The bizarre story of how Johnny Depp pranked Marlon Brando with a fart machine

Given that  is deemed one of the most influential actors in Hollywood history, his legacy carries specific assumptions as a serious and committed professional. However, this didn’t stop the occasional joke from entering the set from time to time. Having pranked many of his co-stars and additional film figures over the years, Brando had built something of a reputation. As any prankster will know, that sort of behaviour can put you in the firing line of revenge: enter Johnny Depp. 

Depp shared his experience of prankingstar in his introduction to in 2005, regaling a bizarre story that doesn’t align with Brando’s onscreen persona whatsoever. “Of all levels of connection, the most consistent was humour. Humour, often meaning practical jokes,” Depp writes of his time with Brando, . “There was no one more gifted in this arena or as skilled a craftsman as Marlon.”

He added: “He possessed the sense of humour—which we both shared—of a child. I once asked him why it was that farts were always funny. He replied, ‘Because they are blatantly anti-social.'”

The actor also reveals that Brando called him and asked if he was interested in taking on a small part in a film set in Ireland, asking him to take a look at a script. Depp recounts how Brando kept the details small, telling him not to overthink it as he would be playing a journalist from  magazine in New York. This is the moment Depp seized as his chance to get back at Brando “after a couple of years of being on the receiving end of (his) practical jokes”.

Depp arrived at Brando’s house to discuss the shooting plans over dinner and was welcomed in with warmth and enthusiasm. However, what Brando didn’t know was that Depp had “hidden in (his) pocket a brilliant little rubber device that, once mastered and properly lubricated, would emit the most genuine-sounding farts in the history of counterfeit fart noises”.

Throughout the night, Depp pressed the device to make a fart sound at random moments, tossing a comment about eating something weird to add to the joke. Brando remained polite on the matter, keeping his responses to a low. However, with every designated time Depp pressed the button, the star could not hold back. “I kept him going for a good half-hour and only let up when his laughter turned to an expression of worry and he was reaching for the phone to get a doctor,” Depp shared. “‘Ah…that’s not normal, John, you’re not well. You’re sick. You’re ripping about three beauties a minute and…ah that’s just not right.'”

Eventually, Depp exposed the actual culprit of the noises, bringing “the smile of a five-year-old” onto Brando’s face. In an extra twist, Depp then gifted him the fart unit, which led to the veteran actor claiming: “I’ve found God!”. The star said that they “were both winners as the fart machine became a source of entertainment for many years”.

Once the joke settled, Brando then got back to business, telling the young film star they would “begin shooting the film on (the following) Monday” and that Depp “would need to meet the director” the next day. Brando then asked Depp how his accent was coming along, which shocked an unknowing Depp who had no idea what he was talking about.

Brando replied: “‘The Dublin accent. Didn’t you read the script? You’re playing a reporter from Dublin!'” 

“I, officially, now had less than a day and a half to come up with a decent Irish accent before 5am Monday,” Depp added. “Marlon nearly split himself in two, laughing. He’d been planning this rotten trick for months.” Despite Depp’s efforts, Brando got the last laugh in one of about him.

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