very beginning, Johnny Depp caught the attention of the masses through his side role in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” back in 1984, followed by a small role in “Platoon” in 1985, which resulted in him signing a 5-year contract with Fox for a leading role in their new TV series, “21 Jump Street”. Even though he was a “struggling actor” at the time, he wasn’t keen on taking up the leading role and had to be persuaded not to let such an opportunity go.

As described in “Johnny Depp Documentary”, he was talked into accepting it and allegedly hoped that the show wouldn’t last. With the success of the show, his fame increased and leaned towards a certain image being built in the media. An image he fought and refused to have next to his name.


Starring in movies such as “CryBaby”, “Dead Man”, “Benny & Joon”, “Ed Wood”, “Arizona Dream” and others alike, not only did he display his range as an actor, but also made it apparent that the decisions he makes are guided by his ambition, preference, and affinities more often than they are by stardom and popularity. 

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Johnny Depp and martin Landau in “Ed Wood” (1994)

To help depict Depp’s personality, one can also view one of his interviews on the Graham Norton Show, where he speaks of his dear late friend, Hunter S. Thompson. The artist stated how Thompson asked for his ashes to be shot out of a canon by Depp, as “he knew (Depp) was the only one stupid enough to make that happen.” (and Johnny Depp did make it happen…) He seems to always display great respect and devotion to those he idolizes and those dear to him, which he even expresses through his art, as his first collection of artworks was dedicated precisely to those very people, titled “Friends & Heroes”.

Following the timeline of his professional life, the devotion he expressed for the things and people he admires, those whose work he appreciates, and those who had an impact on him, it is no surprise that Johnny Depp would go out of his way if need be, in order to take part in a project that relates to something of such importance to him.


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In fact, Kevin Smith stated in nearly every interview he made about the movie “Tusk” that Johnny Depp thanked him for the opportunity and was especially humbled when Smith was willing to adjust the filming to his (at the time) busy schedule. Quoting again how Depp responded that “if (Smith) could do that for him, that would mean so much to him.”

As a fan of Michael Parks in addition to being intrigued and taking a fancy to Smith’s project, Johnny Depp starred in Tusk without being credited. We could say he did it as a passion project, as the movies that are considered “odd-ones-out”, which seem to pique his interest, aren’t often presented to those who enjoy great stardom, and if we turn to Kevin Smith once again, Johnny Depp seemed to “miss doing weird s#it.”

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Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp in “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” (1998)
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