INTERVIEW Magazine May 2006 – Johnny Depp interviews Lili Taylor.
For a working-class girl from the white-collar suburbs of Chicago who has always refused to have her edges buffed and who has a resume filled with more damaged, insecure, and shockingly unstable characters than a Hollywood studio boardroom the journey through moviedom has been less about making choices than winning battles.
We join the 39-year-old actress in this excerpt as she dishes with her Arizona Dream co-star Johnny Depp.
Johnny Depp: Now, there is something I’ve been meaning to say to you, because I haven’t seen you for a while. Do you remember a few years back when we were at my house here in Los Angeles and we were painting?
LT: Honey, I was just looking at your painting two minutes ago. I’ve got it up on the wall.
JD: I remember that we were painting and you grabbed the tiniest canvas and it was all pink and you painted this beautiful little girl in this sort of bluish protective sphere in the center of it. We were using these really heavy oil sticks and just laying it on really thick. Anyhow, there were two things I wanted to say to you about it. The first is that after, like, five years, your painting is finally dry. [Taylor laughs] And the second is that I have it up here in my house, and you should come see it sometime. It’s a beautiful little painting. Over the years we’ve talked a lot about painting and art brut and naive art and things like that. But it’s just one of my favorite paintings ever.
LT: Sweetie. I’ve got the one that you made for me with a three on it and a man’s face. I’m holding it in my hands right now. It’s so great that we’ve got each other’s little projects. Are you still in that house in Los Angeles?
JD: Yeah, still there, same joint. What used to look like Dracula’s castle now looks like Dracula’s castle crossed with Toys R Us.
LT: [laughs] The light from the kids has really brightened up the place, huh?
JD: Toys are everywhere. It’s madness.
LT: That’s sweet for the kids.
JD: Yeah, they are good kids. Really good kids. I’m so happy you’re writing. I remember when I was in New York a couple of years back, and you were working with all these little kids with that group.
LT: The 52nd Street Project.
JD: You slayed me with that. I thought it was such a brilliant thing.
LT: Oh, man, yeah. I haven’t done anything with them for a while, but they’re such a great organization. I actually just took a full-day workshop on teenage relationships and how to talk to kids about sex. I got a little certificate. But I was thinking about the 52nd Street Project the whole time and about how successful they’ve been, working with kids in the city who have to deal with a lot of stuff that kids in the suburbs maybe don’t have to confront so much. I’m sure that’s something that you think about too, with your kids.
JD: Oh, absolutely…And with the kiddies, man, just being a parent—-you start to worry 10 years ahead of the curve.
LT: You have a girl and a boy.
JD: Lily-Rose is 6 and a half years old now, and little Jack is 3 and a half. When I told my brother that we were going to have Lily, he congratulated me and said, “It’s the greatest thing you can do. Nothing will make you happier.” And then he said, “You’ll never have another calm moment, and you’ll never sleep the same way again.” And it’s absolutely all true, a thousand percent. [laughs]
LT: You’ve been doing some movies lately that your kids can enjoy, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After the workshop I went to, I really got to thinking about that. Obviously, I’m not a social worker. I’m an artist, and that’s what I do. So the question I keep asking myself is within what I do, what can I do?
JD: Well, you have a great conscience, and you care about what’s happening out there—- what’s going on, what’s going wrong, and what we can make go right. You’ve always been very smart about the choices you’ve made, and you have really taken great care with the things you’ve done.
LT: That’s what’s also been so great about seeing your career grow the way it has. There were times when people didn’t really see what you were doing or didn’t catch the movies you were in, and now it’s finally like, “Yeah, look what he’s been doing all along.”
*Our thanks to Johnny Depp Zone, Susanne, and DeepinDepp for the transcription!