News Column

The Many Faces of Johnny Depp

July 5, 2013
Johnny Depp

The Lone Ranger" hit movie theaters this week, representing the latest Hollywood reboot of an old television/film franchise.

While the film stars Armie Hammer ("The Social Network" and "Mirror Mirror") in the titular role, all eyes will be watching Johnny Depp, who stars as Tonto, the Lone Ranger's faithful Native American companion.

The role -- and Depp's unique take on it -- marks yet another in a long series of interesting choices Depp has made as an actor. It seems an understatement to say that Depp has played some pretty eccentric characters over the years. In fact, eccentricity seems to be the norm, and not the exception, for Depp.

His work has paid off, however, netting Depp millions of dollars, a trio of Oscar nominations, nine Golden Globe nominations (and one win) and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations (with one win).

In celebration of Depp's diversity as an actor, we present -- arguably -- his five most eccentric roles, in no particular order. We've rated each role on the Marlon Brando eccentricity scale, from 1 to 5, in honor of Brando -- one of film's most eccentric actors and a strong influence on Depp's acting.

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

Movie: "Edward Scissorhands," 1990

Synopsis: A modern and fantastical twist on "Pinocchio," Depp starred as an artificial boy with scissors for hands who falls in love with a girl (Wynona Ryder) and tries to find his place in the world.

Eccentricity scale: 5 Brandos. This is the role that really launched Depp's star and firmly hitched him to the budding and brilliant director Tim Burton, with whom he has collaborated on multiple films and even more out-there roles. It's the kind of part and performance other actors have to envy. And did we mention he has scissors for hands?

CAPT. JACK SPARROW

Movie: "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," 2003

Synopsis: The first of four films in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise (and there's a fifth allegedly being filmed), "The Curse of the Black Pearl" introduced Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow, a screwball pirate who seeks his fortune and fame while fighting the undead pirates who betrayed him.

Eccentricity scale: 4 Brandos. Depp has forever doomed future pirate movies (and their captains) to pale by comparison to the vainglorious hot mess that is Captain Jack.

WILLY WONKA

Movie: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," 2005

Synopsis: The titular tween, Charlie, wins a ticket to tour the world's most incredible and incredibly odd chocolate factory, led by the factory's owner, Willy Wonka (Depp). Over the course of some misadventures, Charlie becomes Wonka's successor and helps Wonka resolve some personal matters.

Eccentricity scale: 3 Brandos. It's humorous to think that Willy Wonka may be Depp's most normal role on this list. In a different world, Depp could certainly use his creative brilliance to make chocolate, were he not an actor.

MAD HATTER

Movie: "Alice in Wonderland," (2010)

Synopsis: Alice, now 19, returns to the world of Wonderland, which she first visited as a 6-year-old. Upon her return, Alice discovers her old friends, including the Mad Hatter (Depp) -- all of whom tell her that she's the only one who can defeat the Red Queen.

Eccentricity scale: 3 1/2 Brandos. Could anyone else play the Mad Hatter? I don't think so. And yet, I think Depp could have done even more with this character.

SWEENEY TODD

Movie: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," 2007

Synopsis: One of Depp's darkest films, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" tells the story of a falsely imprisoned barber turned serial killer (Depp) who comes back for vengeance against the judge who wronged him.

Eccentricity scale: 4 Brandos. The hair, the singing, the serial killing -- what's not to love about this misanthropic murderer?

HONORABLE MENTION: ED WOOD

Movie: "Ed Wood," 1994

Synopsis: Depp stars as Ed Wood, the transvestite cult filmmaker responsible for the classic sci-fi B-movie "Plan 9 From Outer Space," among others. Wood was once called the worst director of all time, yet this biopic was directed by Burton and went on to win two Oscars.

Eccentricity scale: 3 Brandos. Minus the cross-dressing and abject failure, Wood was a pretty normal guy, and that's how Depp played it.



Source: (c)2013 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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