Bop, May 1998 – Why did Johnny Depp Say That?
Title: Why did Johnny Depp Say That?
Issue: May 1998
There’s not doubt about it: Johnny Depp is a man of few words. You might say that to this 21 Jump Street actor, talk is cheap—he’s an action -oriented sort of guy!
But when 25-year-old Johnny does choose to speak up, he says a great deal—with so few words! In fact, one simple sentence from Johnny uncovers a whole world of meaning. Here’s some classic examples:
“CELEBRITY? WHO’S A CELEBRITY?”
That brief remark is a typical “Johnny-ism,” clearly revealing that this 5’10” tall performer has never, does not, and never will view himself as a “star.” Actually, the whole concept of being a celebrity is a bit odd to him!
Johnny doesn’t feel that his appearances in movies and television merit any special treatment from anyone. The fact that he’s talented, and quite adorable to boot, does not figure into his self-image. All these qualities, insists this Owensboro, Kentucky-born boy, are “no big deal.”
After several hardworking years of trying to make it big as a rock and roll guitarist, Johnny found his sudden break into acting unexpected, to say the least!
On the set of his first film, 1984’s Nightmare On Elm Street, a guitar less Johnny seemed like a wide-eyed, confused child. On the first day of shooting, he was still getting over having left his band-mates only a couple of days earlier.
“Action,” is the word a movie director calls when he wants a scene to begin. The question above was posed by this naive Johnny to the director of Elm Street, Wes Craven!
“I was scared and lost” confesses Johnny.
“I RAN INTO IT BLINDLY.”
If love is blind, then that would provide the perfect explanation for Johnny’s first marriage back in 1983. The marriage, which ended in divorce less than three years later, gave him his first, tough lesson in love.
Following his divorce, Johnny kept company with actress Sherilyn Fenn. Alerted to the dangers of becoming too close too fast, he didn’t allow the relationship to become too serious.
Today, with a more mature understanding of the true meaning of commitment, Johnny has become engaged to marry Dirty Dancing actress Jennifer Grey. Johnny confides that he has finally learned the secret to a long-lasting relationship: “You have to be comfortable with yourself first.”
“I LIKE PICASSO AND CHAGALL“
Johnny’s fondness for these two famous painters points out the fact that there’s more to this guy than acting and rock ‘n’ roll. Johnny has a full appreciation of life, and that includes the arts.
An avid reader, Johnny’s ideal weekend would be to cozy up in his Vancouver, Canada home and devour novels by well-known authors. In between books, Johnny would treat himself to a few hours of video-watching—he’s known for renting stacks of tapes at a time!
“IT’S LIKE FAST FOOD.”
This is how Johnny sums up the way in which a performer can, he feels, become too “commercial.” For instance, once someone’s name is well-known, that person might accept offers to appear in a lot of advertisements or even a quick, low-quality movie.
Johnny feels that these types of offers are similar to ”fast food”— the projects are made with little time and imagination, for a quick profit. And that’s not Johnny’s idea of playing fair! He would rather wait for some high-quality projects to come along, or to create his own, than take advantage of his fame just to make money.
“I’VE GOTTEN SCARY LETTERS!”
With the success of 21 Jump Street, a show that deals with some of the very serious problems facing teens today, it’s not surprising that this guy who plays “Tommy Hanson” on the series would receive a variety of mail.
Though most of the letters Johnny receives are filled with kind and supporting words from fans, he still does receive some mail from people requesting his help. These letters are from teens who are feeling depressed, having problems with their families, school and/or their social lives. Johnny takes this mail very seriously.
“I try to write back and tell them to hang in there,” he says.
“I WANT TO SHAVE MY HEAD!”
What?! Cut off those gorgeous brown locks that go so beautifully with those big brown eyes? Well, only if the role is right! You see, Johnny would like to expand his acting career to include all types of characters, and not just the traditional “leading man roles” that people tend to envision for this classically handsome fellow.
Taking on the challenge of unusual acting parts appeals to Mr. Depp, and that’s just what he plans to do—even if it means “going bald”