tv CNN Presents CNN October 22, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
it's not known if any debris has struck land. scientists say europe, africa and australia right now are safe but they're not sure exactly where it did hit. i'm deb feyerick in for don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. thank you for spending part of your saturday here with us. i will see you right back here tomorrow night, 6:00, 7:00, and tomorrow night, 6:00, 7:00, and 10:00 eastern. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com stars in the world, one of the most acclaimed actors of our time. tonight johnny depp, the man who rarely grants interviews, sits down with me and opens up about his fame. >> it's the card i drew so i'll deal with it, that's fine. it doesn't mean every single moment you have to be sort of okay with it. >> his family. >> i don't want my kids to company me as a novelty. i want me kids to know me as dad. >> he's a wolf man.
he'd give you anything. >> plus, we'll go on a tour of his private office, memorabilia and his paintings. it's all ahead on this larry king special: johnny depp. >> we're sitting here in johnny depp's office, an office like none i have ever seen. later we'll get a chance to explore it a little. lease one of most celebrated and versatile actors of his generation. his new movie "rum diary "will open october 28th, the only novel written by hunter s. thompson. you don't do many things like this. do you not like to be interviewed? >> no, i'm just not very good at it, you know. never have been very good at it. >> why not? >> i don't know. you know, there's a strange thing, i'm okay when i'm a character, if i'm playing a
character, i can do virtually anything in front of a camera. but if i'm just me, i feel, you know, exposed and it feels awkward. >> we won't expose you. >> okay. >> do you like being other people? >> yeah, i do. i do because i'm fascinated with people. i mean, i'm fascinated -- i like to watch people and that's the one sort of thing as an actor in terms of job necessity is the ability to be able to watch people, to observe, to be observer. as a journalist, to observe. and it's one of my favorite things, to sort of pick apart, you know, various traits. >> marlon brando told me one of the problems is when you get very well known, they're observing you. so you're not observing them really. >> exactly. that becomes the problem. you become the focus of others, so therefore your ability to
observe is tainted and it's a little bit -- it changes quite radically. >> how did you go from guitar to acting? >> accident. >> how did it happen? >> i moved to los angeles in 1983 and was living here, you know, playing music. and we did a couple of good gigs, the band and stuff and went on the road for a little bit and that was all fine. but in terms of making a living, it was pretty close to the bone there. so i was filling out job applications for just various like video stores or anywhere, you know, and i happened to be with an old buddy of mine, nicolas cage, who was then coming up the ranks. he said why don't you just -- i think you should meet my agent, you should investigate acting. >> you hadn't thought of it? >> no, not really, no.
so i met his agent. she sent me to read for a part and got a call back and then they hired me for the gig. that was the first "nightmare on elm street," 1983 or '84. >> did you like it right away? >> no. >> it was a job? >> it was just a gig and i thought this will get me through until, you know, the music picks up or whatever. so i just -- the first two or three, four films to me were just, you know, a lark. to make some dough. >> would you rather have been a musician? >> in retrospect no, you know. in retrospect no. i suppose had that become my bread and butter, as they say, the main gig, i would have probably fallen out of love with it on some level and i still to this day, you know, i have the same love, you know, first love feeling for music as i did when
i was 12. >> do you play? >> all the time, yeah, constantly. still. >> how did you react to getting famous? >> i'm still reacting, you know. i'm still sort of dealing with it. i don't think it's anything you ever get used to, you know. for many years i could never sort of put my name in the same sort of category as the word famous or anything like that. i just found it very uncomfortable. so it's weird. it's something like if you -- i'll find if you get used to it then something must be wrong, if you get used to that constant kind of thing, something's got to be wrong. there's got to be still a part of you that somewhere in there that pines for anonymity. >> alan alda told me once he doesn't like giving autographs because he feels it demeans the person asking for the autograph,
put them on a lower level. brando didn't like much being photographed. you don't being photographed? >> i suppose like, for example, when you're doing something organized like a photo shoot, essentially -- i made a faux pas, there was a piece in "vanity fair" where i should have used the word violated; however, in my lack of vocabulary in the moment i used another word, which i've apologized for radically but the thing with doing a photo shoot, that's sort of an organized thing. you feel dumb, okay, but you just get through it. but what i find still to this day like an attack on the senses is really just being bomb brded by paparazzis. i'll take photographs with kids,
people who want to take photographs with me, people who like the movies, people who have supported me, i'll do that all day, all night. that's fiend ne. that's fine. but the bombardment of the paparazzi -- >> what do they get out of it? they take your picture and then they take it a minute later. it's not any different than a minute before. >> and it's not any different than the year before. >> what do you think it is? >> i truly don't understand it. i think it must be just this kind of -- i don't know. it just feels like this kind of gluttonous, horrific sport. it's like a sport. it's like hunting or something. >> do you therefore go out of your way to try to avoid them? >> yeah, i try to avoid any and all press, especially of that nature. yeah. i don't want my kids to experience me as a novelty. i want my kids to know me as dad.
already they have access to the internet or whatever, they understand what the deal is. but i don't want them to have to live through and experience that kind of attack, you know. >> so what do you do when you go out to eat? >> i don't go out very much, you know. i stay at home a lot. or when you go out to eat, it becomes a strategic sort of plan. okay, we're going in the back. we're going to walk through the slippery kitchen and go into the private room or that kind of thing. >> it's a tough way to live. >> you know, i suppose it's the card i drew so i'll deal with it, that's fine. but it doesn't mean that every single moment you have to be sort of okay with it. i certainly am not one of those guys, you know, can't stand the idea of one of those guys who whines about, you know, oh how horrible success is. i do realize and understand very
well on a profound level how lucky i am and what a privileged position it is and what it's done ultimately for me, my family and my kids. but at the same time, you know, there are moments in a man's life when you just kind of want to feel somewhat normal, you know? >> he's one of the biggest stars in the world but it wasn't always that way. >> i had been essentially known within the confines of hollywood as box office poison. basically i built a career on 20 years of failures. >> plus later, johnny shows me the inside of his private office. it's an up close and personal look at a johnny depp you will not want to miss when this larry king special "johnny depp" returns. hey, i'm troy polamalu, and i owe my great hair to head & shoulders. it gives me a healthy scalp and great looking hair. you making fun of me? no. you making fun of me?
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>> he's absolutely right. >> so you consider yourself lucky. >> very lucky. >> but you have to have talent to meet the luck, right? >> someone hands you the ball and you run. and if you get hit, you get hit. or maybe you make it through. you never know. i just know that somebody handed me the ball at a certain point and i was hungry enough to keep running and i'm still running. >> what do you think makes you good at what you do? you have to think you're good. >> i'm okay. >> you don't watch yourself, right? >> i don't, no. i don't like to watch myself. i think, you know, i maintain a hunger but not an ambition. you know, i -- i'm very happy to
explore all possibilities of a character and really, you know, dive in to the role, to the point of where disney wanted to fire me. >> they wanted to fire you from pirates? >> yeah. >> because? >> they didn't understand what i was doing. they didn't understand the character. they were contemplating subtitling the film. >> we'll always remember this as the day that you almost caught captain jack. >> what are you doing? you burned all the food, the rum. >> yes, the rum is gone. >> why is the rum gone? >> ever turned down something you regretted? >> no. >> no? >> don't regret any of it, no. anything i turned down -- weirdly it was more important what i turned down than what i accepted in terms of film. >> for your own happiness?
>> mm-hmm. >> so even if it became a hit? >> pirates was an accident to me. "pirates of the caribbean," the first one in 2003, i had essentially known within the confines of hollywood as box office poison. basically i'd built a career on 20 years of failures. >> did it surprise you, its success? >> hugely. yeah. i had no idea. >> you going to do more? >> you know, it depends. >> does it ever become maybe too much? >> not yet, you know. not yet for me. i mean maybe to the masses, i don't know. maybe. i don't know. i still feel like in terms of character captain jack is one that i'd like to explore. >> he's still evolving? >> yeah. because he's fun, you know. it's fun. it's a license to be totally and utterly irreverent and get away
with it. >> he's going to age then. >> well, i suppose he'll have to. >> discuss some others, some incredible roles you've played, "edward scissor hands." >> probably the most important role i've done just in terms of the transition for me from pacically at the time being known as having come up the ranks as a tv actor essentially in the minds of hollywood. scissor hands was the one that put me on the road that i wanted to be on. so for me that's probably the most important at all. >> mad hatter. >> a gas. just a gas. it's one of those things where you get a call from tim and he says "what do you think about this?" and you just start to travel. >> you just did "dark shadows," right? >> yes. >> that was a soap opera as a vampire. what attracted to you that? >> i watched it as a kid
religiously. i remember sprinting home from school. i didn't want to miss like a minute of it. and ironically tim had gone through the same experience, running home from school. and then back when we were doing sweeney, doing "sweeney todd," a couple years ago, one day we were just sitting there talking and i said we should do a vampire movie sometime, let's do a vampire movie. it was before the "twilight" and we said oh, dark shadows, man. >> was willy wonka fun? >> oh, really fun. >> do you have to enjoy it to do it? >> i think you have to. it has to be fun. the process itself must be fun. you have to enjoy what you're doing. and as we all know, as well as i
do, it's a collaborative process. it's not just let's chuck the actor in front of the camera. there are many people behind the scenes that make it all go. so i would find it really a drag if they stick me out in front of the camera and the guys behind the camera weren't having a good time, too. all i do is try to make them laugh. still ahead, johnny talks about his famous co-stars and friends. >> al pacino. >> he says i'm nuts but he's like certifiably nuts. >> marlon brando. >> we got along like a house on fire. you never knew what to expect of him. >> and he was without question i think the most important non-fiction writer of the 20th century. >> plus, get a tour of his private office. just wait till you see what's in there. but first, after supporting him for years, johnny opens up on
the release of the west memphis three. >> did you have anybody saying, oh, johnny, you're going out on a limb on a thing like this? >> oh, yeah. >> find out why when this larry king special "johnny depp" continues. [ man ] i got this citi thank you card and started earning loads of points. you got a weather balloon with points? yes, i did. [ man ] points i could use for just about anything. ♪ keep on going in this direction. take this bridge over here. there it is. [ man ] so i used mine to get a whole new perspective. ♪ [ male announcer ] write your story with the citi thankyou premier card, with no point caps, and points that don't expire. get started at thankyoucard.citi.com.
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the release of the memphis three? you got involved in that battle. you did a whole show on it. >> yeah. >> we had them on. they're still not -- they're guilty. they're out but it's crazy. >> it's a very strange thing the state of arkansas presented to them, essentially to say, okay, all you have to do is say that we have the evidence to convict you again and -- but will do time served and you're out. admitting guilt, maintaining your innocence. so it's a really floppy piece of ground to stand on. >> why did you get involved? >> because i knew immediately when i first started to get -- kind of familiarize myself with the case, i knew instantly that they were innocent. i knew instantly that they were wrongfully accused. the more research i did and the more people i spoke to, it was absolutely apparent.
>> did you have anybody say to you, johnny, you're going out on a limb on a thing like that? >> oh, yeah. a lot of people. >> what if they did it? it would look bad. >> there was that kind of thing, yeah. but i just knew, i just knew. it was ugly and a raw deal from the get-go back in '93. and you're thinking of these three kids, one, damon ekles on death row for ten years in isolation for a crime he did not commit. >> do you think obama should pardon them? >> i mean, i think it would be wonderful. i think he's got a few other things on his mind at the moment but yeah. what i'm hoping is the investigation will continue outside the course right now and that we will be able to prove the real killers. >> back to some roles. one i want to play a little clip for you here. because you did one of my all
time favorite movies with one of my dear friends al pacino. that was of course "donnie brasco." >> watching with johnny depp -- >> i love him. >> what makes him special? >> yeah, yeah. he's done so many things. he's gone from a to z. it's his gifts, really his gifts. as a personality and as a person, i just loved him. i loved being with him because he made me laugh every day i was there. and he's a little nuts, too. >> he's nuts? >> yeah. he'll say i'm nuts but he's really nuts. but he's nuts in that way that he's just fun to be with. >> you the same way toward him? >> yeah. although when you're working with pacino, you know he's great. of course you lock in like he said and you're in the scene. but as soon as cut comes you go jesus christ, man, wow, he's
monumental. >> he said you're nuts. >> he might be right. he said i'm nuts but he's really -- he's like certifiably nuts and one of the funniest human beings i've ever known in my life. >> pacino to brando. there's a puzzling aspect of your life. you starred in a movie with brando that we've never seen. why not? >> we it it -- you have all these filmmakers that i really admired, i have admired for years saying bravo, bravo. and then the next day the american press just absolutely lambasted me and the film saying, you know, we haven't seen a weirder group of people since bunwell and all these kind of strange things. i kind of -- >> shelved it? >> i didn't shelf it. i owned it american rights. >> would you release it? >> maybe. i tell you why. for one reason only.
it's certainly not a perfect film. what i will say about that film and what i will say about marlon in particular, it's one of the best performances he's given since "last tango." it's one of the performances where he dug down deep and gave of himself so monumentally. >> was he a little ticked that you didn't release it? >> no, he didn't care. in particular, it's one of the best performances he's given since "last tango." it's one of the performances where he dug down deep and gave of himself so monumentally. >> was he a little ticked that you didn't release it? >> no, he didn't care. no, he was fine. >> that's marlon. >> yeah. he was fine with it. >> now you did do a movie with him. did you enjoy doing that? >> "don juan"?
>> yes. >> that was when we met and we got along like a house on fire, you know, instantly. and we got close doing "don juan." >> what did he do that others in the -- what did he do that the rest of you don't do? >> well, marlon early on, i mean, marlon reinvented acting. he revolutionized acting. he made it -- it was not about behavior in the sense as it was just about being in a moment. and he was a dangerous element. i mean, he was a dangerous element and he remained a dangerous element. >> risk taker. >> oh, yeah, all the way through. until his last breath he was a dangerous element. you never knew what to expect from him. coming up johnny explains how he made hunter s. thompson's final wish come true, shooting
his ashes out of a cannon. >> we were covered in hunter's ashes. it was something i knew had to be done. >> and get an inside look at his office. it's all next on this larry king special "johnny depp." when you have diabetes... your doctor will say get smart about your weight. that's why there's new glucerna hunger smart shakes. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes.
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johnny depp's personal office, as interesting and unique as the man himself. inside the walls are lined with personal mementos and photos from his life and work. here a cabinet of curiosities from his movie of "sweeney todd," willy wonka's" thrown, awards and accolades and johnny's self-made portrait of his friend marlon brando. >> i said, hey, i made this painting of you. he says "you paint?" >> and hunter s. thompson, here he shows us a letter and a check, something he received after he lost a bet over the 1988 world cup. it was a friendship that endured for years and one that led to his latest movie "the rum diary."
all right, let's talk about hunter thompson. your friendship with him, it led to this movie, "rum diary" based on him. you found this novel. we never knew he wrote a novel. >> i happened upon it. i was researching and i was living in his basement. i happened through this box as we were looking for the manuscript of "fear and loathing." i see this folder with "rum diary" across it in his hand. we started to read it sitting cross-legged on the floor, reading this amazing thing. he was like, my good that's pretty good, isn't it? yeah, it's very good, hunter. what are you doing? but he brought up the idea -- he used to call me colonel, colonel depp. "colonel, we must produce this, produce this together." that was the plan. >> did he know you were going to
do it? >> took a little while. years happened and then hunter made his exit. so he never got to -- >> did you kind of make a promise to him you'd make it. >> absolutely. yeah. >> so this is a commitment? >> for sure. this was fulfilling a commitment to hunter. this was absolutely a major promise. we are going to produce this thing together. and so far as to have -- i mean, hunter had his chair on set every day with his name on it. he had his script there with his name on it. there was a bottle of chivis there every day, a high ball glass filled with rocks. we had his dunhill, his cigarette filters. >> it's a very unusual film. you'll agree with that? >> yes. >> people will react different ways to it. >> yeah. >> so explain to the uninitiated
to hunter thompson was. >> he was the most important non-fiction writer of the 20th century. >> and when he died, you blew his ashes. >> yeah. >> how did you come to do that? through a cannon? >> yeah. built a cannon. it was his last request. you know, it was something that we'd talked about here and there. but i knew that that's what he wanted and i knew that that had to be done at whatever, you know, whatever cost. so i met with some, you know, some kind of architectual wizards and stuff and we built -- we devised a cannon of 153 feet in the shape of the gonzo fist that would shoot hunter into the stratosphere. >> did it make a big sound? >> oh, boy, it was huge.
he came down around all of us. we were covered in hunter's ashes. but the idea was to take hunter and his ashes and mix that in with gun powder. there was something so poetic about it, so symmetrical call about hunter becoming basically large bullets that he would have loved. it was something i knew had to be done and we got it done. >> he's gone from pumping gas to being one of the highest paid actors in the world. >> i haven't changed. i'm still exactly the guy that used to pump gas, you know. i'm still the guy that was a mechanic for a minute. exactly. i just happen to have a weirder job at the moment. >> and johnny tells us the latest on "the lone ranger." finally going to happen? >> we got the budget down. >> that's good to hear. >> coming up on this larry king special "johnny depp." you name it. i've tried it. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain.
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time -- and i suppose the reason to do it is because it just scares the absolute, you know -- >> it does scare you? >> oh, yeah. >> you don't have the production of "cut." >> you don't have the protection of cut but also you just walk out there and suddenly just go line. i'm up. what's the line? that would be real drug. >> is there a play you've liked that you've said to yourself if i do do it, i would do that play? >> there was one conversation with marlon where he said -- he asked me how many movies i did a year. i said at the time, i don't know, maybe three or something. he said too much kid, too much kid. we only have so many faces in our pocket. i said, okay, i get it. he said why don't you play hamlet. you should play hamlet. >> i said, i don't know. hamlet is kind of cliche. he said, no, do it before you're
too old. i never got the chance. you should do it, go do it. that still sticks in my head, before i'm too long in the tooth, to do it. >> does anything get you down? >> me? sure. >> what got you down? >> throughout life many things. but certainly losing marlon, you know, took me down. losing hunter took me down. because you know that these friends, these mentors, these teachers, these father figures, you know, these -- someone who you really -- it was amazing to be accepted by them and to be loved by them and suddenly they're gone, you know. yeah, those were pretty down times. >> do you have faith? >> i have faith in my kids.
i have faith in my kids. and i have faith as long as you keep moving forward, just keep walking forward things will be all right, i suppose, you know. faith in terms of religion, i don't -- religion is not my specialty. >> do you enjoy success? now you know you're successful. are you -- do you enjoy it? do you enjoy the fruits of it? >> sure. i mean, i've been very, like i said, very, very lucky, you know, in the sense that, you know, i mean how ironic is it that you -- >> you were pumping gas. >> i was pumping gas, most definitely. printing t-shirts and selling ink pens and anything and everything. yeah. and then the fact that you have a 20-year career of failures and then you do a pirate movie and that buys you an island. the irony of that is pretty good. >> do you think about the times when things weren't so good a lot? >> oh, yeah, yeah. there was a guy who i worked with many years ago and we were talking about success and money
and all that stuff and he told me this one thing. he said, you know, money doesn't change anybody. money reveals them, you know. same thing with success. and i believe that, you know, wholeheartedly. i think i've been revealed. i haven't changed. i'm still exactly the guy that used to pump gas, you know. i'm still the guy that was a mechanic for a minute. exactly. i just happen to have a weirder job at the moment, you know. >> it is a weird profession. >> as marlon said -- marlon had the best definition of acting that exists, you know. "it's a strange job for a grown man." >> you do that good. >> it's a strange job for a grown man. >> but he calls it something else that people in the business got mad at. he said it on our show. he called it lying for a living. and most actors say they're not
lying. did you think that was an unfair expression? >> i think it's totally right. it's lying. it is lying. why wouldn't it be? you can make it lying, you can make it not lying. you can find your own truth but it's still a lie, you know what i mean? you're going to go to the craft service table. you're not henry viii. you're going to have some fritos or whatever, man, you know? >> have a donut and then go, yeah. >> he's not going to eat a giant chicken leg and chuck it somewhere and start screaming "wench." >> do you like the camera? burt reynolds said he used to go up to the camera every day and say "please love me today." >> really? >> you don't look the your films, right? >> i don't, i don't. i think what happens is kind of
like that thing marlon said about being observed and having been the observer. you get to a place at a certain point where you're more comfortable in front of a camera, doing, behaving, living in front of a camera than you are in normal life. that is to say like out at a restaurant or something like that. the camera becomes sort of just part of the -- >> same thing in my profession. i don't want to discuss myself but -- >> but you know what i mean, it's just there and you're just part of it and that's it. >> it's your comfort zone. >> up next johnny talks about being a family man. >> kids are great. so fun. as you know, they just grow up so fast. it's just shocking. >> explains those tattoos. the kids like it? >> yeah, they're okay with it. they're sort of used to it by now. when i come home with a new one they're like, oh, yeah, that's good. nice one, dad. >> and announces details on his next projects. >> are you doing a film about
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you're not in the "national enquirer." >> no, thank god. early days they tried to slap me into those things but, no, not so much. after almost 14 years with vanessa and two kids i think they kind of -- >> how'd you meet vanessa? i had met her before but very briefly. and then it was '98 and i went to do this film with roman polanski in paris. i was in the hotel lobby getting my messages and i turned around and was walking back toward my room and i say across the room this sort of back, the skin of this back and this neck attached to. i thought, oh, my good, what's that. and instantly it turned towards me and walked over and said hello and it was vanessa.
it was that moment that i knew i was absolutely in deep trouble. it's over. i just knew it. it was over. and, you know, we were going to have a kid. within three months she was pregnant. so it was over. >> what are the kids like? >> the kids are great. so fun. >> now you live here, right? you live in los angeles? >> yeah. we basically spend sort of half and half with the kiddies in school we do a lot here. the kids are great. as you know, they just grow up so fast. it's just shocking. >> you and your sister are very close, right? >> my sister, yeah, christy's my best friend in the world. well, she's kept me alive since i was a little kid. >> so you were family-oriented early? >> very much so. >> will you change? it's hard to change. >> unfortunately have i a tendency these days especially, the way the work is coming i
work a lot. i probably work too much. if i could change that, i'd love to be able to spend more time. >> you can change that. >> yeah, you can. but once you've committed to certain things -- >> you need that camera. >> well, i need to have the brain occupied for sure. brain has to be occupied at all times, otherwise i will go side ways. >> why tattoos? >> like a journal. >> like a journal of your life on my body? >> yeah. it started when i was 17. i got my first tattoo. they all mean something. >> and it kids like it? >> yeah. they're sort of used to it by now. when i come home with a new one they're like, oh, that's good. nice one, dad. >> what happened to "the lone ranger"? >> it's still up and running. >> the budget was too high. they were not going to do it. you were going to play tonto,
right? >> yeah. >> you have indian blood, right? >> yeah. >> what tribe? >> what tribe? >> what tribe? >> i was told it was cherry key or -- >> is there a script? >> there's a script. >> who is the lone ranger? >> it's going to be a guy named army hammer. it looks like it's going to all come together in january. >> so it's going to happen? >> yeah, we got the budget down. >> oh that's good to hear. >> so play him tongue in cheek? how are you going to play tonto? >> what i like about tonto is i like this idea of the character who was thought of as this side kick. it's what bugged me as the lone ranger why is the indian the side kick? why does he have to go get you
that this evening? >> he's a slave. >> right. i couldn't stand that. my approach to tonto is he's the sort of -- there's sort of a crazy like a fox stoicism to tonto, that tonto probably believes that the lone ranger is his side kick. you go get it. you're the one dressed in the funny outfit. you do it. >> are they going to do the beginning, all these rangers are killed and the lone ranger saves tonto's life? >> i believe they will. >> is there a love interest? >> not for tonto. >> will you do your own tonto make-up? >> will i do my own make-up?
>> will tonto have one headdress? will he have one feather? >> it's a little more than that. i tell you what, i'll seasoned you a picture of it. i've done some tests. i'll send you a picture of it. it's a little different than that. what i like about tonto, what i feel good about in terms of tonto is i feel like he's -- when i came up with captain jack, i thought, okay, i've really arrived at something different here. and tonto feels right on par with captain jack. it feels like another captain jack to me. >> are you doing a film about dr. suess? >> it's something we're developing with seuss's widow. it's a very exciting possibility because it's a sort of