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November 13, 2005   Articles No Comments

From bad boy to contented dad, this latterday James Dean has reformed and settled down. But his choice of movie roles, now including a wild 17th century courtier, is as adventurous as ever

David Smith
Sunday November 13, 2005
The Observer

Death or nappies: this was the choice facing Johnny Depp. He could emulate his idol, James Dean, and smash himself up in a car, or ape his contemporary, River Phoenix, dead from a drug overdose outside Depp’s nightclub. Yet either fate would have been too cliched for someone unwilling to run with the pack. More daring, surely, to be a rebel with a cause: settle down, potter about the garden, change the kids’ nappies.

Before fatherhood, Depp ticked most of the bad-boy boxes, or was perceived to: the drinking and drug-taking and dropping out of high school; the rock’n’ roll ambition; the arrest for trashing a New York hotel suite with girlfriend Kate Moss; the ownership of Los Angeles’s notorious Viper Room (where Phoenix was hellraising the night he died in 1993); and the arrest for taking a plank of wood to the British paparazzi in January 1999.

But four months later, everything changed, because Hollywood icons are human, too: ‘Anything I’ve done up until 27 May 1999 was kind of an illusion, existing without living,’ Depp has said. ‘My daughter, the birth of my daughter, gave me life … you suddenly meet your reason to live; you meet the future. It was like my birth, in a way; I was born that day.’Guardian Unlimited

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