Every actor knows that Johnny Depp‘s career has been nothing short of spectacular. He has received numerous accolades and critical acclaim for his versatile acting and ability to embody different characters. Depp has also become a staple for big-budget films and franchises, but he does not shy away from biopics or indie ones either.
So just what makes Johnny Depp one of the best out there? For one thing is his likability and charm. His name alone is enough to draw audiences to watch his movies. Another is his unpredictability. People know Depp for his method acting, but not many can predict on what he is going to bring to the table until they actually see the film.
Nowadays, Depp enjoys being on the top of his game. He is currently Hollywood’s top leading actor and plays second fiddle to no one. He also enjoys being paid a handsome paycheck on top of that. So let’s explore what made Depp the star he is today, as well as a few helpful pieces of acting advice he has given through interviews.
Like most actors, Depp’s career started with a dream, but his in particular leaned more on finding success in the music industry. He even was a part of a band that were offered a record deal. As fate would have it, the band broke up before actually signing the deal and Depp was left doing odd jobs to make ends meet. He later got into acting after fellow actor Nicolas Cage encouraged him to try the business out.
Breakthrough Role and Partnership with Tim Burton
Depp’s breakthrough role was in the 1987 television series 21 Jump Street. He played Tom Hanson in the police television series. The role cemented Depp’s position as a teen idol, but he sought to do more mature roles so people would take him more seriously as an actor.
He then went on to star on A Nightmare on Elm Street as Glen Lantz, the lead character’s primary love interest. The movie was a hit, but it did not cement Depp’s superstar status just yet. It was when he teamed up with Tim Burton in the first of many films they were to do together that gave him attention.
Depp starred as the titular character in Edward Scissorhands, a dark romantic fantasy movie, which became a critical and commercial success in the box office. Actors Tom Hanks and Robert Downey Jr. were initially attached to the role, but Depp’s audition blew everyone away. He was able to channel Edward’s character by identifying with him and integrating the character’s attitude with his own. Depp also watched Charlie Chaplin‘s performances to be able to convey emotions without dialogue. His efforts proved to work toward his favor, as a lot of people praised Depp’s acting in the film.
Depp did more movies with Tim Burton such as the biopic Ed Wood and another dark fantasy movie Sleepy Hollow. He has proven his versatility by choosing other roles too, and even if they didn’t all do well in the box office, Depp has continued to challenge his acting skills by jumping from one role to another.
His portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the massively successful Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl movie earned Depp several awards and nominations. Some notable ones were winning during that year’s SAG and Empire Awards. Although Depp is yet to win his first Oscar, the role of Jack Sparrow did give him a nomination the year it was released.
In Depp’s most recent film Black Mass, he plays Whitley Bulger, one of the most famous Irish-American mobsters in history. This was actually Depp’s second time to play a gangster, the first was in another successful film called Public Enemies. When asked by Variety regarding his acting style, he says that he gets so connected to the role so much it comes to a point where he has difficulty in letting it go.
“Because you’re playing the guy from morning to night every day for a certain length of time, months and months, they do seep into you. That’s not to say that you’re no longer you. But being someone more than you’re yourself in a day, there’s no other way that it can happen without the character seeping into you a bit.”
Depp’s place in the industry is unquestionable, and a part of his stellar career can attributed to the fact that he is willing to go through drastic measures for the sake of art. There doesn’t seem to be an end to it anytime soon, though, so many aspiring actors out there can truly take a lot of inspiration from him.