Johnny Depp was so keen to explain himself after Germany's STERN magazine misconstrued a comment he made about America in a 2003 interview, he chose to personally call the patriots who had bombarded him with hate emails.

Depp was nationally blasted as being unpatriotic when a reporter quoted him as saying America was "an ignorant puppy dog", but he insists the quote was taken out of context.

And the actor set about building bridges with those who were most upset by his apparent comments - by telephoning them.

He tells Vanity Fair, "I called them, three or four people, and I said, 'It's very easy for a publication to print whatever they want to print as a representation of me, but it's not me. If you would allow me just a moment to represent myself...if you still feel like I'm a s**thead or a schmuck afterwards, then fine. But at least hear me out.'

"These were heavy, right wing, military people: one was a cop, one had a nephew who'd been wounded in Iraq.

"I told them, 'What was printed was ugly, but this is what I meant...' And each one of them said, 'I understand.'"

12/11/2004 02:53