Johnny was interviewed by Jay Leno twice in 1995 (November 5), time of Don Juan DeMarco and Nick Of Time’s release. You can check it in the transcript below!
Jay Leno: -Get right to my first guest, one of the most respected actors working today, you know him in such films as Edward Scissorhands, Benny & Joon and Ed Wood. Latest film called Don Juan DeMarco and getting terrific reviews, with Marlon Brando. This is his very first talk show, glad to have him, Johnny Depp!
(Johnny comes in to the screams of the audience applauding wildly, shakes hands with Leno. Sitting down he looks very uncomfortable. He looks at the crowd and says ‘Geez!’)
Jay Leno: -Here we go, you want one of these? Here we go. Unless you brought enough for everyone.
Johnny Depp: -There was a tray back there…
Jay Leno: -That’s cool, that’s cool. So, this is like a strange environment, doing these kinda shows, is it weird?
Johnny Depp: (Smiles) -Yes. Yeah, to me.
Jay Leno: (Laughs) -I kinda thought that. You never did any kind of theater did you?
Johnny Depp: -No.
Jay Leno: -Mostly behind the camera. Is it odd to be in front of a large group, this many people, like an audience?
Johnny Depp: -Well, I just uh, I don’t have much experience with this type of… (Looks around at audience and looks taken aback at the many people in the audience as they clap and yell at his response).
Jay Leno: -Yeah, I know. But you were a musician, right,? You had a band.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -So you were in front of an audiences there.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, but you go up there an play guitar and then you walk away and it’s over with.
Jay Leno: -Yeah, now you weren’t real successful with the band, just mostly bar gigs? That kinda stuff?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, pretty much.
Jay Leno: -Did you like that? That’s what you did: you weren’t always an actor.
Johnny Depp: -No, I uh, I was a musician forever until I was about 20, 21.
Jay Leno: (Laughing) -Well, what’s forever to 21, actually ?
Johnny Depp: -Well, I mean, I started playing clubs when I was 14.
Jay Leno: -Really at 14?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -Oh, man that’s pretty young, actually.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -I started about nineteen doing clubs. That’s different, you were playing bars?
Johnny Depp: -Bars.
Jay Leno: -Rock ‘n roll bars?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, same deal.
Jay Leno: -Yeah.
Johnny Depp: – They’d sneak me into the back and I’d play and I’d split.
Jay Leno: -So you did that a number of years. So what got you into the acting? At what point did you say I’ll try some acting?
Johnny Depp: (Smiles) -I never said that, still haven’t said that. Kind of a fluke. Hm, a good friend of mine Nicolas Cage suggested (applause from audience) yeah, great actor…
Jay Leno: -How did you know him? Did you know him through music connections?
Johnny Depp: -Just, when I moved out here, I met him through mutual friends. And he just suggested I meet his agent. So I did and he sent me to read for a film. That was it. It was really like, you know a freak thing.
Jay Leno: – All things being equal, would you rather have the success you have now as a musician or would do you like it better as an actor, I mean, which is. . .
Johnny Depp: -Well, I miss playing but I think everything, things happen that’s suppose to.
Jay Leno: -I mean, obviously, I see the intensity in which you bring to these characters that you play, so obviously once you stumbled into it you really loved it, I assume…
Johnny Depp: – Well, yeah, the first couple of years I was just trying to make some money, ya know. (Laughs)
Jay Leno: -Was that when you were doing 21 Jump Street?
Johnny Depp: -No, even before that, Nightmare on Elm Street.
Jay Leno: (Laughing) -Yeah, yeah, you were the guy in the bed?!
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, I got sucked into a bed. (Smiles)
Jay Leno: (Still laughing) -And the blood comes out!
Johnny Depp: -Yeah. (laughs) that was my claim to fame.
Jay Leno: -Did you work as a mechanic also, did I read that in the bio?
Johnny Depp: -I did, yeah, It was a strange deal because, I was pumping gas and my boss suddenly says ‘okay, you’re going into the garage and work on cars now.’ I said ‘well, that’s fine but I don’t know anything about cars’. And he said ‘No, that’s fine just do what I tell ya.’ I did it.
Jay Leno: -You kinda skipped the Mr.Good Wrench training.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, and I got fired eventually, because a guy’s wheel fell off.
Jay Leno: -A guy’s wheel fell off. (Laughs); (Audience laughs and applauds)
Johnny Depp: -It’s true.(figure in ear)
Jay Leno: -Someone told me this but I don’t remember it, maybe we did meet. When Iggy Pop was here someone said you came with him. Did we meet back stage?
Johnny Depp: -No.
Jay Leno: -Were you like hiding out?
Johnny Depp: -No, I was hiding in his dressing room watching the monitor.
Jay Leno: -I was in the the dressing groom, did you hide when I came in?
Johnny Depp: -No. (Smiles)
Jay Leno: -So how did you team up with him? So what’s the connection there?
Johnny Depp: -Well, in 1989 we made Cry Baby together, John Water’s film. I’d met Iggy in uh, about in 1980, the band opened up for him, he was always a real big hero to me. I wanted to meet him but I didn’t want to meet him like ‘Hi how ya doin’ kinda thing, so I decided to get his attention a different way. I started screaming obscenities at him after the show. And uh, he responded. (Smiles) So I was happy. I was satisfied.
Jay Leno: -How did he respond exactly?
Johnny Depp: -Uh, he walked up to me and uh, got about an inch from my nose and called me ‘a little turd’. Yeah. And then, ya know. he waltzed off. (Smiles)
Jay Leno: -Kind of a beautiful, beautiful moment.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, it was nice ya know, I was 17, I felt we bonded. Now we’re pals to this day, so.
Jay Leno: -There ya go, you did the right thing. Don’t get any ideas after the program. We have a clip here from the film. You’re a guy who was arrested as sort of a mentally unstable person who thinks he is Don Juan, the great lover. Is this scene with Marlon Brando and you guys are in his office? Take a look.
Johnny Depp: -Oh!
————-Clip from Don Juan DeMarco———– (audience applauds)
Jay Leno: -Terrific film. Very, very good. You make great choices.
Johnny Depp: -Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Jay Leno: -I appreciate you coming here tonight. I know you gotta run I know you just ran off the set and you’re running back now. Thanks a lot, man!
Johnny Depp: -Thank you very much!
(Jay walks Johnny off the set. Johnny looks into the camera backstage, his eyes widen and he walks past.)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, November 20, 1995
Jay Leno: -My first, guest one of the most respected actors working today. You know him from his work in movies like Ed Wood, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, and his latest film is called, Nick of Time, it opens Wednesday. Please welcome, Johnny Depp!
(Audience applauds with some standing up and clapping & screaming. Johnny comes out, nods to Jay and shakes his hand).
Jay Leno: -Good to see you again.
Johnny Depp: -You too, you too.
Jay Leno: -They tell me you . . .
(Audience still cheering. A woman clearly heard yelling ‘Johnny’!)
Jay Leno: (Laughs) -They tell me you went to that Sinatra thing. I got invited to that I couldn’t go we were in Las Vegas. Was it fun?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, it was great.
Jay Leno: -You meet alot of…
Johnny Depp: -I met Don Rickles.
Jay Leno: (Laughs) -Oh, is that…how was Rickles? Was he alright?
Johnny Depp: -It was very exciting.
Jay Leno: -Yeah?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -You enjoyed meeting him?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -Was he giving you a hard time?
Johnny Depp: -I was waiting for him to insult me, but…
Jay Leno: -Was he familiar with your work?
Johnny Depp: -Apparently, yeah.
Jay Leno: -Well, that’s good. That’s pretty good. Rickles knows who you are.
Johnny Depp: -It was really nice I liked him.
Jay Leno: -Pretty broad base when you got Rickles in there then that’s good. This was Sinatra’s 80th Anniversary, did you meet Sinatra?
Johnny Depp: -80th birthday. No, no I just watched…stood there…stood very far away.
Jay Leno: -You could play a young Sinatra.
Johnny Depp: (Pauses) -Ol’ black Eyes, eh?
Jay Leno: (Laughs) -Be a little tricky. What have you been up to? You been working what, overseas?
Johnny Depp: -I was doing a film in Ireland for couple weeks another one with Marlon Brando (Divine Rapture) and uh, then they took the money away and it was over with. (Laughs) The rug was pulled out from under us.
Jay Leno: -Welcome to show busyness. Now, when you’re overseas, do you get recognized for different things then you do here? I mean is there a different, uh, I mean people know you here for Ed Wood … is it the same all over?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, they don’t concentrate on hotel rooms so much. (Smiles)
Jay Leno: (Laughs hard) -Oh, yeah, are they not as much into celebrity gossip?
Johnny Depp: -I think they just watch the films.
Jay Leno: -Well,That’s good. Thank God for that.
Johnny Depp: -Which is always nice.
Jay Leno: -Let me ask you something about your work, this always struck me, when someone like yourself… (a loud groan from closing door interrupts the conversation) OK, thank you, they’re doing Tales from the Crypt apparently, next door.
Johnny Depp: -I thought it was my chest cavity bursting.
Jay Leno: -Like when I see a film you did a film like Edward Scissorhands, this is so unusual to me and so, I mean it works, but when you’re handed a script, and you know, every film makes or breaks you as you go along each time, someone says ok you play a guy and your hands are scissors, do you ever say to yourself ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I mean, you know what I mean?
Johnny Depp: -Yeah.
Jay Leno: -In your own mind do you go’yeah I see where this goes’? Or do you….?
Johnny Depp: -I saw it yeah. (Laughs); (Applause)
Jay Leno: -Now that’s a great gift, though. (more applause)
Johnny Depp: -It seemed right to me; it seemed normal, it seemed good.
Jay Leno: -You get a script or does an idea like that you just sort of read it and you then find a director or is the whole thing sort of pitched to you at once. You know what I’m saying?
Johnny Depp: -Its always the filmakers, always really important.
Jay Leno: -Because like when I saw Don Juan DeMarco, all of these seem like if given to someone else could either make them a laughing stock if they screwed it up even just a little bit, or do a terrific job as you seem to be able pull off. I just wonder what you see when you…?
Johnny Depp: -Well, uh, part of the seduction is the potential failure that you could actually fall over and do a really bad job.
Jay Leno: -So you like that part.. Yeah, I know what you mean. Rather than go out, sometimes as a comedian you’ll play an impossibly tough room, ‘cause if you win you win big. If you lose it’s a tough room. Now this new film, Nick of Time, is this the first uh, hate to say big, ‘cause they’re all big films, I mean sort of action….?
Johnny Depp: -Well, it’s uh, first sort of thriller, like a suspense thriller, Hitchcock.
Jay Leno: -Now you play a guy, an accountant, and somebody kidnaps your kid and if you don’t kill somebody in ‘x’ amount of time, what an hour..?
Johnny Depp: -If I don’t croak the govenor (audience laughs and Depp laughs) in ninety minutes they’re gonna. (gestures with his hand across his throat) my kid.
Jay Leno: -Now I haven’t seen it yet, but they tell me the whole film is done in ‘real time’ by that I mean you have ninety minutes on film, days don’t go by, I mean, the theater is with you the whole 90 minutes. It seems like an exciting concept. Was it alot of fun doing it?
Johnny Depp: -It was interesting to shoot ninety minutes over the course of three months. Really pay attention to details.
—————-Clip of Nick of Time—————
Jay Leno: -Walken’s the bad guy.
Johnny Depp: -Yeah, he’s an amazing guy, he’s incredible.
Jay Leno: -Yeah, yeah. He plays a great, great creepy bad guy.
Johnny Depp: -He’s just incredible, has this amazing prescence.
Jay Leno: -I will check it out. I’ve seen everything you’ve done. I enjoy your work very much. I hope this is a big hit for you.
Johnny Depp: -Thank you . (Shakes hands with Leno making eye contact with Jay).
Jay Leno: -Johnny Depp! Johnny, I know you gotta run, thanks for coming by, man, see you later.
(Jay walks Johnny off the set).
This is it! I hope all of you enjoy it!
Sarah Angel from JD Forever