Australia’s deputy prime minister has boasted that he got into Johnny Depp’s head like the fictional manipulative serial killer Hannibal Lecter after the Hollywood star described him as looking like he was “inbred with a tomato”.
The exchange is the latest in a war of words which started a year ago when Barnaby Joyce threatened to have Depp’s pet Yorkshire terriers put down.
Mr Joyce said it was time the animals, which had been illegally smuggled into Australia, “b*****ed off back to the United States”.
The actor’s wife pleaded guilty last month to falsifying documents to conceal the dogs when she arrived in the country on a private jet to join the actor on the set of the new Pirates Of The Caribbean film.
The couple filmed an apology as part of a deal with prosecutors that allowed Heard to avoid a conviction.
“He looks somehow inbred with a tomato,” Depp told Kimmel.
“It’s not a criticism. No, I was a little worried. He might explode.”
Mr Joyce replied by thanking Depp for the publicity he gave Australia’s tough biosecurity laws through the case that was widely lampooned as a “war on terrier”.
Mr Joyce, who is campaigning ahead of July elections, said he had moved on from his dispute with Depp.
“I’m inside his head, I’m pulling little strings and pulling little levers. Long after I’ve forgotten about Mr Depp, he’s remembering me,” Mr Joyce told reporters in his home town of Tamworth, New South Wales.
“I’m turning into his Hannibal Lecter,” Mr Joyce added, referring to Anthony Hopkins from the Academy Award-winning movie Silence Of The Lambs.