Bop, February 1998 – Does Johnny Depp Alone Make 21 Jump Street A Success?

Title: Does Johnny Depp Alone Make 21 Jump Street A Success?

Publication: Bop

Issue: February 1998

Photo1During the 1987-88 season of 21 Jump Street, it could have been very easy to mistake Johnny Depp for the star of the show. It seemed like the gorgeous actor was featured in every single episode!

Things have changed in the “new and improved” 1988-89 season of the series! This year, it’s already apparent that the folks in charge of Jump Street want you to know all four main characters (as well as the new guest star) as real people. Not only are you seeing plenty of Johnny as “Tom Hanson,” but you’re also getting a chance to see more of Peter DeLuise (“Doug Penhall”), Dustin Nguyen (“Harry Ioki”) and Holly Robinson (“Judy Hoffs”), along with the show’s newest addition, Richard Grieco, who plays “Dennis Booker”!

But how do the sparkling personalities of 21 Jump Street fit together behind the scenes? You already know that they’re a distinctly diverse group as far as their hometowns and backgrounds go—so what is the glue that holds them together?

First of all, they get along great’. There’s not a trace of jealous rivalry amongst this bunch! There are, however, lots of good times! Johnny and Peter decided they would place pretty Holly to the fun-test when she initially arrived on the set by ambushing her with water guns! She has since armed herself with her own water pistol and keeps the two banditos at bay with her sharp eye and aim!

Even when they’re not up to their wet antics, this cast finds ways to enjoy one another’s company. Richard shares a love for motorcycles with Johnny—both guys are proud of their vintage bikes!

Twenty-four-year-old Holly, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsyl­vania, and Dustin, who hails from Saigon, Vietnam, have an especially close bond of friendship. As 26-year-old Dustin remarks fondly, “Holly’s my pig-out buddy!” The two are wild about Vietnamese and Chinese food and share a meal whenever they can!

Dustin goes on to reflect, “I have two people up here that I’m really, really close to—one is Holly. She’s almost like a sister to me.” And the other? It’s Dustin’s girlfriend in Vancouver, Canada!

Dustin and Peter also get along because, as Dustin reveals, “Peter is a great guy—his sense of humor just never stops!” In fact, it’s senses of humor that keep Dustin and Peter, as well as Johnny, Holly and Richard so close!

Keeping sane and happy!

This easygoing gang manages to keep each other sane and happy even though they spend months and months away from their homes. All of them moved to Vancouver in order to make the weekly series and they truly have become a second family to each other!

Moreover, these professionals all went through difficult periods during their childhoods. Johnny grew up in an anything-but-wealthy neighborhood in Miramar, Florida where he was faced with tough decisions about his future.

Some of the decisions he made were not popular ones, and even Johnny, who’s now 25 years old, admits they probably weren’t the best ones! For instance, this Kentucky-native dropped out of high school to pursue his career in rock ‘n’ roll, and at one time he experimented with drugs—all before he turned 18 years old.

But luckily for Johnny (and all his fans!), he was able to recover from these early mistakes and stick with his musical aspirations. He played guitar in several Florida bands before he moved to Los Angeles, California in 1983. And though he dreamed of a rock ‘n’ roll career, Johnny happily stumbled into acting instead.

Peter DeLuise’s tough times were completely different. Unlike Johnny, Peter didn’t grow up in a tough neighborhood. In fact, he had a comfortable background and the advantage of having a famous father, actor/comedian Dom DeLuise.Photo2

However, Peter did have to face several unpleasant situations. For example, even though he was the quarterback for his high school football team, he was looked down upon by other students because he wouldn’t do drugs! That’s right! The other kids thought his refusal to take drugs wasn’t cool. Then, after he graduated from school, his parents expected him to move out. “As soon as I got out of high school, I also had to leave the house. It was one of my father’s stipulations,” explains 21-year-old Peter.

Family flees!

Dustin’s childhood was a stressful one. Born in Vietnam, he was forced to flee his homeland with his family when he was only ten years old due to the conflict going on in that country. Before he left Vietnam, he witnessed the shooting and killing of his best friend on the beaches near the city of Saigon. An episode of 21 Jump Street last season dealt with Dustin’s experiences, and this show received a special award for its historical portrayal of the conflict.

Dustin acknowledges that making that episode was particularly trying. “It wasn’t like just acting anymore. A lot of emotions started coming back,” he recalls.

Holly, on the other hand, grew up in a seemingly fairy tale-like environment. You see, her mom was (and still is) a manager for actors and actresses, and her dad played “Gordon” on the early Sesame Street show! For a four-year-old Holly, though, life was a little confusing because it was sometimes difficult for her to distinguish between her father’s TV role and his real-life role as her daddy.

Holly confesses, “Any psychologi­cal problems I have, I blame on Sesame Street1.” But during this confusing period in her life, Holly experienced her first taste of acting on that show, and she’s still going strong in the profession!

Richard, who is from Watertown, New York, faced problems of his own. Back in high school, this handsome 23-year-old seemed to spend an awful lot of time in the principal’s office! Recalls Richard, “I always got good grades, but I was a bad student because I rebelled against rules and regulations!” Luckily, his skills as a football player earned him a scholarship to college, where he studied political science and then moved on to acting and modeling.

A unique bunch!

Perhaps what keeps this crew together is that each of the co-stars comes from a different background and has faced a unique challenge. As a result, they allow themselves to be the individuals they are!

Keep your eyes peeled for the plot lines to change even further on in the year. Dustin explains, “I’m really excited about this season because the writers and everybody have put a lot of work into it! We’re going to be able to tackle more controversial issues this season and not have to hold back as much as we have in the past.”

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