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17 June 2009   Articles No Comments

The magic of Hollywood partially comes from the Magic Wand, or makeup brush, held in the hands of Ms. Ve Neill. What the imagination dreams, can be brought to life by this woman who needs no ?bibbidy bobiddy boo? o r ?Abracadabra? to accomplish what some consider impossible. Revered by those such as Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg and whose work is imitated by thousands around the globe, Ve has set a standard in makeup artistry that has deemed her the nickname ?CGI Queen? in the film industry because her work can be matched only by CGI and special effects.

Ve began the voyage of her career while working on the first Star Trek film. She brought the Klignons to life and used that stepping stone to gain notoriety by diving into the challenge of Tim Burton?s groundbreaking film ?Beetlejuice?. While most artists would simply stare in bewilderment at such a character; Ve relished in the opportunity to venture into the unknown. Ms. Neill is a totally self-made woman whom at the tender age of five knew in her heart of hearts that this was what she wanted for her career. ?My next door neighbor was a makeup man. He used to make me up every Halloween, that?s what made me want to do this,? Ve states. And succeed she certainly has! After the huge accomplishment of ?Beetlejuice,? she went on to tackle everything from ?Dick Tracy?s? comic book characters, to joining Burton again in Edward Scissorhands, where she coincidentally and unbeknownst to her emerged on another long relationship with actor, Johnny Depp.

What sets Ve apart from other talents in her field is the gift she has for creating iconic images that are copied and repeated by any and everyone in the costume and role-play realm. When asked what she thought about thousands trying to replicate her work by recreating her characters, she marvels, ?Wow, I hope they are having fun with it. Never did I think that would happen when we started.? Yet it has, Jack Sparrow has become one of the most popular characters following Elvis to ever be impersonated! A combination of Johnny Depp?s genius and Ve?s creativity has given birth to a living and breathing icon that is recognized in any country traveled around the world.

The normal inquiries that follow about her work were greeted in a wonderful manner as Ve opened up a minuet peek in the insight to where the magic begins. Many Jack Sparrow?s spend hours trying to recreate the look that Ve put together on Johnny, but how long did it actually take Ve to apply Johnny?s makeup on the set for Captain Sparrow?

img ?It took about 20-30 minutes for the Captain Jack character if his tattoos were covered. If he showed his branded scar and sparrow tattoo that was 30 minutes more, but that didn?t include his wig that was another 20 minutes. It took longer for his (Johnny?s) hair and makeup on Sweeny Todd. I did both for that film.?

Did Johnny and also Geoffrey have any say in the original concept for their characters?

?Johnny and I discussed his makeup for the very first one and it was never brought up for change after that. Johnny and I pretty much knew what we wanted to do from the beginning and then Geoffrey just let me do what I wanted and Gore loved it.?

Spending a bit more time in the past year with costumers and aspiring Jack?s, this writers next logical questions was, what is the main differences in Jack?s makeup in the three films? What changed and what became a challenge?
At this point the answer that Ve gave was a bit surprising after listening to many a discussion on Jack?s different looks and how to obtain them.

?Well, as far as I know, his makeup didn?t really change at all. His eyes may have gotten darker but that?s just because we liked it. The painted on eyes for Pirates 2 was for the cannibal scenes only and that was the real change.?

Ve shared. For the shots in the scene ?funny ?ol world isn?t it?? where Jacks makeup seems to be a bit lighter than the scenes filmed later, a question that had nagged forever and needed to be answered; what brought on the change for the rest of the film? In which Ms. Neill simply added,

?No particular reason, it just depended on how much we smeared I guess. We really didn?t pay that much attention to it.?

Jack isn?t the only character that has brought about curiosity from the film, Tia Dalma appeared on the scene and brought about a whole new challenge for females this time to recreate and so the logical question about Tia?s inspiration was asked to her architect,

?I wanted her to still be somewhat attractive, other than the teeth which the director really wanted, so I thought some sort of painted effect in a tribal fashion would work to set her apart and of course she needed those dreads!?

Ve has a new Pirate Palette that is available to all for purchase on the internet. It has created quite a demand among those who long to get the look, ?just right? and who strive for that perfect Jack. So which one of the Palettes works the best and does it matter which one is used for which Jack look desired? The answer was a bit amazing, ?ohh any of the pirates palettes work for Jack, it doesn?t matter.? With the success of the Pirate Palette, will a ?Sweeny Palette? follow soon to be coveted? Ve finally lets out the secret of Sweeny?s look,

?No, there was no illustrator used on that makeup. It was all airbrushed on with water bead ?Kett? airbrush makeup.?

Johnny has talked about his perception of the Sweeny character and the inspiration behind the look for him, so what does Ve have to add about what she believes her work contributes to the character portrayal? (Example: Johnny walks in her trailer as Johnny and out as Sweeny Todd)

I believe that makeup plays a big part in any actor?s character roles. It enables them to take on a new persona and that helps them become that character.?

A noticeable difference on Sweeny in the film is the differences in his eye makeup and shadowing in his face. Why did she feel that the makeup had to be varied throughout?

?In some shots we wanted him to appear more troubled and angst, so we darkened them for certain scenes.? she explains.

Working throughout the years with Burton and Depp has become a wonderful habit for Ms. Neill, who relishes in every piece that she completes with the duo. A makeup artist spends almost more time on the set with the actor than any other individual on a one on one basis. Because of this fact, a great inquiry is her opinion on Depp and what she has found to be unique about him. What stands out to her about his personality? Her answer was not unpredictable at all to any that know him.

?Well, without getting too personal. I have always found him to be one of the most down to earth actors I?ve ever worked with. He is generous to a fault with his knowledge and his wealth. For example, he helped a young girl recover from Leukemia by paying for all her treatments in Mexico and didn?t even know her. She was just brought to the set to meet him by a friend of mine. She couldn?t get Make a Wish to bring her so my friend called and ask if he could and JD said, ?yeah sure? and the rest is history. She wasn?t supposed to live past a few weeks after she met him and that was now over three years ago.?

Recognizing the rare individual that Johnny is, Ve talked about the change she can see in him now, verses when he was young in their first film ?Scissorhands.?

?Well, he?s got a lot more money now and can afford to buy lots more toys. He really honestly hasn?t changed too much, but of course now he really can?t go out much anymore because he gets mobbed.?

What is it about Tim that intrigues Neill?

?Tim is an artist himself and has great vision. He always allows you to do one step beyond. I love that about him.?

To the question of how much of the characters final appearance is her conception or his she adds,

?Well, Tim?s drawings of characters all have dark circles around their eyes. It?s up to me to make that work on each individual character I design for him.?

Does Burton, being an artist, draw his perceptions and then Ve brings them to life?

?That?s pretty much how it used to work; now I don?t need the drawings from him. Just a simple conversation to make it all come together.?

Ms/ Neill has been awarded many different recognitions including both numerous Emmy and Academy awards for her brilliance, but when asked what character makeup she is most proud of , she replies;

?Gosh, I really can?t say off the top of my head. I did a lot of testing for the film AI on Jude Law before we came up with his look, so I guess I would have to say that makeup. Thanks to Stephan Spielberg for that, because he had a very definite idea of what he wanted and gave us plenty of time to get it.?

Is there an actor that she has not had the opportunity to work with and hopes to in the future?

?I could make a big list, but I think I would like to actually work with more female actors so I can also be known for my beauty makeup.?

So, what is the thing that Ve enjoys most about her job?

?Seeing the actors get in wardrobe, walk on the set and become that character.?

she replies. When posed the question about her goals and aspirations for the future, she shares,

?I would like my company Ve?s Favorite Brushes to go worldwide and be available to the everyday woman to use so that they can make themselves look like movie stars too.?

After all the glorious accomplishments that Ve Neill has achieved, if she could be remembered in one sentence what would that be?

?I was told I would never make it and my response was, ?Just watch me!?.?

–Lizzy Garcia

Insert questions?..
Titled: Down to the Nitty Gritty:

1. Will you talk about the process of Jacks makeup please? There are many who are trying to replicate the makeup job with some percentage of success.. Did you only use the things provided in your Pirate Palette or did you need other items as well.

Johnny?s eye makeup can be achieved by a number of ways. You can use black eye pencil, MAC cr

22 October 2008   Articles No Comments

With a group of new projects looming in the near future for Johnny, the question is posed to us all. Does Johnny?s choices in roles really matter? Of course those fans and followers of Mr. Depp are well aware that he does not and never will go along with the fandom and main stream choices of today?s Hollywood. Gossip and rumors seem to sprout up everywhere as all the world desires to know, where Johnny is and what is he really working on? As an artist Johnny Depp is a name synonymous with individualism and charisma, but more importantly he is now known as his own man who goes with his own desires and interests. This seems to be the year of Johnny, and will be next year in a matter of fact statement. Whether the fans or critics agree with the choices that Johnny is making, he is blatantly saying to all, ?I?m doing what I like, just like I always have.? He seems to have found a comfortable place to nest with those he is working alongside and the roles that he is portraying. And so does it really matter? The answer to this is an emphatic and resounding NO! For Johnny has used his chameleon to make believers out of the faint hearted long before this and there is nothing that has been put in front of him he cannot do. Never ceasing to surprise and amaze us, he will continue to shock us with his role choices. But don?t despair; Johnny will forever light up the screen! For the millions upon millions that see his magic and believe; he will carry on the tradition of spiritual awakening in all of us. To expand his role choices to real life we see that Johnny Depp contains a fan following that out numbers almost if not every other actor to grace the screen. He has inspired more look-alikes and impersonators than even Elvis, including his real life image and every single character he has ever brought to life. His name and voice has healed the sick and inspired the dying. His charity is without compare and his reach to children?s hearts even more touching. Far past a regular Hollywood star, Johnny falls into the category of icon whose name is as familiar around the globe as Carey Grant and Bob Hope, whose names stand far beyond any role that they portrayed. Let the critics and rag tags print what they may, for Johnny Depp is beyond any criticism of his career which can almost be considered blasphemy to some. As we await his upcoming films and those that are not even being made as of this day, we know that Johnny will bring his soul to every role and every part for all those who love and admire him to see.

1 October 2008   Articles No Comments

(…)

Mandrake by Tim Walker

He recalled that when filming Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp on the lands of a stately home near Windsor in 1998, the Queen came riding past one day with Harry Herbert, the 17th Earl of Pembroke, who was also a film director and a friend of the actor.

“Harry shouts, ‘Hello Mike’ and I replied ‘Hello Harry, how are you, mate?’ and ‘Hello ma’am’ and the Queen nods to me.”

Afterwards, Depp asked: “Was that the Queen?”

Gambon replied: “Of course it was the Queen.” Mouth open, Depp replied: “You know the Queen?”

” ‘Yeah, she’s one of my best friends,’ I ribbed him, ‘I’m always nipping into her house for a cup of tea’.”

(…)

20 August 2008   Articles No Comments

What is the allure that causes grown adults to don leather and felt costumes like six year olds ready to run out and yell trick or treat? A fanatical group of despots that travel round the country? Whether your opinion of this renewed love for pirating is one of scorn or folly, there is no denying its ever-growing presence, even in our ?Depp? world here. As Johnny has gone on to other roles, Jack still lingers on. This brings us back to the question; what ingredients cause this awe for a character that was invented in the genius of our Johnny? It may never be explained, but I personally can testify to its reality as I wonder; could Johnny have dreamed that Captain Jack Sparrow would become a beacon of light for young and old?

Searching high and low for a Jack to represent our charity event, we stumbled upon Brandon Hillock. A pirate to be sure, he jumped the Disneyland boat for a much more better ship. In the months planning the event, I became acquainted with more Jack Sparrows than I knew could exist in The Locker as I was introduced to the pirate world itself. Seeing these photos on the net, I laughed at the reactions I would view in the videos wondering, how could grown people fumble for cameras with such awe as the kiddies scurry up to touch the pirate?

Standing in the corridor awaiting our Jacks entrance, I whispered a small prayer under my breath that my own doing, bringing a Sparrow look alike would not turn into a traitorous Johnny event. Never visiting Disneyland or seeing one of the pirates in person I had no idea what to expect, thinking I may have a trip down the plank myself coming in the near future. As I turned toward the commotion in the park, my breath caught in my throat. I felt the same heart stopping warmth that overcame me when I saw him on the screen. This was not Johnny in anyway, shape or form, but there was Jack Sparrow larger than life! The people were immediately drawn to him and the man that had stepped into the changing room had given way to this infamous Captain who awes us all. I watched him with a cynical eye, trying to configure the fact that this was just an outfit on a simple man, but it was no use. The magic overtakes it all. How can you describe it? It may be the coat, hat, sword or pistol. It could be that infamous voice that our Jack had perfected to match, so much as closing my eyes, I could almost swear someone, somewhere, had the film itself playing. I may never sail on the Black Pearl, but this was as close as you could get.

Walking into the empty deserted theater to view the test run of the first Pirates film for the theater manager, I shut the door behind me. I looked at the screen and Jack?s entrance had just begun. There he was, not belittled on the television screen in my home, but here again the way it was intended to be seen. I stood there in the pitch dark, conscious of the fact that I was totally alone in the presence of this great man?s vision and suddenly it hit me? Jack isn?t a pirate or just a plain character that was brought forth out of a whim of desire, but part of a gift that Johnny has given us. Who doesn?t remember their first kiss, their baby?s first steps or the first time they looked upon Johnny as Captain Jack Sparrow? There is no one alive that can tell me Johnny doesn?t hold the magic in his hand we all feel and now he has given the special gift of pinching a piece of that magic and blowing it through the wind to the world. How do I know? Captain Jack Sparrow looked into my eyes last week and simply smirked with a wink whispering?Ello Darlin.?

*thanks to the Pirates at kttc and Julie and Christy, whose love for jack helped inspire this piece. and to Brandon who brought the magic to life*

6 August 2008   Articles No Comments

When the names Tim Burton, Hunter Thompson, Marlon Brando, Keith Richards and Jonathan Shaw are spoken, Johnny Depp fans or ?admirers? think of two things. Sure they all are unique individuals who live life by their own rules, much like Johnny, but they also hold something else. An eccentric benevolence that identifies them as the great innovators of this generation. As we learn more about them we not only see friends and confidants to Mr. Depp, but we learn life lessons and a deep meditation that can mold the way we view life and those we meet during our time here on this earth.

Jonathan Shaw. There are many words different people may use to describe him. What some may see as only a shallow, brash and impetuous incendiary; actually is a true philosophical, transcendent soul. With layers of insight waiting to be peeled away.

imgWhen I decided to approach Mr. Shaw for an interview, I was filled with apprehension. Once he agreed to the initial questions, I then developed a great anxiety over what to ask him just imagining the responses I would receive. Stepping out in faith, I sent him a basic group of inquiries with instructions to answer all, or only the ones that moved him to respond. What I expected to learn about this man from his answers was not at all what I brought away from the information before my eyes. I can truly say what had begun as intimidation, turned to pure wonder and enlightment with this man who calls Johnny his soul brother.

Setting The stage?

So it began, sitting at the Fontenoy, an old building in Hollywood where both Jonathan and Johnny were residing at the time, built in the glory days when all was supposed to be glitter and gold. By then the structure was in decay and a low life, level standing. Shaw muses, ?It was basically a fancy crack house by the time me and Johnny were hanging out there. Johnny was in a band at the time with our mutual friends and that apartment was like the hangout for us all and pretty much like a shooting gallery for all sorts of beautiful losers and Hollywood dope fiends and so on.? Not yet infamous in any way, Jonathan still remembers Johnny?s presence in the weird surroundings,

?He seemed a bit odd since he was the only one there who wasn’t shooting dope, just hanging out. He wasn’t an actor or anything yet, just another guy hanging out, just another guitar player in another little band in Hollywood. But I remember he was just so NICE. It was impossible not to like him immediately…And I’ll always remember, he seemed really fascinated by Vera (Jonathan?s wife at the time) and me. We were like this weird couple of exotic alien looking gypsies fresh off the banana boat who only sat in a corner and spoke Portuguese with each other and shot dope. Johnny just seemed so interested in us, where we came from, what we were doing there, whatever. I don’t think WE even knew what the f**k we were doing there! But I remember he was just really cool and friendly. “What a nice f***ing guy”, I thought.?

This meeting would flourish into the deep meaningful bond that these two men seem to share with few others. A connection that may not be defined, even in Jonathan?s mind. When asked what he believes binds them together as ?soul brothers? he explains,

?You know that indefinable thing that just draws certain people to each other. Who knows? It’s like we just spoke the same language or something, right from the start. And then over the years as we?ve gotten to know each other better, we found out we had all this common background in some parallel universe of art and expression, literature, I dunno, some sort of ironic kinship, a sick sense of humor and vision and common cynical worldview that just makes it comfortable to hang out. Friends, ya know? And of course there was always stuff like music and tattoos and art. We just always liked all the same kinda stuff.?

Can this be just pure coincidence that a soul such as Jonathan?s attracts Johnny Depp? The answer may be an astounding no as you look into the heart of this artist in his own right. Shaw possesses a great knowledge of history in the tattoo realm and also of mankind?s view on what can be seen as the most personal expression. When queried about his first attraction to tattoos he is thoughtful, ?I think it was on an almost subliminal, paranormal level. Like it was some strange other-worldly voice calling me, just a sort of primal attraction for this thing, something I really had no idea of the meaning or significance of at the time…It just made me FEEL a certain way.?

Many people talk about the ?addiction? of the tattoo world, and it seems to carry on even here as Jonathan muses, ?..I got sucked deeper and deeper into the whole vortex of its depth and mystery and power, not to mention the whole historical aspect, the anthropology and magic, the art itself and all the technique and craft involved..?

I asked him if he felt that the true meaning of the tattoo, as he has studied it in many different cultures, has been lost today in a cultural fad. I was slightly surprised, but also amused at his humility, when he responds,
?It is what it is?I don’t think it possibly CAN lose its ‘true significance’. At least not to those people who attach any ‘true significance’ to it as an ancient practice of human expression, ritual, magic…It’s not like I own any claim on any particular aspect of magic. So why would my opinion really matter in the great scheme of things anyway? Different strokes..?

More On Johnny?

One thing, Jonathan shared with me is the fact that when he did tattoo art, he was heavily influenced by the interaction he would share with the subject. So how many of Johnny?s tattoos has Jonathan done and were Johnny?s tattoos a collaboration of their great genius together? He shared with me that he has done most of Johnny?s work and that they were always Johnny?s idea.

?I just did ’em the way he wanted ’em done. Johnny’s an artist too, and a real good one at that, so I never questioned his taste or judgment about it the way I used to do with most people I tattooed those days. With most people, it was always “my way or the highway” like that. I really didn’t like being art-directed, but once in awhile you get somebody who knows exactly what they want and has the artistic vision and good taste to not need my two cents. Johnny was always like that. It was always alota a lotta fun tattooing JD.?

So, I asked the next logical question in my mind in reference to Johnny?s ink: what does the question mark that they both share mean? His answer; ?That’s a good QUESTION!?

imgWhen you mention the name Johnny Depp, there is a strange awe or magnetism that follows it. Something that cannot be defined or explained, like the hush that you feel deep within your being as you step into a cathedral. But to Jonathan, who fondly just calls him JD, Johnny is a brother, a confidant and a connected soul. His life stories are full of Johnny and the adventures that they have shared on more than one continent. From Hunter and Johnny leaving him in the lobby for more than an hour and receiving the gift from him of a cut-off petrified finger, to hanging with Roman Polanski in France, enough threads to weave an afghan of memories.

This Is Me?

Most writers and artists admire and take an interest in other writers? or artists? works. So, who does Jonathan enjoy reading?

?I’d start with all the people Johnny Depp compared my work with in his epic blurb for my new book, “Narcisa.” After that, I’d have to say Henry Miller, Garcia Marquez, Jorge Amado, Paulo Lins, Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, all the classics, the beats, the usual suspects… also a lotta current people like Lydia Lunch, Jerry Stahl, Harry Crews…
There are so many amazing, brilliant and talented new writers popping up every day it’s too hard to even name all the names… Wouldn’t even know where to start. David Icke for sure!?

One frustration he expresses is that because of all his writing, he does not have time to ?scratch the surface of all the great things out there to read.?
Since creativity is ignited by different things for different people, I asked him what ignites his creativity. His answer was simple: ?In a word, Life…?Day to day life, with all its confusion, suffering, passion, anger, obsession, lust, beauty, ugliness, truth, poetry, hypocrisy, pathos, rhythm, smells, sounds, tragedy and humor. What a great f**king pallet for any painter, no??

Viewing Jonathan?s life as a whole you see that he has inhabited some of the darkest and most hidden societies in culture today and in the past. Hang-outs where shady figures have colonized and loom in corners of unconventional America. Connected to this world are the demons of addiction and dysfunctional relationships. How did Jonathan pull himself up out of these depths? This inquiry I approached with uncertainty. The knowledge he had lived in that world since he was twelve, a fact that I held in the corners of my mind, made me realize how difficult it would have been for him to accomplish that first step on the road to recovery, since it was all he had ever known. Never the timid one, he paints a picture of survival and self preservation.

?I think the first step for me to want to recover from all my addictions was the terrible admission that I was dying. That and the Desire to live and maybe find my way out of all that confusion and chaos and to find a WAY to live without liquor and drugs. That’s really a most terrifying proposition for any real hope-to-die dope fiend or alkie like me..I was up against a wall… And not really having any of the basic values or life skills to live in this world without liquor and drugs, that was the real BIG challenge for me getting sober after all those years.(I went on) a crazy workaholic dry bender for almost ten years.. I really got a lot of work done during those years of abstinence, built the whole Fun City empire, founded and managed the first quality mainstream tattoo magazine, traveled the world and leapt tall buildings in a single bound…but I was a madman, even worse than when I was on drugs. Crazy, violent, stressed, insane. Then I relapsed and went on another long trip to hell. Finally I crashed and burned and nearly kicked the bucket about eight years ago. Then I sobered up again. But this time I finally came to the conclusion I’d better take this whole recovery business serious, might not get another chance? Johnny Depp actually took me to my first meeting that last time- not that he’s a recovering anything, just a real friend and I needed a kick in the ass to start me on my merry way again?
It’s all been relatively smooth sailing for me since then. Not always easy, but smooth. I know what I gotta do to keep it this time and I’m willing to go to any lengths to do that. That’s one of the reasons I finally quit tattooing and became a writer. They say “to thine own self be true,” and that’s an important concept to me today. Writing has been the most important tool in my recovery too, so I don’t take that s**t lightly. Hopefully some of the stuff I’ve been putting down may actually help somebody figure their own s**t out and wake up.
Cuz at the end of the day, that’s what it?s all about, isn’t it??

The New Beginning: Writing?

Watching Jonathan tattoo, you notice his hands move with the fluency of a painter as he applies his brushstrokes to the canvas. Reading his newer art form writing, the same feeling of an artist?s soul glimpsing out from beyond the shroud can be seen. I asked him if he felt this in one form more than another.

?Tattooing was just… easier. Less demanding on my soul and, being a natural artist, I just went with that, almost by default cuz it fit in nicely with my lifestyle, traveling around the world and all that. So it was very convenient to me as a career, a trade… and I did pretty good at it, even though somewhere deep inside I think I always knew I was just treading water till I could grow the balls to really dedicate myself to writing full time…That’s how important it is to me now.?

What was it that instigated this change in profession in the timeline of his life? He describes it as more necessity than anything else.
?The fact is I’ve been retired from tattooing for nearly a decade now. There’s a reason for that. Basically, I got sick of it. Sick of doing it every day. Tattooing isn’t a part of my life at all today and I can’t say I miss it. It’s just something I did for twenty some odd years and It took me wherever it took me and I’m grateful for it all with no regrets.?

It does seem Jonathan may look at life from an outside point of view now, removing himself mentally to see the total screen. His wisdom which may have come with age, or just experience shows as he states:

?I almost feel as if I just got sidetracked for twenty years by something else, and now I’ve finally just gotten back on track, back to doing what I’m really supposed to do. For me writing was always my first love, even during all the years I spent as a full time tattooer. I guess I just wasn’t ready to fully commit to it yet or something, like there was a certain maturity of vision and experience and, I dunno, honesty still lacking in my consciousness that kept me from just going for it for such a long time.?

Morphing himself from one entity into another is one more item that Jonathan can check off on his list of accomplishments. His gift of self-expression has carried over into his new endeavor of writing. Not lost on mundane fiction, the blunt honesty that is a part of his personality is portrayed in his fluent storytelling. He shows his passion:

?For me writing a book is like having a kid or something. You love it and nurture it and obsess over it and raise it the best you can. Then one day it just goes out into the world and does its own thing. Could turn out to be a Nobel Prize winner or a serial killer. Or any f**king thing in between…Whatever. It?s really none of a writer’s business where it all goes once it’s out there in the universe. This is just what I really love to do, express myself with language, paint pictures with words. Storytelling.
Poetry…And I guess I always did love it.?

His new book, ?Narcisa? is out now in the states and is selling more rapidly than they can print it. Jonathan is in Rio working a rewrite for a major publishing house. How much better could it get? At the point where Johnny himself ?actually broke into a cold sweat when I read him some of the first chapter. He had to take his coat and hat off! It was pretty funny, watching him get that strong a reaction to it.? There are many who are already pointing towards a screen version. How does Jonathan react to this? Certainly in his honest to himself behavior….

img?Maybe they’ll wanna make it into a movie someday… Folks have been telling me they could easily see that. Like people In the film business, people in the know. That would be really cool! So I guess we’ll see where it all goes. That would be some big fun I think, but I don’t really care much. I just wanna hang out and keep writing my crazy little stories. Where it all goes from there, who the f**k knows.?
As with most genius minds, Jonathan views life on the edge of his own eccentric perception, an understanding that only other minds like his own can truly comprehend.
?It’s no wonder so many writers end up blowing their f**king brains out. All writers are insane. You gotta be. And if you’re not, you will be by the time you’ve written a book or two, believe me….Words are very powerful. And if one isn’t careful with them, they can easily pave the road to Hell.. Or Heaven. Or some terrible limbo somewhere on the outskirts of Purgatory. Whatever..?
After a generation of surprises and accomplishments, Jonathan Shaw is not yet finished. The sun is rising over the mountains of his career and life. It seems he is gazing towards the horizon ready to face the dawning of a new day. The new world is open to him and the possibilities are infinite.

~Lizzy Garcia

Related Links:
Jonathan Shaw’s blog
Jonathon Shaw’s Official My Space
Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes My Space Page

All of the writings, movie overviews and articles on the site (written by Lizzy Garcia) are date copywrited under her full legal name and protected in this sense. Any use or posting of the articles or claims are in violation of this copywrite. This is a personal copywrite as well as the copywrite that the site holds on these pieces. If you have a request for the use of any of these pieces it must be sent to her personally.

6 August 2008   Articles Interviews No Comments

When the names Tim Burton, Hunter Thompson, Marlon Brando, Keith Richards and Jonathan Shaw are spoken, Johnny Depp fans or “admirers” think of two things. Sure they all are unique individuals who live life by their own rules, much like Johnny, but they also hold something else. An eccentric benevolence that identifies them as the great innovators of this generation. As we learn more about them we not only see friends and confidants to Mr. Depp, but we learn life lessons and a deep meditation that can mold the way we view life and those we meet during our time here on this earth.

Jonathan Shaw. There are many words different people may use to describe him. What some may see as only a shallow, brash and impetuous incendiary; actually is a true philosophical, transcendent soul. With layers of insight waiting to be peeled away.

 

When I decided to approach Mr. Shaw for an interview, I was filled with apprehension. Once he agreed to the initial questions, I then developed a great anxiety over what to ask him just imagining the responses I would receive. Stepping out in faith, I sent him a basic group of inquiries with instructions to answer all, or only the ones that moved him to respond. What I expected to learn about this man from his answers was not at all what I brought away from the information before my eyes. I can truly say what had begun as intimidation, turned to pure wonder and enlightment with this man who calls Johnny his soul brother.

Setting The stage?

So it began, sitting at the Fontenoy, an old building in Hollywood where both Jonathan and Johnny were residing at the time, built in the glory days when all was supposed to be glitter and gold. By then the structure was in decay and a low life, level standing. Shaw muses, “It was basically a fancy crack house by the time me and Johnny were hanging out there. Johnny was in a band at the time with our mutual friends and that apartment was like the hangout for us all and pretty much like a shooting gallery for all sorts of beautiful losers and Hollywood dope fiends and so on.” Not yet infamous in any way, Jonathan still remembers Johnny’s presence in the weird surroundings,

“He seemed a bit odd since he was the only one there who wasn’t shooting dope, just hanging out. He wasn’t an actor or anything yet, just another guy hanging out, just another guitar player in another little band in Hollywood. But I remember he was just so NICE. It was impossible not to like him immediately…And I’ll always remember, he seemed really fascinated by Vera (Jonathan’s wife at the time) and me. We were like this weird couple of exotic alien looking gypsies fresh off the banana boat who only sat in a corner and spoke Portuguese with each other and shot dope. Johnny just seemed so interested in us, where we came from, what we were doing there, whatever. I don’t think WE even knew what the f**k we were doing there! But I remember he was just really cool and friendly. “What a nice f***ing guy”, I thought.”

This meeting would flourish into the deep meaningful bond that these two men seem to share with few others. A connection that may not be defined, even in Jonathan’s mind. When asked what he believes binds them together as ‘soul brothers’ he explains,

“You know that indefinable thing that just draws certain people to each other. Who knows? It’s like we just spoke the same language or something, right from the start. And then over the years as we’ve gotten to know each other better, we found out we had all this common background in some parallel universe of art and expression, literature, I dunno, some sort of ironic kinship, a sick sense of humor and vision and common cynical worldview that just makes it comfortable to hang out. Friends, ya know? And of course there was always stuff like music and tattoos and art. We just always liked all the same kinda stuff.”

Can this be just pure coincidence that a soul such as Jonathan’s attracts Johnny Depp? The answer may be an astounding no as you look into the heart of this artist in his own right. Shaw possesses a great knowledge of history in the tattoo realm and also of mankind’s view on what can be seen as the most personal expression. When queried about his first attraction to tattoos he is thoughtful, “I think it was on an almost subliminal, paranormal level. Like it was some strange other-worldly voice calling me, just a sort of primal attraction for this thing, something I really had no idea of the meaning or significance of at the time…It just made me FEEL a certain way.”

Many people talk about the “addiction” of the tattoo world, and it seems to carry on even here as Jonathan muses, “..I got sucked deeper and deeper into the whole vortex of its depth and mystery and power, not to mention the whole historical aspect, the anthropology and magic, the art itself and all the technique and craft involved..”

I asked him if he felt that the true meaning of the tattoo, as he has studied it in many different cultures, has been lost today in a cultural fad. I was slightly surprised, but also amused at his humility, when he responds,
“It is what it is? I don’t think it possibly CAN lose its ‘true significance’. At least not to those people who attach any ‘true significance’ to it as an ancient practice of human expression, ritual, magic…It’s not like I own any claim on any particular aspect of magic. So why would my opinion really matter in the great scheme of things anyway? Different strokes..”

More On Johnny?

One thing, Jonathan shared with me is the fact that when he did tattoo art, he was heavily influenced by the interaction he would share with the subject. So how many of Johnny’s tattoos has Jonathan done and were Johnny’s tattoos a collaboration of their great genius together? He shared with me that he has done most of Johnny’s work and that they were always Johnny’s idea.

“I just did ’em the way he wanted ’em done. Johnny’s an artist too, and a real good one at that, so I never questioned his taste or judgment about it the way I used to do with most people I tattooed those days. With most people, it was always “my way or the highway” like that. I really didn’t like being art-directed, but once in awhile you get somebody who knows exactly what they want and has the artistic vision and good taste to not need my two cents. Johnny was always like that. It was always alota a lotta fun tattooing JD.”

So, I asked the next logical question in my mind in reference to Johnny’s ink: what does the question mark that they both share mean? His answer; “That’s a good QUESTION!”

 

When you mention the name Johnny Depp, there is a strange awe or magnetism that follows it. Something that cannot be defined or explained, like the hush that you feel deep within your being as you step into a cathedral. But to Jonathan, who fondly just calls him JD, Johnny is a brother, a confidant and a connected soul. His life stories are full of Johnny and the adventures that they have shared on more than one continent. From Hunter and Johnny leaving him in the lobby for more than an hour and receiving the gift from him of a cut-off petrified finger, to hanging with Roman Polanski in France, enough threads to weave an afghan of memories.

This Is Me?

Most writers and artists admire and take an interest in other writers? or artists? works. So, who does Jonathan enjoy reading?

“I’d start with all the people Johnny Depp compared my work with in his epic blurb for my new book, “Narcisa.” After that, I’d have to say Henry Miller, Garcia Marquez, Jorge Amado, Paulo Lins, Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, all the classics, the beats, the usual suspects… also a lotta current people like Lydia Lunch, Jerry Stahl, Harry Crews…
There are so many amazing, brilliant and talented new writers popping up every day it’s too hard to even name all the names… Wouldn’t even know where to start. David Icke for sure!”

One frustration he expresses is that because of all his writing, he does not have time to ‘scratch the surface of all the great things out there to read.?
Since creativity is ignited by different things for different people, I asked him what ignites his creativity. His answer was simple: ?In a word, Life…?Day to day life, with all its confusion, suffering, passion, anger, obsession, lust, beauty, ugliness, truth, poetry, hypocrisy, pathos, rhythm, smells, sounds, tragedy and humor. What a great f**king pallet for any painter, no??

Viewing Jonathan’s life as a whole you see that he has inhabited some of the darkest and most hidden societies in culture today and in the past. Hang-outs where shady figures have colonized and loom in corners of unconventional America. Connected to this world are the demons of addiction and dysfunctional relationships. How did Jonathan pull himself up out of these depths? This inquiry I approached with uncertainty. The knowledge he had lived in that world since he was twelve, a fact that I held in the corners of my mind, made me realize how difficult it would have been for him to accomplish that first step on the road to recovery, since it was all he had ever known. Never the timid one, he paints a picture of survival and self preservation.

“I think the first step for me to want to recover from all my addictions was the terrible admission that I was dying. That and the Desire to live and maybe find my way out of all that confusion and chaos and to find a WAY to live without liquor and drugs. That’s really a most terrifying proposition for any real hope-to-die dope fiend or alkie like me..I was up against a wall… And not really having any of the basic values or life skills to live in this world without liquor and drugs, that was the real BIG challenge for me getting sober after all those years.(I went on) a crazy workaholic dry bender for almost ten years.. I really got a lot of work done during those years of abstinence, built the whole Fun City empire, founded and managed the first quality mainstream tattoo magazine, traveled the world and leapt tall buildings in a single bound…but I was a madman, even worse than when I was on drugs. Crazy, violent, stressed, insane. Then I relapsed and went on another long trip to hell. Finally I crashed and burned and nearly kicked the bucket about eight years ago. Then I sobered up again. But this time I finally came to the conclusion I’d better take this whole recovery business serious, might not get another chance? Johnny Depp actually took me to my first meeting that last time- not that he’s a recovering anything, just a real friend and I needed a kick in the ass to start me on my merry way again?
It’s all been relatively smooth sailing for me since then. Not always easy, but smooth. I know what I gotta do to keep it this time and I’m willing to go to any lengths to do that. That’s one of the reasons I finally quit tattooing and became a writer. They say “to thine own self be true,” and that’s an important concept to me today. Writing has been the most important tool in my recovery too, so I don’t take that s**t lightly. Hopefully some of the stuff I’ve been putting down may actually help somebody figure their own s**t out and wake up.
Cuz at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

 

The New Beginning: Writing?

Watching Jonathan tattoo, you notice his hands move with the fluency of a painter as he applies his brushstrokes to the canvas. Reading his newer art form writing, the same feeling of an artist’s soul glimpsing out from beyond the shroud can be seen. I asked him if he felt this in one form more than another.

“Tattooing was just… easier. Less demanding on my soul and, being a natural artist, I just went with that, almost by default cuz it fit in nicely with my lifestyle, traveling around the world and all that. So it was very convenient to me as a career, a trade… and I did pretty good at it, even though somewhere deep inside I think I always knew I was just treading water till I could grow the balls to really dedicate myself to writing full time…That’s how important it is to me now.”

What was it that instigated this change in profession in the timeline of his life? He describes it as more necessity than anything else.
“The fact is I’ve been retired from tattooing for nearly a decade now. There’s a reason for that. Basically, I got sick of it. Sick of doing it every day. Tattooing isn’t a part of my life at all today and I can’t say I miss it. It’s just something I did for twenty some odd years and It took me wherever it took me and I’m grateful for it all with no regrets.”

It does seem Jonathan may look at life from an outside point of view now, removing himself mentally to see the total screen. His wisdom which may have come with age, or just experience shows as he states:

“I almost feel as if I just got sidetracked for twenty years by something else, and now I’ve finally just gotten back on track, back to doing what I’m really supposed to do. For me writing was always my first love, even during all the years I spent as a full time tattooer. I guess I just wasn’t ready to fully commit to it yet or something, like there was a certain maturity of vision and experience and, I dunno, honesty still lacking in my consciousness that kept me from just going for it for such a long time”

Morphing himself from one entity into another is one more item that Jonathan can check off on his list of accomplishments. His gift of self-expression has carried over into his new endeavor of writing. Not lost on mundane fiction, the blunt honesty that is a part of his personality is portrayed in his fluent storytelling. He shows his passion:

“For me writing a book is like having a kid or something. You love it and nurture it and obsess over it and raise it the best you can. Then one day it just goes out into the world and does its own thing. Could turn out to be a Nobel Prize winner or a serial killer. Or any f**king thing in between…Whatever. It’s really none of a writer’s business where it all goes once it’s out there in the universe. This is just what I really love to do, express myself with language, paint pictures with words. Storytelling.
Poetry…And I guess I always did love it.”

His new book, “Narcisa” is out now in the states and is selling more rapidly than they can print it. Jonathan is in Rio working a rewrite for a major publishing house. How much better could it get? At the point where Johnny himself ?actually broke into a cold sweat when I read him some of the first chapter. He had to take his coat and hat off! It was pretty funny, watching him get that strong a reaction to it.? There are many who are already pointing towards a screen version. How does Jonathan react to this? Certainly in his honest to himself behavior….

 

“Maybe they’ll wanna make it into a movie someday… Folks have been telling me they could easily see that. Like people In the film business, people in the know. That would be really cool! So I guess we’ll see where it all goes. That would be some big fun I think, but I don’t really care much. I just wanna hang out and keep writing my crazy little stories. Where it all goes from there, who the f**k knows.”
As with most genius minds, Jonathan views life on the edge of his own eccentric perception, an understanding that only other minds like his own can truly comprehend.
“It’s no wonder so many writers end up blowing their f**king brains out. All writers are insane. You gotta be. And if you’re not, you will be by the time you’ve written a book or two, believe me….Words are very powerful. And if one isn’t careful with them, they can easily pave the road to Hell.. Or Heaven. Or some terrible limbo somewhere on the outskirts of Purgatory. Whatever..”
After a generation of surprises and accomplishments, Jonathan Shaw is not yet finished. The sun is rising over the mountains of his career and life. It seems he is gazing towards the horizon ready to face the dawning of a new day. The new world is open to him and the possibilities are infinite.

~Lizzy Cline

Related Links:
Jonathan Shaw’s blog
Jonathon Shaw’s Official My Space
Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes My Space Page

All of the writings, movie overviews and articles on the site (written by Lizzy Cline) are date copywrited under her full legal name and protected in this sense. Any use or posting of the articles or claims are in violation of this copywrite. This is a personal copywrite as well as the copywrite that the site holds on these pieces. If you have a request for the use of any of these pieces it must be sent to her personally.

20 June 2008   Articles No Comments

As I have surfed this tool we call the net I have found a world that I didn?t know existed. As I have spent time to get to know you on the other side of this great chasm, Johnny has become a bridge that has allowed me to walk, virtually, to places I have never imagined. From Germany to Ireland; Argentina to Denmark; Belgium to South Africa. A common bond that brings us together as companions, individuals that may never physically meet but, who touch each others lives every day. Johnny is the door that allows us to walk through to a place where we are all the same. We share not only our love for him but, then to our troubles and sorrows; our joys and accomplishments. We reach out to those we grow to care for through photos of him, to poems and gifts that may come in the mail. We write letters and sometimes make phone calls reaching through time and space to hearts that are so far yet, because of Johnny, draw so near to us. In a world where we can find ourselves feeling alone and scared, we can remember that there are others who share our worry and pain. There are friends who miss us when we disappear and those who cry when we are hurting. I personally will share with you reading this now, a love for Johnny throughout years has now brought an overwhelming love and overflowing of relationships with those of you I do not even know in my hometown where I dwell. I have shed tears with those of you who have gone through trials and I have laughed until my sides hurt, with you that bring smiles in my life everyday. We may swoon together and share our photos alike, but my life has been so blessed to have you in it, if for but a wink in time. Some I do not even know by name, some I will never reach out and touch physically, but here in this enclosed space with music entertaining my ears, I say to you all?..As I exist in this moment in time, I am flooded with memories of you my dear ones. My Depp family. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. There is not one alive who will ever be able to convince me that Johnny has not changed the world, one person at a time.

Does Johnny know? Does he realize that he moves those he has never seen in such a way? Could he even understand that he sparks flames and friendships in young and old who are separated by miles in between? Can our Johnny ever even comprehend the effect he has on millions worldwide? Not just by a movie role or a song that he sings or strums on his guitar but, him?His soul and inner being that draws us near..Knowing Johnny?.Probably not. For he views himself as one of us, a plain simple man. No different than you or I. But when the end comes in time and our actions and accomplishments are weighed at the end of our existence, there will not be scales large enough for you my dear Mr. Depp. For you have touched those, too many to count and you have reached too many to measure. For one such as you; there are no limits or boundaries?. For you are Johnny Depp.

12 May 2008   Articles No Comments

What is it that causes people to be drawn to a certain soul? It is an unknown invisible eminence that calls to the inner being as a sirens song? No one can explicate it, that moment that transforms a spirit and touches the core deep within the never ending darkness. Young or old, male or female, no boundary withstanding. One glance, one movement, one word is all it takes to bring it to light. This one word is Depp.
The old saying is that the eyes are the windows to the soul. When you look deep into the panes of his chocolate brown innerness, you can feel yourself lost in the chasm of serenity and peace. It is this that calls to the hearts of millions alike throughout the world. It is that unknown source of passion and tranquility that soothes and refreshes all that come into its path. How can one put it into words or try to describe or explain that moment when you look at him and are hypnotized by his wonder and genius.
A true sign of his wonder, is his obliviousness to this miracle that profounds him. Lost in the reclusiveness of his own living, hiding in his shyness, abound by the media and fans alike. Humble beyond all comprehension he upholds his peers in complimentary awe. But following his wake is the shadows of those that use his idealness to change their own lives and the lives of others. As if by master design, his life has become a beacon for those that have realized that one person from nothing can make a lasting effect on the world and those that dwell in it.
From the lonely abused teen in her room who pulls the strength to make it through the day from the poster that stares at her inside the bedroom door, to the inspired charity that reaches out to the dying children. From the depressed woman alone in her lost ambitions, to the cancer ravaged boy who draws every breath from the laughter that a pirate character can extend. Is it a miracle that pulls that girl out of her coma, or the boy that rises from the wheelchair? Possibly but, when you ask these individuals they will be quickened to say that one word, Depp.

All of the writings, movie overviews and articles on the site (written by Lizzy Cline) are date copywrited under her full legal name and protected in this sense. Any use or posting of the articles or claims are in violation of this copywrite. This is a personal copywrite as well as the copywrite that the site holds on these pieces. If you have a request for the use of any of these pieces it must be sent to her personally.

15 January 2008   Articles No Comments

“I am honored to be associated with brave little Dustin by wearing this silver and leather wrist band.” ~Johnny Depp

What does a soul contain that hypnotizes and awes others? Is it in the individual?s eyes? Is it in their voice or the way that he moves? How can we ever know for sure?
What is it that influences and moves others to take action or touches their innermost being to make a difference in the world? While these questions may never be answered throughout time, we can see the benefit of Johnny Depp?s giving and magnetic soul in the actions that he has influenced in the grassroots charity of Johnny?s Angels.
Johnny?s Angels began in March of 2007 when Donna (Giachetti) a great admirer of Johnny Depp thought of his support and giving to the (Childrens Hospice) and wondered if it would be an ?out of the way? idea to form a charity group aimed at Johnny supporters and see what would become of it. She called the Hospice and asked them what they thought of the idea and Johnny?s Angels were born.
? I believed there were many other women out there like me, Depp fans and moms, who would gladly do something more significant than buy Captain Jack trinkets if only we knew how to proceed. I thought it would be interesting to let Depp fans know more about the story behind the Dustin bracelet that Johnny wears in support of CHPCC.? Stated Donna.
Johnny wears the silver bracelet in memory of Dustin an 11-year-old boy who lost his fight with cancer. Dustin aspired to be an actor and before he died was awarded an honorary member of the Screen Actors Guild by Melissa Gilbert, who is the chairman of the Children?s Hospice Coalition and a friend of Johnny?s. On the bracelet is inscribed, ?Today is a gift?have fun.? ?There is a profound simplicity in Dustin?s message,? says Johnny who has two children of his own.
Although the Angels are not directly linked to Johnny himself, Donna made sure that the CHPCC contacted his camp and made sure that she would not have legal snags with her newfound project. Melissa Gilbert is said to be excited about the Angels work thus far. Donna will state upfront that she has ?no idea if Johnny himself actually knows about our work? I really don’t dare presume. I only hope that he will conclude that we have conducted this grassroots project with dignity and honesty? I hope that he does and that he approves.? While the Angels are basically a brand new charity, they have done an immense amount of work in the past year raising support from all over the globe and reaching out to thousands of the Johnny Depp community. The website for Johnny?s angels offers information about CHPCC and their two branches that offer assistance to families of terminally ill children. It also offers a link to purchase a Dustin bracelet and also the Angel charm that is sold on behalf of CHPCC. This shows the direct link between the two organizations and legitimizes Donna?s effort to bring the two together.
Johnny?s Angels have held two main fundraisers thus far, one in New York on November 10, 2007 at the Dive Bar. There was a performance by Pie Boys Flat and a Johnny Depp impersonator, Parker Roe. They raised over 1,500 for the charity, which was generously matched by the Harden family grant. Coming right off the heels of this success, the Angels formed a ?Sweeny Todd Holiday Campaign?, to coincide with the opening of Depp?s new film. The slogan was ?Lets give Johnny this present for Christmas.? Advertising for only six weeks over the Internet and the My Space Depp community, the Angels were able to AGAIN rise over 1,200 by small private donations. The givers were rewarded also with a silicon angel bracelet that was sent to each gift of over 20 dollars. Beyond these two fundraisers, Johnny?s Angels raise money by working with ?Goodsearch,? a free search engine that donates a penny with every search. ?This is a great way to help out our cause without having to give anything out of pocket.? says Donna. ?Everyone can do this one simple thing.? As a total, The Angels chaity have raised over 5,000 dollars in a little less than one year!!!
Their site sells of course the Tibetan silver angel charm bracelets with 100% going to the CHPCC and also t-shirts and all sorts of cool merchandise like hats, stationary and baby items also all proceeds going to the CHPCC. This may be seen as perhaps a much better way to spend money for the Depp fans then just another Captain Jack or Edward Scissorhands key chain or tidbit off of ebay.
What?s in the future for the Angels charity? Giachetti says;? I think that we really need to push beyond the Depp fan universe in 2008. There are so many groups devoted to children’s health services and hospice services, which I’d like to see us reach in the coming year. The Depp fans will always be our biggest focus, but spreading the word to the general public is critical.? This is no small goal for the ever-growing organization but not one that cannot be reached taking in account the past record of 2007. The things that have been accomplished are such a great feat and Donna states, “I have a core group of women that help run all of our endevors. I just couldn’t function with out them and I am so blessed!”
When asked what has been the most rewarding moment of the charities endeavor thus far, Donna caught this writer off guard while making this recount: ?A 4-year old boy named Julian Avery has been battling brain cancer since August. He is very close to losing that battle today. Julian’s story simultaneously inspires me and breaks my heart. One of our “Angels” was able to arrange for Julian to visit with dolphins recently. This was his greatest wish, and one which Make-A-Wish was not able to accommodate. If we have done nothing else this year, we have accomplished that single precious thing: Julian was able to come face-to-face with dolphins during his visit to Orlando Florida this past November. His battle is nearly over, and although he will be among the angels soon, his memory will never leave my heart.?
With the inspiration for this entire charity coming from Johnny Depp himself, it is a wondrous thing that one individual could motivate such vast and benevolent actions from others. When posed the question what she would say to Johnny if he ever read about her group?s efforts, Donna articulated that;
?I would talk to him as a parent, since my 7-year-old son is the most important motivation in my life, and I imagine that his children are equally essential to his life. I would tell him that despite how I admire him as an actor and a person, I have allowed this project to enter my heart for reasons that go far beyond? What I am doing is, essentially, thanking the universe for giving me a healthy child. And I think that is something that Johnny Depp would understand very well.?
For truly as Dustin has said, ?Life is a gift?have fun.?

 

1 October 2007   Articles No Comments

No other like Johnny Depp
Comm 105
October 1, 2007/edited Feb.20, 2008
by lizzy4depp

Johnny Depp?s existence in this world is as essential as the oxygen we breathe. Johnny is a genius in his own right and his preference for collaborating with directors of the same caliber have shown that he is a mastermind of his craft. Johnny is known as the finest actor of his generation. In a more important light the most well admired by public and by his peers. He is capable of anything and obviously has no limit to his abilities. He has proven this time and time again in a variety of roles, from a demon processed writer, to a homosexual prisoner. Johnny has portrayed characters from the dark ages with an English accent, to a sharp Irish tongued gypsy living on the French countryside. He has stood toe to toe with the industries most powerful performers like Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. The critics are always astonished and awed by his performances, mostly because no one can ever guess what role Johnny will pull off next. He continues to pull ?rabbits out of his hat,? not only acting in far-reaching roles, but also testing his own limits in his chosen profession.
What categorizes someone as a genius? Is it in the actor?s perception of their characters? It has been said that when people on the set have looked into Johnny?s eyes, they could physically see him change into another personality. This is one reason that Johnny?s acting can be compared to the silent film stars, Charlie Chaplin and the great Lon Chaney, who is known as the man of a thousand faces. Johnny is able to change into a character of any age, circumstance or persona. This is one reason that his fame and notoriety have spread worldwide to all different cultures and countries. His attention to detail is evident in his portrayals of the character?s hidden nuances, bringing to light a deeper layer of feeling most actors leave wanting on the surface. He doesn?t cheat the viewer by giving in to cheap emotions during a performance.
With just one glance, Johnny is able to portray an understanding of the writer and director?s vision for the core of a character. Johnny is a linguist, able to interpret a story like a translator. Directors like Roman Pollinski and Tim Burton seek Johnny out because of this very reason. Hunter Thompson, Emir Kusturica and Stephen Jeffreys,who are the most prestige writers of their time, sent their work to Johnny, and often to him only. The collaborations with individuals who share an understanding of life and art equal to his own is something that outsiders cannot comprehend. It has been said that Johnny will suck the life out of a person and leak it back out onto the role he is playing. Characters that would be considered misfits and outcasts call to Johnny, with his comprehension of their subtleties, in which he sees a piece of himself. He is able to view a character as a totally different individual outside the mindscape of normal perception.
Johnny Depp?s attitude towards life and fame is another point that separates him from all other entertainers. He has chosen to live far from the media and his homeland. He scoffs at the monetary value of a role and ignores popular opinion. Johnny has stated that he ?looks at life from the outside.? Differentiating him from other actors of his era, he goes against roles of status, the media and ?mainstream? movie roles. Even with his ?off the wall? choices, he continuously draws in the public, who long to touch a piece of his world. Adamant about staying true to whom he is, Johnny turns down millions of dollars a year, rejecting offers that would surely appeal to most actors. This may be because of his ability to gaze above the horizon and touch the soul of characters that are yet to be seen by the everyday eye.

A high school drop out from a family in poverty, Johnny Depp has proven that he prossesses the qualities that place him in the realm of genius. His work fascinates even his greatest critics, who admit that other actor?s portrayals pale in comparison to Johnny?s bravado. Overlooked by the political awards that are gleaned on the ?talk of the year? he continues to rise above the rest in everyway. Largely sought out by the great thinkers of today, he uses his inner knowledge of a character to portray a vision that only a few can share. Johnny has been drawn to roles like Jack the Ripper, to the quirky Willy Wonka and Ichabod Crane. How can anyone who loves the entertainment industry go through life without basking in Johnny?s glow? His angelic good looks are merely a sprinkling to the whole package that contains a holiness rare to behold. People who have never sat and watched Johnny in a film are missing out on a true experience that will enrich and touch their lives forever.