Johnny Depp opened up at the Toronto Film Festival about his own experience getting bullied as a youngster

By Michael Miller
Updated September 14, 2015 04:45 PM
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

When it comes to dealing with schoolyard bullies, Johnny Depp has something in common with the fearsome mob boss he plays in Black Mass.

During a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, Depp was asked about a scene from the film, in which his character, Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, tells his son that it’s okay to fight back against bullies as long as he doesn’t get caught.

“It’s not what you do, it’s when and where you do it,” Bulger instructs his son in the film.

“Me, myself, I didn’t find it at all strange,” the actor told interviewers about the fatherly advice.

“I remember when I was a kid and I was little, like maybe 6 years old or something like that, there was a little horror at the school who was kind of needling me or whatever, and I think I told my mom or something,” he continued.

“I come from nothing but hillbillies, and my mom said to me, ‘All right here’s the deal, next time anybody puts their hands on you, pick up a brick and lay them out.’ ”

Conceding that this lesson “says a lot about a lot,” in terms of his Kentucky upbringing, Depp says that he’s nevertheless “taken that advice ever since” because “it worked for me.”

“If somebody tried to bully my kid, if they didn’t destroy the little booger, I would.”