His distinctly unconventional career has made JOHNNY DEPP something of a Hollywood
rebel. But, the actors says, his days of excess are over.
otneone xhould write a hook called /’/it' (hr/um
('urm'r u/./n/mny l)epp. .\ contemporary. though not
xtrictly a member. ol' the Xllx Brat l’ack. l)epp tteilltct' lell into oltxctlt'ily. ax hix I’luluun co—xlat' ('hat'lic Sheen did. nor did he experience the rixe to xupcrxtar latnc ol' loin ('ruixe. lnxtead. l)epp‘x career wax xet in motion by two cult liltttttlak’ct‘x: .lohn \Valcrx twith ('ry' [fir/tr. the tt'axh rockabilly ntuxical ahout juyenilc dclinqucntxl and lim Burton till the tnodern (iothic lait'y tale. lit/imn/ .X't-iywr/mm/x l.
l)epp'x worked with Burton twice xincc. playing the croxx drexxing X-gt'ade lilmtnaker litl Hood and the cl'leminatc l‘)th century detectiye lchahod (‘rane in Sleepy Hollow. l’laying eccetttric characterx like thexc ltax del'incd l)epp‘x curioux career. one that. in Hollywood termx ix at oddx with hix lo-die l'or good lookx. In the introduction to the hiographical hook. Blll'lnll on Burton. l)epp ct‘cditx hix .S't'iywr/tumly director with ‘rexcuing him lrom heing iuxt another piece ol e\pendahle llollywood meat’. lilxewhere. he hax xaid: ‘I don't pretend to he (‘aptain Weird. ljtlxl do what I do.‘
In the two decadcx xittce ltix 1034 dehttt in .l Nightmare on [ﬁlm Street (in which he wax xwiltly and. xomc might xay. mercifully. dixpatched hy Freddy ). l)epp hax made xotne great cult lilmx ll)('(l(l Man. in which he play ed an accountant adril't in the Wild West ). xotne llaw ed hut interexting lihnx tl'nu' um/ [mu/ting in [11.x li'g'ml and a lcw real dudx l’l‘ln' .lymumul'x ll'i/i'. in which he wax the alien who tell to liarth). But regardlexx of whether the lilmx haye been good. had or cult. hix choice of rolex hax alway x heen interexting.
llc doexn't xce hitnxell ax a tnoy ie ,xtar. 'l ttey er wanted to he one.’ he xayx. ‘l alwayx wanted to he a character actor. I
Miles Fielder & Bruno Lester/IPA
marriage tto lort \nnc \llixon. when 2m and xome wild nightx: at hix l..\ cluh the Viper Room where Riycr l’hoeni\ diedi; in l.ondon. lighting with the papara/xi'. in New York. traxhing a hotel room. (iotl only knowx what tapcx he got tip to with the (iallagltct‘x when he contrihuted xlide guitar to He l/t’l't' .\iutt.
()l hix time in l..\. l)epp xayx: ‘l ttxed to lccl really lonely .md l polxoncd tnyxcll conxtatttly: drinking. no xlccp. lotx ol' cigarettcx.‘ l)epp. who wax horn in l'lot'lda. alxo dcxcrihex an c\cexxi\c cltlltllttttttl. .\\Ic llltt\ctl [‘t‘tilttll‘ly ill lltllcx l \ldl'lL‘tl xmoking at l3. loxt my \irginity at l3 and did cycry kind ol drug there wax hy ll I did my lair xharc ol' dexpicahlc xtull‘.‘
Hut l)epp xayx he ncyet‘ got the rehel image thing and inxixtx ll wax xomething the tnedia xlapped him with. ‘You xhould he allowed to he a human herng. You xhould he allow ed to hayc ctnotion. You xhould he allowed to haye a priyatc lil'c.’ 'l‘ry telling the papara/li that. .\nyway. l)epp'x cleaned tip hix act. ‘I haye xtopped looking l'or har alter har. drinking and xnorting cocaine like therc wax no tomorroyw he xayx. 'll I had lxcpl going till ill the old tlit'cclttttl. l cttttld ha\e killed my xcll‘. Meeting \anexxa changed all that.'
l)epp met l’aradix in l’arix. while not particularly enjoying heing directed by Roman l’olanxki in the xupcrnatural thriller. l/lt' Nil/ll] (iii/v tanothcr dud that l)epp'x good int. llc wax haying dinner with the crew; xhc wax in the rcxtaurant with xomc lriendx. 'l waxn‘t hraye enough to go oyer and axk her to
join ux. xo I got a lriend to do it l'or tncf l)epp and l’aradix got
married xltortly alter that. and l.in lx’mc wax horn in 190‘). "l'o xay that my kidx are the gt'ealcxl thing that‘x eyer happened to me ix thc ttndcrxtatctnent ol’ tltc century. I haye
‘I USED TO FEEL REALLY LONELY AND I POISONED MYSELF CONSTANTLY'
take rolex hecauxe I la” in loye with the character. It wax neycr my goal to become a big ho\ ol‘lice xtar. l‘ye built my career on failure and tny moyicx neyer xeem to make any money.‘
Yet l)epp hax juxt appeared in hix moxt commercially ,xuccexxl'ul ﬁlm to date. The l’irulm oft/Iv ('urr/i/u'un. a blockbuster haxed on a l)ixney theme park ride that conl‘ounded eyeryone'x expectationx by proth to he the moxt entertaining llollywood ho\ oll‘ice xmaxh ol the .xummer. .-\nd l)epp ix now being xeen alongxide an all-xtar caxt Antonio Banderax. Salma llay ek and Willem l)al'oe playing a corrupt (‘l.-\ agent in Robert Rodrigue/x xpool‘ spaghetti wextern. ()Ilt't' (’pnn it Time in .llt'y/t'o.
Next year we‘ll .xee l)epp playing l’t'm' l’un author .l.\l Barrie in .\'vr¢'rluml and ax a writer accuxed ol‘ plagiarixm in the Stephen King adaptation. Sum Him/on, Sec/1'1 (inn/m. After all that he'll reprixe hix roll ax the rock'n'roll huccaneer (‘aptain Jack Sparrow in a I’imluy xequel. 'l'm going to hay c to he a little more circumxpect about tny l‘uture lilm choiccx.
hecauxe l haye a family to .xupport.‘ xayx l)epp. by way of
explaining thix apparent career change. 'In the paxt. money juxt reprexented freedom. .\'ow it meanx xecurity.’
l)epp'x now 40 and married to French .xinger and actrexx \';ttte.xx;i l’aradix. with whom he hax two children. Lily-Roxe
(—l) and Jack tlh’ monthxl. and they all liye in the South ol‘
l‘rance. far away from the huth of Hollywood. Behind l)epp is a string of high-profile lianceex tSherilyn l"enn. Jennil‘er (irey'. Winona Ryder). a .xliort-liy ed pl’c‘\lt)ux
ncy er in my lile thougltt it wax poxxihle to l'eel xuch prol'ound. deep loye. Being a dad hax giycn me great xtrength. great pct'xpecti\c. great calm. .-\nd xleep depriyation.‘
Being a dad hax alxo changed the way l)epp chooxex lilm rolex. ()l' l’imlt'y. the actor xayx: 'Being a pirate wax a childhood dream come true and l wax interextcd in doing a lilm my kiddiex could watch. llay ing a l'our-year—old daughter. l’yc watched eyery xingle l)ixney animated thing a thouxand titnex. .r\nd I like them more than moxt hig people moy iex.'
l)oex thix mean the end ol~ the curioux career ol .lohnny l)epp'.’ .\'o more rolex like the e\ixtential wanderer in .-lri:unu Dream. the tranxyextite hehind harx in [iv/ore M's/it I'it/ly. or the iipium—zaldicted police inxpector in the .lack the Ripper thriller I’m”; llt'l/I’ But lear not. lanx ol~ ('aptain Weird. l)epp xayx ol hix hlack-clad. machine gun-wielding Agent Sandx in ()m‘t' (ilmn (1 Time in .llt'tim: ‘lt’x the moxt xinixter character l'ye ey er portray ed. ilex utterly dixagreeahle and tw ixtedf
ll' you're xtill concerned that .l.\l Barrie and Walt l)ixney are going to replace .lohn \Vaterx and Tim Burton. xetting l)epp on a new and proloundly com entional career path. you only need know thix: l)epp ix xoon to lilm 'l'lu' Rum Diary; an adaptation ol the Hunter S 'l‘hompxon hook. to he directed by Betticio del loro. There are clearly more wildly eccentric characterx ahoy in .lohnny l)epp'x curioux career.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico opens on general release from Fri 26 Sep. See review page 23.
' k C'.’ I/',',': THE LIST 11