Teen Beat, May 1989
A Day on the Set of Johnny Depp’s New Movie
(Baltimore, MD) Have you ever wondered what if would be like to spend a day on the set of a new movie? Would you like to spend an entire day with Johnny Depp? Of course! You’ve dreamed about these things. Well, TEEN BEAT recently spent a day with Johnny on the set of his new movie, Cry-Baby, and we knew you’d like an inside look.
6:00 pm There is a general buzz of excitement among the cast and crew as Johnny arrives on the Baltimore, Maryland set. He is the star of writer/director John Waters’ “1950s juvenile delinquent rock musical” and, from the moment he arrives on the set, it is obvious that Johnny is a true professional. It would generally take the film’s makeup crew about 30 minutes to grease and style Johnny’s hair for his role as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, the leader of a tough Baltimore street gang. Yet, today, Johnny has fixed his own hair before leaving the hotel where he lives during the filming. He is obviously getting into the part!
6:30 pm Johnny emerges from his private, air-conditioned trailer on the set. Nearby, the girls on the set giggle nervously as he walks by, giving them a smile. For today’s scenes, Johnny is wearing tight blue jeans, a white t-shirt, black leather motorcycle boots, and a black leather jacket. Fonzie never looked so good!
7:30 pm On the set for rehearsals. Johnny and the cast walk through the first of three scenes they will be shooting today. The other actors in this scene include Ricki Lake (from Hairspray), Traci Lords and punk rocker Iggy Pop, and, as they prepare to shoot the scene, the actors often refer to their scripts. But not Johnny. He has already memorized his lines before he arrived!
8:00 – 10:10 pm The first scene shows “Cry-Baby” and his friends at a dance, and takes over two hours to film even though the scene is only seven minutes long! The director and crew must get every shot just right, and they sometimes take as long as 20 minutes to set up a single shot. The highlight of the scene occurs at the end of one song, when everyone at the dance grabs their partner for a passionate kiss. While Johnny’s character is not featured in this part of the scene, we can tell you it is exciting and hilarious to watch. Some of the actors were really getting into it! They didn’t even mind when the director made them shoot the scene five times!
10:10 – 10:30 pm While the crew quickly sets up the second scene, most of the actors return to their private trailers. Not Johnny. He stays on the set. As you’ve probably heard, some stars demand the spotlight at all times, but Johnny isn’t like that. He never uses the “star’s” chair reserved for him; instead, he prefers sitting alone on a picnic table. As the crew sets up the next scene, many people walk by and speak with Johnny. It seems like everybody on the set wants to sit down next to him, to talk with him…just to be near him. Even though he would prefer to sit alone and prepare for his next scene, he takes time to smile and joke with everyone. It is clear that this is one star who does not think he is more important than other people!
11:00 pm – 12:45 am The second scene, featuring an electrifying dance solo by rocker Iggy Pop is easier to film and goes much more quickly than the first scene. Even though Johnny has no lines in this shot, he remains energetic and in character. Some actors only give 100% when their characters are “on,” but Johnny always gives it his all.
1:00 – 2:00 am While the rest of us are asleep, dreaming of our favorite stars, Johnny and the Cry-Baby crew are taking a break for LUNCH! A fully catered meal is available for everybody on the set, including a variety of chicken, burgers, sandwiches and drinks, as well as fruit juices and vegetables. Today, Johnny takes some fruit and spring water back to his trailer, where he prepares for the final scene of the day.
2:30 am There is elaborate preparation for the third scene (the technicians must simulate a “moon”), forcing a delay on the set, and most of the actors return once more to rest in their trailers. On the way to his trailer, however, Johnny passes a crew member arriving on a brand new, shining black Harley motorcycle. An avid cyclist himself, Johnny and the technician spend the entire break talking excitedly about their motorcycles. Johnny even sits on the big black machine. Astride the motorcycle, with his slicked-back hair and black leather jacket, Johnny looks like a young James Dean–tough, but sensitive…and so very sexy!
3:15 -5:30 am Johnny shoots the final scene of the day with actresses Ricki Lake and Traci Lords. By this time everyone on the set is very tired…and a little slap-happy. When Ricki and Traci keep messing up their lines, Johnny and the crew find it difficult to stop laughing, and the four-minute scene takes over two hours to film! By the time the scene is complete, Johnny has been on the set for nearly twelve hours! While most of you are getting out of bed for school, Johnny’s day on the set has just ended. He heads home to the nearby Baltimore hotel suite provided for him by the film’s producers.
Tomorrow will be more of the same, as the cast and crew will film the big fight scene between the “Drapes” (Johnny’s gang) and the “Squares” at a local high school. In fact, Johnny is scheduled to be on the set again from 1:00 pm to 2:00 am.
The long hours and hard work will be worth it, though, as Johnny’s fans will be treated to his exciting starring role as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker! Although he has been seen in small parts in Nightmare On Elm Street, Private Resort, and Platoon, this is definitely the part that will make the world realize what teens already know: Johnny Depp is an exciting and talented young actor!
Cry-Baby is scheduled to be released around February 1990. We can’t wait!