Toronto Star Newspapers Limited, Sept. 2005, Johnny on the spot

Frenzied photographers formed a human wall around Johnny Depp as the actor arrived for a film festival press conference at the Sutton Place Hotel yesterday, bathing him in an eerie glow of flashing lights. So intent were they on grabbing his image, as probably the most in-demand celebrity amongst the many currently visiting Toronto, it’s likely none of them stopped to ponder which Johnny Depp they were actually getting – by Peter Howell of The

Would it be the Michael Jackson send-up of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the summer hit that is maintaining its momentum straight into the fall?

Would it be Capt. Jack Sparrow, the Keith Richards caricature Depp played in the summer ’03 smash Pirates of the Caribbean, and whom he is revisiting during the current simultaneous shoots for the Pirates 2 and Pirate 3 sequels?

Would it be his loving imitation of his friend Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, the late gonzo journalist whom he portrayed in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and whom he recently eulogized by sending his ashes flying from a cannon?

Or would Depp be like any of the characters he has played for his director friend Tim Burton, which include the title-role misfits of Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, the inquiring Constable Ichabod Crane of Sleepy Hollow or the nerdy groom Victor of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, the stop-motion romance chiller that premiered last night at the Elgin Theatre?

The simple answer might be “all of the above,” since Depp seems to have long ago surrendered his own personality to whatever muse calls his name.

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