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1 December 2009   Articles No Comments

Title: Johnny Depp the Outsider

Author: John Lancer

Publication: UK-Caesars Player

Issue: December 2009

Depp may have been master of his own fate, beginning with his decision to desert his starring role in the hugely popular television series 21 Jump Street to act on the big screen. But it hasn’t always been easy.

“I was Sort of thrown into becoming famous he remembers.”There were some battles l had to fight to retain my individuality. I’d get agents who’d say to me,’ Why are you going against the grain?’ But I knew that if I continued the way they wanted me to, it was death; it was just going to be over with. It was a question of standing tall and saying, I’m not going to be what you want me to be. I’m going to be what l want to be.”‘

Instead of trying to become a leading man, Depp picked unconventional roles ranging from the strange teen in cult filmmaker John Waters’ Cry-Baby to the outcast with shears for hands in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. And he remained a reluctant celebrity battling against fame with occasional outbursts of pubic anger fuelled by drugs and alcohol. Looking back, he says simply, “I think in many ways I was existing without living”

Now, Depp has left personal angst behind to become one of the hottest stars In Hollywood. The three-time Oscar nominee [for Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Neverland and Sweeney Todd] reflects “The first thing you’ve got to trust is your instincts your gut. That‘s really how I’ve been able to stick around for such a long time. I just rely on my instinct and do what l think is right for me.”


Depp’s current choice unites film with Burton for the seventh time as he takes on the role of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. “Lewis Carrolls book was my starting point” he says. ‘There are little mysteries, little clues, in it that l found fascinating and were keys to my understanding of the Mad Hatter. i also thought about what he should look like, and I made little weird drawings and watercolors and brought them to Tim Burton. Then, he showed me his weird little drawings and watercolors and they were not dissimilar. You could’ve put them right together and they were pretty darn close”

Over the years, starting with Depp’s first collaboration with Burton on Edward Scissorhands and taking him through Sleepy Hollow and the hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the pair has forged a close working relationship and friend-ship that seems to always revolve around the creation of oddly unique characters.

“There‘s no real definition other than there is some kind of connection, some sort of understanding that Tim and I have that is at most times unspoken”  Depp explains. Burton says of Depp ‘From the first time I ever worked with him, he was willing to try anything. As an actor, he’s totally fearless. I sometimes think of actors like Johnny as silent films stars. It’s like they don’t even need to speak when you see them on the screen because they’re so fascinating to watch”


It was Depp’s wildly offbeat take on Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean that propelled him to the top of the A-list.”I never really thought about it much; he says of becoming wealthy and successful.”Somebody mentioned something about me being on the Forbes list and it just made me laugh. It just didn’t make any sense no me at all. But if that’s where they want to put me, that’s great. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be there next year. I figure if this is what the ride is for the moment, great.”

Depp isn’t apologizing for his biggest indulgence, the purchase of an island in the Bahamas where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed.”It‘s a tiny place that I fell in love with,” he explains. “I can divide my time between there and the South of France, where I live with my family. For me, the place to be Is where there is an opportunity for normalcy and simplicity. I sort of slum around the world on location,  battling incessantly to get other people’s words right in front of a camera, so to go and sit and stare at the horizon on my island for a little while is pretty good. I think it might add a couple of minutes to your life”

So what’s guiding him now? “Remembering that you make your own reality” Depp says.”You don’t have to stay in a little shell that was hammered out for you from childhood. I think that at a certain point, you have come out and live your life the way you want to live it and not have to answer to anybody”

In fact, Depp does answer to a couple of people who he admits have changed his life; his son and daughter with French actress Vanessa Paradis. “The greatest thing is just the sort of  beauty of watching my kids grow up and become little adults” he says.“The kiddies give you strength and perspective. When the fame thing would make me angry, I’d sort of go ‘Oh bug off! I’m just going to play Barbies with rny daughter”

And while Depp is clearly proud of his track record in a tough business, he insists he tries not to become too preoccupied with what he puts on the screen. ‘I prefer to stay as ignorant as possible about my work.” he says.”It takes a while for me to watch a movie I’ve done because I may start having regrets.  My philosophy is once they wrap the film, my job is done. I’ve done my damage. It’s up to somebody else to clean up the mess and put it all together.”

But there’s one thing that Depp almost always misses: the characters he plays. “l remember when l was doing Edward Scissorhands he says.”I really feel like a dunce saying this, but it’s the truth—the last day of filming, it was like the eighty-ninth day. I had my makeup on and I looked in the mirror and went, ‘This is the last time I’ll see you! I had that feeling about Captain Jack too. It’s a weird thing, and l don’t think it’s normal.”

1 November 2009   Articles No Comments

Title: Through the Mirror

Author: Gaynor Flynn

Publication: FilmInk

Issue: November 2009

The first time that you see Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, he’s hanging under Black friars Bridge in London with a noose around his neck. It‘s an incredibly disturbing moment given that it’s only 21 months since the actor was found dead in New York from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. When Gilliam first heard about the death of his friend, he was grief stricken. Then, of course, there was the film to consider. The news had barely flashed around the world, but investors had already begun to desert the sinking ship. “l didn’t see how we could finish it without Heath, because he’d only done approximately half of his roIe.“ says Gilliam wearily. “The financial people were dropping out, and I thought that everything was over. I was so depressed that I didn’t want to continue working. Luckily, I always surround myself with really good people, and they wouldn’t let me stop. They said, ‘Fuck you, you lazy bastard! You’ve got to fix this thing because of Heath.” So we went back td work.’

Gilliam, his 31-year-dld daughter Amy (who makes her producing debut on the film), and cinematographer Nicola Pecorini shut themselves away in a room and tried to think of a solution. “Amy was the one who initially said that we could do this. She was stubborn and pig-headed and determined to finish the film for Heath. Clearly she’s a chip off the old block” cackles Gilliam. Who came up with the idea of three actors replacing Ledger?  “Well, we discussed for a long time whether one actor should take the part, but I felt that was impossible.” says Gilliam. “I didn’t think that it was respectful, and I didn’t think that it would work at all. The film‘s story involves a magic mirror, which Heath goes through three times. So I thought, ‘Okay, three actors would he the way to approach it.”‘

Still, Gilliam had his doubts. It was only when he contacted his good mate Johnny Depp that the director began to believe that the film was salvageable. “I called Johnny, and he said. ‘I’m there’, and at that moment. I thought that it might work.” says Gilliam. “Then I called other people who knew and loved Heath. Colin Farrell and Jude Law came on board as well, and worked for no money,” adds Gilliam. “They wanted their fees to go to Heath‘s daughter. They wouldn’t take a bean”

Set in modern day London, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus revolves around a horse drawn carnival show. There‘s a magician of sorts (Andrew Garfield) and a dwarf  (Verne Troyer), but the main attraction is Dr. Parnassus {Christopher Plummer}. who is 1.000 years old thanks to a deal that he made with the devil {Tom Waits}. The deal requires Parnassus to hand over his daughter Valentina {Lily Cole} on her sixteenth birthday, which is only three days away. As the day looms, Parnassus is forced to re-evaluate his life and find a way to save his daughter. An amnesiac stranger called Tony {Ledger} joins the troupe and helps the doctor with his plans.

Gilliam first worked with Ledger in 2005 on The Brothers Grimm. They became close friends, each mentoring and inspiring the other, and both wanted to work together again. Was Gilliam nervous about Ledger’s family seeing the film? “I think they’ll be delighted by it.‘ he replies. “l got to work with Heath every day in the cutting room, so it’s slightly different for me. He doesn’t seem to be that long departed from us.‘

What was he like in the days before the tragic accident? There was talk that Ledger was broody and moody alter making The Dark Knight. “There was no darkness around Heath,“ says Gilliam. “He had chronic insomnia, and he‘d arrive in the morning looking exhausted. But within an hour, he’d be running circles around everybody else. Heath was enjoying himself so much. He was adlibbing a lot and loving every minute of the experience. I don’t normally allow that much adlibbing in my films, but Heath was just brilliant at it. Everybody was just energised by Heath. He was extraordinary, and he was almost exhausting because he had so much energy. He was coming up with new ideas every minute, and it was a joy to watch this part blossom.”

24-year-old British actor Andrew Garfield, who first came to notice in the powerful drama Boy A, which won him a BAFTA in 2007, is still amazed that Gilliam cast him. “He was just drunk, I think,” laughs the young actor. “I was lucky because I really, really wanted the part. I was brought up watching The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen and all the other films in that vein, like Labyrinth and The Goonies and all these broad fantasies. To not only work with someone who I‘m hugely inspired by and in awe of was great, and my dad is a huge fan as well, which made it even better. I learned so much from Terry, and also from Heath,” Garfield continues. “I really learned from his approach, his stillness and his specificity. The most valuable thing to have as an actor is to he free from your mind imposing what you should be doing or what you should be thinking. Heath had that freedom of body and mind in abundance. I found that inspiring”.

Did Gilliam have to do any major rewrites once Ledger was gone? “The movie is what we wrote.” the director explains. “We had to change certain things to accommodate Heath not being there, but it was very important to stay exactly true to what we set out to make because Heath wanted that movie. There‘s one moment where Christopher Plummer’s character is saying, ‘A tale of romance, of comedy, of unforeseen death’, and he didn’t want to say that line after Heath died. We said, ‘You have to say it! That’s the line that we wrote; that’s the movie that Heath and I were making.’ The dialogue with Johnny Depp — ‘They will live forever, eternally young’ — was all written in advance as well.” continues Gilliam. “Heath hanging from his neck from the bridge was shot on the first day of shooting. I knew that it would be a very strange feeling for an audience to see that. We left it in because that was the movie that we were making, and that’s what Heath would have expected” he explains.

Where did the idea for the story come from? Is it something that Gilliam has been working on for years? “The genesis was basically just deciding one day to do something original rather than adapting a book.” Gilliam replies. “I thought that it would be fun to make a compendium of all of the things that I was interested in, from Python cartooning to Twelve Monkeys. I brought in Charles McKeown, who had written The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen and part of Brazil with me. We hadn’t worked together for quite a long time, so I thought that would be fun as well. That’s how we started. I basically started rummaging through my drawers, looking for old ideas that were never used.”

Anyone who has followed Gilliam’s career will know that the director’s projects are often beset by monumental problems. It’s not a coincidence that many of Gilliam’s fantastical tales revolve around the struggle against a great power. The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus is no different. This time, the  power is the devil himself. Gilliam describes it as “a self portrait.” The film is essentially about a man with a crazy imagination who wants to share it with the world, but the world doesn‘t want to listen. “I was feeling depressed, so I thought, ‘Okay, with The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, nobody wants my stories anymore, so they don’t want his either.’ I was feeling very sorry for myself. So we put that in there, and little by little, it became what it is.“ Has he ever sold his soul to get a film made? “Are you kidding? All the time,” Gilliam laughs. “What do you think I‘m doing now?”

There must have been times over the years when Gilliam thought that he was jinxed. Has he ever thought about giving up? “No. I haven’t,” he replies. “I don’t know why. It would be much nicer if I could just stop. I spend most of the time being depressed; I‘m not this upbeat normally. . this is not me! What you’re hearing is this guy that pretends to be me. I’m really miserable. Speak to my wife,” Gilliam laughs. “I’m also a fatalist. I start things. I try very hard to make them happen, and they either do or they don’t. This one did, and I’d like to think that Heath had a hand in that. He was my guardian angel. He made this happen; the fact that this film got made at all is a miracle, pure and simple”

1 November 2009   Articles No Comments

Title: Sexiest Man Alive

Publication: People

Issue: November 2009

Johnny Depp should come with a warning label: Close encounters are likely to cause extreme nervousness, impaired judgment and embarrassing displays of rapture. Take it from actress Missi Pyle, his co-star in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “It was my sister’s birthday, and I said, ‘Would you mind writing a little something for her?’” recalls Pyle. “And he was like, ‘Why don’t you come to my trailer for a picture?” Decked out in her character’s teased blond wig and Day-Glo makeup, “I remember running back and washing and blow—drying my hair and putting on my real makeup because I looked so frightening,” says Pyle. “I walked in to his trailer and there were candles burning and he’s like, ‘Would you like a glass of wine? A cigarette? He rolled his own—I had quit smoking—but I was like, ‘Of course!’ I was nauseous for four hours because they were really strong.” And then there was the awkward issue of remembering to look at his eyes-and not, y’know, other mesmerizing bits—while chatting with him. “I would find myself talking to his mouth,” says Pyle. As for her reaction when director Tim Burton suggested she get closer to Depp during the production, Pyle says: “I felt a party go off inside of me.”

Break out the Bordeaux, the whoopee cushions and the bangin’ Keith Richards guitar solos (all Depp favorites), because the 2009 Sexiest Man Alive party is officially under way—and everyone’s invited. Bringing the fun with him wherever he goes—whether it’s onscreen in fizzy roles like Captain Jack Sparrow or at home with his family on their private Bahamian island—is just one of the many reasons why Depp, who also scored the honor in 2003, has joined an elite club of two—time SMA title-holders (only Brad Pitt and George Clooney have matched the feat). At 46, the father of two—daughter Lily—Rose, 10, and son Jack, 7, with his partner of more than 10 years, French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis, 35—still reigns as Hollywood’s most irresistible iconoclast; as one-of-a-kind as his beloved 15-year-old boots and as smoldering as his favorite Cuban cigars. (He gave up his signature Bali Shag cigarettes a few years ago.) “He really is as sexy as he’s cracked up to be,” says actress Leelee Sobieski, his co-star in last summer’s John Dillinger biopic Public Enemies. Exactly what makes him so sexy? “He has a profound elegance about him,” says his friend Bruce Robinson, who directed him in the upcoming Hunter S. Thompson film The Rum Diary. “He knows exactly who he is and doesn’t try to be anything he isn’t.  Plus,” adds Robinson, “the fantastic face.”

Ah, the Face. Exactly 25 years after he hit the big screen in his first major role as a doomed teen in Nightmare on Elm Street, Depp’s arresting magnetism remains remarkably unchanged: those famous sword-sharp cheekbones, the dark rum eyes. “I’ve worked with a lot of big actors,” says Pyle, “and he’s by far the most-I can’t think of the right word; only dirty words are coming up!—he’s by far the sexiest.” (He does sweat for that timelessly hot body: On the set of Public Enemies, he put in daily 5 a.m. workouts with a trainer.) A versatile artist who counts oil painting, playing guitar and reading the work of Tolstoy among his talents—oh, and he “can swear in any language,” notes his Public Enemies co-star Branka Katic—he’s essentially “an interesting enigma when it all comes down to it,” says Amber Heard, his  leading lady in The Rum Diary. “You have to watch him.” And yet the Kentucky native with a proud streak of Cherokee blood wears his sex appeal as effortlessly as his treasury of tattoos and assorted trinkets. Notes Pyle: “I think he’s genuinely flattered by the effect he has on women and yet doesn’t really care. And that’s sexy too.”

As comfortable as he is in his own skin, he’s happiest when he’s with “my girl” and the “kiddies,” as he has affectionately called Paradis and their children. The continent-hopping family—who divide their time between their estates in the Bahamas, California and the south of France- “are like gypsies with a private plane,” says a Paradis pal. And yet the family is rarely apart, with Depp typically flying to join them wherever they are in the world when he is shooting elsewhere. “Whenever he mentions his kids, his entire facial expression changes—his whole spirit just lifts,” recalls Jeff Scalf, the great—nephew of John Dillinger, with whom Depp met in preparation for playing the notorious robber. When Scalf asked about Depp’s most famous role-Pirates of the Caribbean’s loopy Captain Jack, for which he scored an Oscar nod and helped the trilogy rake in over $2.5 billion worldwide-the actor explained that the part has special meaning for him. “He said, ‘I do Captain Jack because my kids really think Daddy’s a pirate” says Scalf. “His face beamed. He says he plays pirate with the kids quite a bit.”

To be sure, behind the gold teeth-Depp even makes those sexy-and devil-may-care insouciance, there is a heart-melting softie. Dropping off Lily-Rose for her first day of pre-school in France awhile back, “he hid in the bushes to watch her,” recalls an observer. “Lily was crying and she wouldn’t stop. So Johnny took her out of the classroom and she never went back.” When Lily was hospitalized with a serious illness in London in 2007 Depp shut down production of his film Sweeney Todd to be by her bedside until she recovered. “His family comes way before anything else,” says Robinson. “They are the most important thing in his life.”

 Renowned for his fan-friendly graciousness, he is “one of the most generous spirits I’ve ever met in my life,” says Robinson. On the Rum Diary set in San Juan, Puerto Rico, notes the director, “he’d be working a long day and it’s hot as hell, but he’d never neglect all the people who’d been Waiting outside to see him.” And the man keeps his promises: In Wisconsin last year, local boy Jack Taylor admired Depp’s Dillinger-era fedora from Public Enemies and asked if he could have it. Depp said yes – when the film Wrapped. Sure enough, the hat arrived at Jack’s house after the film was finished.

Next up for Hollywood’s nicest rebel – two more full-makeup fantasies: Next month’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, in which he helped take over the role of his late friend Heath Ledger, and March’s Alice in Wonderland, his seventh collaboration with director Tim Burton. Sharing his personal philosophy last summer, Depp said, “You’re handed the ball and you go as far as you can until somebody says, All right, kid, you’re done.’ ” Kid, you’ve only just begun.

1 August 2009   Articles No Comments

Title: Mad About the Hatter

Author: Evgenia Peretz

Publication: Vanity Fair

Issue: August 2009


After the huge success of Batman {I989], Tim Burton might have gone the route of Hollywood action director, churning through every iconic American superhero. Instead, he has spent the last 20 years on his own candy-colored, cobweb-by path, inventing heartbreakingly peculiar heroes [Edward Scissorhands] and giving a macabre edge to children’s classics [Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory]. It would seem inevitable that one day he’d take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, last seen on film in the bland animated Disney version of 1951. Fifty-eight  years later, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen were begging to be reimagined by the living master of cheeky Goth.

It’s inevitable, also, that it would star, as the Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp, whose real-life passion for haberdashery could hardly be better documented. Now on their seventh collaboration, Depp and Burton both grew up as suburban outcasts and admit to speaking a language on set that no one else understands. The film also stars Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Burton’s partner, Helena Bonham Carter, as the Red Queen, Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts, and Mia Wasikowska {In Treatment Defiance} as Alice. The director has employed “’performance capture” technology and 3D—two more reasons it seems destined to be of a rare breed; the auteur’s blockbuster.

30 July 2009   Articles No Comments

Johnny Depp is a very busy man.

Not only is he knee-deep in promotion and post-production for Alice in Wonderland, Depp will once again be joining forces with Tim Burton in the vampire flick Dark Shadows, targeted for a 2011 release with filming beginning in 2010. Burton confirmed to the LA Times that Dark Shadows will be his next project as soon as he wraps up post-production on Wonderland.

Burton described the 1960s vampire soap opera as having “the weirdest vibe to it,” and it most certainly will again with Burton and Depp at the helm. The prolific Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, has optioned the film, and Depp will be taking the lead role of the vampire Barnabus Collins, which he confessed was a “lifelong dream.”

According to IMDb, Depp’s company has over a dozen films in development right now, including 2011’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, an adaptation of Brian Selznik’s Caldecott-winning novel.

Depp himself is immersed in a variety of acting roles. On the heels of Public Enemies comes Wonderland, The Rum Diary, The Lone Ranger, and Rango (Depp voices the title character). He’s also rumored to be taking part in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, In the Hands of Dante, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and Sin City 3.

And who can forget the incomparable Jack Sparrow? Depp is reprising his role in Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which is currently in the script-writing stage and which, according to Disney’s Head of Production Oren Aviv, will begin filming in 2010.

The movies have subsequently gotten bigger and bigger and very complicated and they were satisfying on so many levels obviously, but I want to kind of reboot the whole thing and bring it down to its core, its essence, just characters.

This “reboot” will apparently include backstory on Depp’s eccentric character and will possibly be the first in a new trilogy, rather than a sequel to the first. Either way, Pirates fans will be lining up to see it.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Depp is also rumored to be taking on a Frank Sinatra biopic produced and directed by Martin Scorsese. Of course, nothing is confirmed, and there is also a rumor that the role will be taken by Leonardo DiCaprio, so Depp might not end up being connected to the film at all. Then again, there are the other members of the Rat Pack to consider…

Whether Depp characterizes the crooner or not won’t diminish the impact his career has made on modern cinema. Johnny Depp is undisputably one of the best actors of his generation with more than two dozen awards under his belt. All he needs now is an Oscar; maybe one of his many upcoming ventures will get him there… if he doesn’t burn out in the attempt.


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

1 April 2009   Articles Public Enemies No Comments

Title: Public Enemies

Author: Chris Nashawaty

Publication: Entertainment Weekly

Issue: April 2009


Anyone who’s seen 1981’s Thief or 1995’s Heat knows that Michael Mann can pull off a heist movie. So it’s not surprising that the tough-guy writer-director would be drawn to the story of the most storied bank robber of them all, John Dillinger. Back in the 1930s, a time when most Americans were being hammered by the Depression, Dillinger launched one of the most dizzying crime sprees ever recorded. It turned him into a national folk hero. After all, he was daring to do what the rest of the cash-strapped country could only dream of: sticking up banks, which had gone from trusted institutions to the fat-eat enemy of the working man.

Timely, no’?

Mann was raised in Chicago, the setting of one of Dillinger’s actual bank heists, and he’d been tiptoeing around the idea of a Dillinger movie for decades. “The Biograph Theater, where Dillinger was finally gunned down, was a place that my wife and I used to go on dates, 30-some years age,” he says, laughing. In fact, back in the ’70s, Mann wrote a script about the early days of the FBI when it hunted down gangsters such as Dillinger. “Nothing ever happened with it,” says Mann, “but I guess you could say it’s been in the back of my brain all these years.”

The name of that screenplay? Pubic Enemy.

Johnny Depp had also been flirting with the idea of playing the legendary thief for a while. Depp, whose grandfather ran moonshine on the back roads of Kentucky during Prohibition, grew up idolizing outlaws like Dillinger: “Some people might disagree, but I think he was a real-life Robin Hood,” says Depp of the bank robber, who at least managed the rob from the rich part of Robin Hood’s credo. “He knew that the clock was ticking, and boy if right now wasn’t the time to have a good time, then I don’t know when is!” Needles: to say when Mann approached Depp to play Dillinger; the actor didn’t need to be held at gunpoint.

While Mann’s film is ostensibly a biopic of the criminal whose movie-star good looks and knack with a Thompson submachine gun made him public enemy No. 1 during the early days of the FBI, it wouldn’t be much of a story without a colorful adversary on his tail. Fortunately, history provided one of those too. Enter Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis, J. Edgar Hoover’s golden-boy agent. “He was known as the Clark Gable of the Bureau,” says Bale. “Although he was on the other side of the law from Dillinger; they were similar in some ways Purvis had the finest car at the time, a Pierce-Arrow, and he was driven to work each morning by a chauffeur. To this day, he’s responsible for taking down more public enemies than any other agent in history.”

For a summer movie that features neither super-heroes nor cyborgs, it certainly helps to have a cast headlined by Depp and Bale—maybe the only two actors in Tinseltown able to carry a franchise flick and hang on to their artistic street creed. In a way, you could say that Depp and Bale are the movie’s special effects. This might also be the only movie opening during the air-conditioning months that could still be talked about at Oscar time.

Throughout his career, whether with The Insider or The Last of the Mohicans, Mann has encouraged his actors to get as deep into their characters as they’re willing to go. And in Depp and Bale, he found performers willing to go pretty deep. When Depp was presented with an actual suitcase that Dillinger left behind alter one of his narrow getaways, Mann says the actor responded like a kid in a candy store (or, more likely, a kid sticking up a candy store). He even got to caress Dillinger’s folded shirts and inspect his Depp kit. Meanwhile, Bale, an actor who Mann says was in character “24 hours a day, seven days a week,” pored over reams of yellowing clippings and ancient newsreels. He even visited Purvis’ son in South Carolina. Says Bale, “I don’t know that it’s essential, but if its there, I wouldn’t want to do without it”.

Still, movie goers shouldn’t expect two—plus hours of Method fireworks between the stats. “We had very few scenes together” admits Bale. “In fact, it was one. Otherwise, Johnny was just a silhouette I was shooting at.” Just one scene? Kind of like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Mann’s Heat?  “Well, don’t misunderstand. This is about Dillinger. I’m the supporting role. So it’s not the kind of moment that you’re talking about.”

If they don’t share a lot of screen time, one thing Depp and Bale did share was their favourite scene in the film: a re-creation of the infamous 1934 FBI raid at the Little Bohemia Lodge in northern Wisconsin. Mann and his crew made a pilgrimage to the actual location where Dillinger narrowly escaped Purvis and his men. Even now, months after the fact, Bale still seems almost giddy reminiscing about it. “I fired so many bullets in those woods in the middle of the night, I was literally tasting metal for a week afterwards.” May we suggest some popcorn as a palate cleanser?

Title: Public Enemies

Author: Chris Nashawaty

Publication: US – Entertainment Weekly

Issue: January 2009


YOU COULD SAY being an outlaw runs in Johnny Depp’s blood. After all, his grandfather ran moonshine on the back roads of Kentucky during Prohibition. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the actor jumped at the chance to play John Dillinger in Public Enemies. “Dillinger was one of those guys, like Charlie Chaplin and Evel Knievel, that I was fascinated with at a young age,” says Depp. ‘And because of my grandfather, the character was pretty easy for me to connect to. In a way this movie was a salute to him.”

Based on a book by Bryan Burrough, Enemies is a cat-and-mouse thriller about the early days of the FBI, and one agent’s pursuit of the Depression-era bank robber whose dizzy reign of stickups and near escapes ended in a hail of bullets outside of Chicago’s Biograph Theater in 1934. Dillinger lived fast, died young, and left not only a handsome corpse but a legacy as one of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century.

Directed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), and costarring Christian Bale as the dashing federal agent Melvin Purvis, Public Enemies might sound like a blood-soaked chapter of ancient history. But the film’s themes couldn’t be more timely: Dillinger was sticking up banks at a time when people weren’t exactly rooting for them. As a result, he became something larger than life—a rock star with a tommy gun. “Some people might disagree, but I think he was a real-life Robin Hood,” says Depp, who just finished playing the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, due in 2010. “I mean, the guy wasn‘t completely altruistic, but he went out of his way not to kill anybody. He definitely gave a lot of that money away I love the guy”

Still hip—deep in the editing stage of the film, which he’s readying for its July 2009 release, Mann remains in awe of his two leading men. “Johnny has courage and immense power: its all about the spontaneity of the moment for him. Christian works in a totally different way. He becomes the character so totally that he’s that person 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The accent, everything.”

Mann shot on the actual locations where Dillinger and Purvis made headlines, because, he says, “when your hand touches the same doorknob Dillinger’s did, it starts to talk to you.” The director even managed to get his hands on a still preserved suitcase left behind by Dillinger after one of his narrow getaways. “All of the dress shirts were still folded perfectly,” says Depp. “It was a real insight into the guy. Because everything was ready to go at a moment’s notice. It was just economical and beautiful.”

Depp even got to wear the pair of pants that Dillinger had on when he was finally caught and riddled with bullets. “It was amazing,” he says. “And -get this – we’re the same size!” Like we said, the man was born to play the part.


Questions for Johnny

EW: How did this movie come about?

JD: It came at the time of the writers’ strike. A wave of fear gripped the industry. And out of nowhere this script arrived with a note: “Michael Mann would like to talk to you about playing Dillinger”

EW: What was your reaction to hearing that?

JD: Well, certainly intrigued. Intrigued by both Dillinger and Michael Mann. It’s always interesting to get in the ring with a director and explore their process and see what does it for him.

EW: And what does it for him?

JD: The details of the details of the details. [Laughs] They should invent a word to describe it, because it’s not just details, it teeters on microscopic obsession with every molecule of the moment. Which is admirable, you know? You got to salute that.

EW: So what details of this character did you try to latch onto?

JD: The interesting thing is, John Dillinger really became a criminal almost by accident The two main ingredients for his initial incarceration were ignorance and youth. There are moments in life when those two walk hand in hand in a very tight grip. When he went inside, the world was one thing, and when he came out, it was Technicolor. Women dressed differently. It was a different planet. Prison at that time was college for criminals. He went in and basically learned how to rob banks. By all accounts, he wasn’t the best student initially but he got the hang of it.

EW: What was your favorite scene to shoot?

JD: Well, Let’s just say, how often do you get to stand on the running board of an old 1932 Buick blasting a 50·round clip from a Thompson submachine gun? When do you get to do that without getting into trouble for it? And with Michael, you get to do it again and again and again.

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’.”