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14 July 2011

Actor Overviews: Johnny Depp

Depp in 2011..

Actor Rating: 92/100

Personally, Depp is one of my favourite actors and one with the widest variety of film roles that I’ve seen from any actor. Johnny Depp made his way in Hollywood pretty easy, considering he wanted to be a musician with his bandsmall role ‘Six Guns Method’. Since 1984 with his A Nightmare on Elm Street role, Depp has appeared in many great films such as Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Finding Neverland and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He is a prize member of Hollywood yet still an individualist. Johnny Depp is one of cinema’s most enduring performers with his breath-taking performances, and struggle and rebellion with Hollywood in his early years (An explanation is fore coming). Depp goes from wild-child Hell-raiser to mainstream maverick.  This overview is rather long but it is the best way to give justice to this fine actor. Enjoy my overview of a divine actor and a swell guy!

Growing Up:
After reading the Biography written by Danny White, I was quite surprised about his childhood. Depp was born on June 9, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky. He lived with his mother, father, his brother and his two sisters; A big family indeed. During Depp’s teen years, he was nothing you would imagine him to be. Depp was a teenage rebel, smashing windows, breaking into schools, vandalising property, experimenting with drugs, and even playing a classic Fender Cream Guitar. Let’s not forget the distorting fact that by the time he was 14 he had also lost his virginity! It’s certainly not what you would expect from an actor of his stature looking at him now so it does bring quite a surprise. But Depp was never a bad kid at heart.  When he got to around 16 he began taking interest in his music more with his band ‘The Kids’ and enjoyed playing guitar. He recalls the guitar helped him get through his childhood.

During his adolescent years, Depp recalls how he was a ‘heart-throb’ to those around him. Depp absolutely hates that image and detests the fact of good looks getting you through things. And that is what I like about him, the integrity and freedom that he portrays. Not with a big head but with a big heart. Later in Depp’s years he grew out of that teenage phase, but still remained a teenager in a sense. At the age of 20, 1983, he married Lori Anne. This marriage lasted right up until 1986. No one knows why it weren’t wrong, but this would not be the end of his romance journeys. Depp still had his passion for music and still wanted to pursue in a music career.

Early Days in Hollywood:
Depp refers how he got into movies as a ‘fluke’. Around 1983-84 Depp got a small role in the film A nightmare on Elm Street, which today is considered a cult classic. It was Nicholas Cage who took notice to Depp when he encountered him as a link from Lori Ann. He got the part of this small role, but it would be two more years before there would be a notice on Depp. Depp in 1986 appeared in the film Platoon which kind of kick started his acting career a little. Depp at this point had changed his career plan from musician to actor.

21 Jump Street:
In 1987 Depp took up on the role of the teenage crime show character Tom Hanson, a 21 year-old police officer who works undercover in schools and such with his youthful appearance. Depp enjoyed his role and was inspired by Frederick Forrest, who played Officer Jenko in 5 episodes of the show. By 1989 the show’s success turned him into a teen idol with the viewers. This is a stamp that Depp absolutely hated and later felt he was “forced into the role of product”. He also comments on how he was shoved down America’s throat, and hated the idea of getting through things due to good looks. He always sees it as the easy way out, and would rather rely on talent to get anywhere.

After a few years of playing the role of Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street, Depp read a script on a film that made fun of the whole Teen Idol thing, so he took it up straight away. Director John Watters took him in and overall the film is full of cliché mockeries and some entertaining music. Depp had now realised that he would now only appear in films he wanted to.

Edward Scissorhands:
In 1990, director Tim Burton released his film Edward Scissorhands which got Depp even more noticed as a star. Even to this day I feel that this is one of Depps strongest characters ever portrayed on screen. There was such strength and emotion from Depp's character who barely speaks throughout the film so I find it very much compelling. The look in his eyes, the way the character moved, everything, it was just perfect. This was the role that changed Depp’s career from their onwards and was soon to become one of the hottest things in Hollywood.

Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow and From Hell
At the time I’m sure the role of a transvestite and the world’s worst film director was tough for Depp, but he pulled it off in a refreshing performance. Ed Wood follows the life of Ed Wood D. Wood Jr. He is a director whose films may not appeal to the audience, but he loved what he done. In 1999 Depp then appeared in Sleepy Hollow, playing the queasy doctor Ichabod Crane. Giving an excellent performance under the wing of Burton whose visionary style touches this film with respect. Depp in his childhood read a somewhat 10 books about Jack the Ripper, and would later appear in a film involving Jack the ripper by the name of From Hell. In 2001 From Hell was released and Depp plays as the inspector character.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
It’s 2003, and well in to Depp’s career. In 2003, the pirate films kick started and was a fantastic film. Another fine role from Depp, in which this time he takes the role of a pirate by the name of Jack Sparrow. It is clear that this is the franchise that Depp has been very noticed for in the past 5 to 10 years now, and no wonder, the film series has grossed over $1 billion [not in pure profits]. Depp gives an excellent performance as the eccentric Jack Sparrow, and wished he could play the character more. It wasn’t long before the franchise kept on going. This film took Depp home with 3 awards and thirteen nominees.

Finding Neverland & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Depp’s 2004 role won him an award and is considered another one of his finest performances. The story focuses on Scottish writer J. M. Barrie, his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and his close friendship with her sons, who inspire the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. It’s a great drama and another great performance from Depp. The next film he would appear in would be Charlie and the chocolate Factory, another adaption of Roald Dahl's novel. Depp plays as another outsider character, and a very odd one at that. Playing the part of Willy Wonka, Depp’s character had a very different look that was very different from that in the original. Some will say this one isn’t as good as the original, which is pretty much what I think too, but it doesn’t mean this one sucks. It’s still a pretty good film that has the Burton flare on it. So in 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory got a good response from the critics and audience and took home an award for best actor by the Empire magazine.

Sweeney Todd and Onwards
Now it is 2007, Depp now has children and his career is very far through. This is one of my favourite musicals of all time, and certainly a refreshingly original one. The Broadway musical was around during the 30’s and won’t be forgotten. In this one Depp plays Sweeney, the demonic barber at Fleet Street and with director Tim Burton behind his back, the film came out as a visual goody and a musical wonder. Another outsider character Depp has played. One of Depp's latest roles is that in Alice in Wonderland in 2010 and has brought mixed views from critics and film watchers. I found his performance as the mad hatter quite refreshing and as weird a role it was with all that clown-esque make-up.

A hard time in Hollywood:
Over the years Depp has had a very hard time in Hollywood. He is one of the most controversial stars around and quite possibly misunderstood too (well in terms of his beginning career) . So let’s begin with the incident at a Hotel in New York in 1994. Depp was with his partner Kate moss and from others in the hotel it was reported there was smashing going on. So later Depp was arrested for smashing up the Hollywood suite and has later said that he is sorry for the incident and claimed he was just having one of those bad days. So he coughed up the money for the damage, and an apology, but for some reason the Hotel wasn’t fully pleased.

Depp will be known for the celebrity with a lot, and I mean a lot of relationships. From 1983 to 1986 he was married to Lori Anne Allison. At the age of 20 he knew there was something wrong with the relation so they divorced, no one really knows the reason. He then had a partner in 1985 called Sherilyn Fenn. It lasted up to 1988.  Then his third relationship in 1989 was with Winona Ryder, the actor who later appeared in Edward Scissorhands alongside Depp. This was a strong relationship and was a very happy celebrity couple that even the press considered nice. Although this relationship ended in 1993 due to the lack of connectivity and they split. Partner number four is Kate Moss that lasted from 1994-1998. And finally, we have Vanessa Paradis. From 1998 to the present day they have been happy together. Although not married, this is the longest partnership Depp has had and now has two children.

Massive Variety in Roles:
Now you have to admit, stars like this are not likely. We had actors like Vincent Price who mastered in horror, actors like Gene Wilder who worked in comedy and loads of other stars who mastered a genre. But Depp has appeared in comedy, fantasy, action, horror, drama and even Romance. He is a very talented actor who has had so many great roles that he has chosen wisely. Spanning from Jack Sparrow to Edward Scissorhands, his characters always have that Depp flare. The difference in some of his roles are great, I mean, look at the character Edward Scissorhands, and then look at the role of the character in Public enemies. There is a huge difference in character roles. 
Although some have said his Jack Sparrow character performance has been recycled in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and later in Alice in Wonderland I have to disagree. Although Willy Wonka and The mad Hatter are kind of outside characters, the roles do differ quite a bit. He is one of the finest actors in Hollywood and with his Edward Scissorhands character, he didn’t even need to speak to create the emotional response it offers. So that kind of brings back the power of silent cinema. Overall he is hugely talented, and I know it sounds silly by the amount of praise I give him, his roles are very impressive. Not that all films with Depp in it score over 90% ratings in my book, but he has a lot of great roles.

Overall Depp is a big influence with his hard time in Hollywood, impressive filmography and talent. He has gone from teenaged hell-raiser to A-list Hollywood star. Depp is a rare kind of actor who has strong beliefs of looks not being the important thing and the conscious fact of how Hollywood works. He is very talented and is a swell guy, not that I can exactly personally make an approach to as I have ot spoke to him in person, but from what I have learnt about him over the years, that’s what he is. If you took the time to read this pretty long actor overview, I say thanks! I knit’s long but it’s just the thought I have on this actor! Stay tuned for more overviews and thanks again for reading.


  1. Very cool article. I am a huge Depp fan, he takes on some pretty tough roles that I can't see any other actor portraying nearly as uniquely. Great job! -Kyle,

  2. I really like Depp because he has the ability to combine old school style with modernism. I believe he can do anything, with good script and direction. I like his modesty and his sense of humor, and weird looking looks awesome on him. Can't wait to see him in more dark-dramatic roles, with his unique spark. Wonderful blog entry ;)

  3. Ecnered D. Rotcerid14 July 2011 at 14:47

    one of the best actors working today!

  4. Excellent blog..
    I think Depp is a wonderful actor..but there are only a few of his movies I really like.
    Ed Wood and Donnie Brasco are perhaps my favourites amongst his works.

  5. I Love Johnny Depp! He is definitely my favorite actor (that's still alive).

  6. A swell guy?
    Well,isnt that just dandy?

  7. @Aditya Gokhale
    Thank you. I agree, he is one great actor and I loved his Ed Wood performance. I shall review the film some day.

  8. @Pandy357
    I see what you mean there and that's what's great about him. It's like how he used Chaplin's Tramp character's elements to go towards his Edward Scissorhands character. Thank you for commenting :)

  9. I think johnny Depp is sexy amazing person and actor. he gives 110% on any role he plays . I also had the pleasure of meeting his cousin diane depp



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