Thursday, September 08, 2005


Depp Finally Gets His Due

From his early collaborations with directors John Waters (in Cry Baby) and Tim Burton I have always believed Johnny Depp to be one of the best and most underrated actors of 80s, 90s and today. Depp has never taken a safe role, and yet, he's carved out a string of unforgettable misfits on screen for whom we love to cheer. Remember Edward Scissorhands? In his first of many collaborations with director Burton, Depp played the creation of a mad scientist (Vincent Price) who died before he could give his creation hands. He imbued the character, with facial expressions alone, with a humanity that let us know that this creature could feel deeply with his heart, even if he couldn't feel with his hands. Then as the cross-dressing title character in Burton's Ed Wood (infamous for being the worst director ever), Depp again found the character's heart and shared it with the audience. As portrayed by Depp, Wood simply was a man trying to find his place in the world; he just wanted to make movies, have friends, and not be judged. As with all his work, Depp took a fringe character shunned in society and allowed mainstream audiences to care for him. The list goes on and on... Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Don Juan De Marco, and Chocolat. Finally, for his portrayal of the somewhat loopy swashbuckler Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Motion Picture Academy finally recognized Depp with a nomination for Best Actor. Then, they did it again last year for his performance as J.M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan) in Finding Neverland. I couldn't be happier. Twenty plus years of brave choices have finally paid off. And he hasn't stopped. This year he's given us his take on Willie Wonka in Burton's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and again worked for Burton in the upcoming Corpse Bride. There are few actors as brave as Depp on screen. (By the way, did you know Depp made his screen debut in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street and had a small role in Oliver Stone's Platoon?)

What about Donnie Brasco...Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?
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