The “Pirates of the Caribbean” film-series star said the mishap could have left him "horrifically mangled," but luckily he’s still here to talk about it.
When appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman,” Depp revealed all the riveting details of his brief brush with death.
Depp plays Native American spirit warrior Tonto in the Disney movie in which he has to ride a horse for the role. Even though he reportedly grew up around horses, being on a horse running at fast speeds for hours eventually took a toll on the actor: In his words, things began to go “very sideways ... We were shooting at a different place in the desert where there's these little bumps and things."
Wearing his signature brimmed hat and scarves, Depp explained: "[T]he horse that I was on decided to jump a couple of these little obstacles. The horse was unaware that the saddle I was wearing to sit on top of it was jury-rigged, kind of faked ... to give the effect that I'm riding bareback. So basically it's not very tight on the horse. So when we came down, the saddle slipped, and I went to the left and had the reins here and somehow had the wherewithal to grab the mane of the horse. All very calm for some reason. I figured that fear would kick in, but it didn't. I was waiting."
According to media reports, Depp was dragged for 25 yards by the horse.
The actor said: "All I saw in front of my eyes were these very muscular horse legs and striations of muscles moving, this kind of death machine. One word popped into my head: Hooves. Mind the hooves."
"So, what do you do when you're in that position?" Letterman asked.
"Well, you make a decision: Will I go with the beast until someone wrangles it or will I drop? You know, it's a crapshoot," Depp said.
"And what did you choose?" Letterman inquired.
"I dropped," Depp replied, stone-faced. "It landed on my back, hit the deck pretty hard, and the one thing that saved me was the horse's instinct to lift his front legs and go over me, step over me. Had he not, it was coming straight down into the head."
Letterman was shocked by Depp’s story.
"Honest to God, where are the stunt people, for heaven's sakes? You're Tonto! You don't need that!" Letterman demanded.
"Well, that's the exact same question I asked," Depp quipped.
“The Lone Ranger” -- also starring Armie Hammer in the title role -- is set to hit theaters July 3.