THE DEVIL & MR. DEPP

Opening like a cheap horror movie with titles that fly out of computer-animated castle facades, The Ninth Gate has an uphill battle to recover respectability from the very beginning – by Rob Blackwelder.

Until “Ninth Gate” turns vapid in the last couple reels, Depp gives a deeply immersed performance, playing Corso’s serpentine nature beautifully and even affecting a deeper, clearer, more educated vocal inflection than we’ve heard from him before. However, his credibility as a book expert is shaky at best. A true connoisseur would closely examine bindings, etc. A true connoisseur wouldn’t smoke while flipping through fragile, 600-year-old volumes, letting ash fall on the pages.

Copyright Contactmusic.com Ltd 2005

This is an article excerpt. To view the article in full, please visit the ContactMusic website.

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Empire, January 2000 – Village of the Damned!

Title: Village of the Damned!

Author: Simon Braud

Publication: Empire

Issue: January 2000

 

Photo1AFTER TREKKING UP THE MUDDIEST FOREST TRACK in the entire history of mud (and, no doubt, tracks), Empire finally crests a densely wooded hill to be met with an arresting and slightly unsettling sight: occupying a clearing in the trees some 300 meters below is a tiny, perfectly formed 18th century village which appears to be under attack from alien spacecraft. Hovering above the spiky church, ramshackle half-timbered cottages and suspiciously bijou bridge is a collection of vast, incandescent slabs which are bathing the settlement below in a pale and unearthly light. It looks like the type of tableau you might find gracing the interior of an enormously expensive snow globe.

What is also rather eerie is that earlier in the day Empire inspected exactly the same scene, complete with glowing monoliths, meticulously rendered in miniature in a model shop at Leavesden Studios. And to add a further prickle of unease, as we set off down the mercifully less soggy path that leads to the cluster of buildings below, it occurs to us that this Is precisely how New York constable lchabod Crane first enters the Hudson Valley hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of grisly murders.

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UK, Premiere December 1999

England There is no ground; there is only mudthick, oozing, inches deep, and alive. Put your foot in and pull it out, and you can hear it breathe. Above the dark woods, the sky is a flat piece of black construction paper. Perfectly, uniformly, almost unnaturally black. Somewhere between the mud and the sky isjohnny Depp. ‘l’hat`s about as specific as he likes to get. It`s the middle of the night in the middle of March in the middle of England, which means it`s raining. And cold. Tim Burton, the director of movies in which night is never far away (two of them, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, with Depp) is shooting his latest collaboration with the actor: Sleepy Hollow, a creepier, more violent take on Washingtori Irving`s tale ofthe Headless Ilorseman. Burton and his crew have built an entire18th-  century village in an isolated valley about an hour’s drive from London. There are fully constructed houses, shops. an inn, a pub, and a covered bridge with a rooster weather vane. All are beautihilly crumbling outside and mere shells inside, empty but for the fog.

The fog is a character in Sleepy Hollow as are the mud and the rain and the natterjack toads that clack in the dark like monster crickets.

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Premier, December 1999 – Where’s Johnny?

Title: Where’s Johnny?

Author: Johanna Schneller

Publication: Premier

Issue: December 1999

 

Photo1aEngland There is no ground; there is only mud — thick, oozing, inches deep, and alive. Put your foot in and pull it out, and you can hear it breathe. Above the dark woods, the sky is a flat piece of black construction paper. Perfectly, uniformly, almost unnaturally black. Somewhere between the mud and the sky is Johnny Depp. That’s about as specific as he likes to get.

It’s the middle of the night in the middle of March in the middle of England, which means it’s raining. And cold. Tim Burton, the director of movies in which night is never far away (two of them, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, with Depp) is shooting his latest collaboration with the ac­tor: Sleepy Hollow, a creepier, more violent take on Washington Irving’s tale of the Headless Horseman. Burton and his crew have built an entire 18th-century village in an isolated valley about an hour’s drive from Lon­don. There are fully constructed houses, shops, an inn, a pub, and a cov­ered bridge with a rooster weather vane.

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Shivers, December 1999 – Johnny Depp Acting in Character for Sleepy Hollow

Title: Johnny Depp Acting in Character for Sleepy Hollow

Author: Jean Cummings

Publication: Shivers

Issue: December 1999

 

Photo1JOHNNY DEPP has always chosen roles that are differ­ent, and his newest film Sleepy Hollow he displays his talent for humour and drama in a film reminiscent of the Hor­ror films of the ’50s and ’60s. Depp has the starring role in this new version of Washington Irving’s fable The Legend of Sleeply Hollow but the success of the film comes from the multi-faceted character of Ichabod Crane.

American-born Depp now lives with his wife Vanessa and their young daughter in France, but he had to adopt an English accent for the role of Crane. It is something he worked hard to develop.

Inspiration

“You know what I did?” he responds to our inquiry. “I watched a lot of old Horror films. People like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.” The inspiration for the character, he says, was in fact three people. “Number one was Basil Rathbone from the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Number two was a very great friend of mine that recently passed away,

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Sky Magazine, September 1991 – Johnny Deeper

Title: Johnny Deeper

Author: Bill Zehme

Publication: Sky Magazine

Issue: September 1991

Photo1Johnny Depp is his real name. As a boy he was ridiculed for it. In the schoolyard he was called Dipp. Or Deppity Dawg. Later he was cal­led Johnny Deeper, this being based upon a popular adolescent joke he barely remembers: “Something about some guy having sex with some girl who kept saying, Johnny, deeper!’”

The day we meet he extends his hand to shake mine, except that his hand is more like a piece of weaponry. In place of fingers there are blades. We are on a Twentieth Century Fox sound stage where he is making Edward Scissorhands, his second major film, in which he portrays the man-made boy with scissors for fingers. He laughs quietly at his own comic gesture.

Later we meet one morning in a coffee shop, where Winona Ryder, his movie-star fiancée, has left him before driving off to do some errands. He is smoking too much and drink­ing too much coffee. He says he is ensla­ved by caffeine and nicotine and doesn’t sound proud of it.

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The Night I met Allen Ginsberg

By Johnny Depp

An appreciation of Kerouac, Burroughs, Cassady and the other bastards who ruined my life

There I was, age thirteen, eyes shut tight, listening intently to Frampton Comes Alive over and over again, as some kind of pubescent mantra that helped to cushion the dementia of just how badly I wanted to whisk Bambi, the beautiful cheerleader, away from the wedge of peach melba that was the handsome, hunky football hero. …

I was daydreaming of taking her out behind the 7-Eleven to drink Boone’s Farm strawberry-apple wine and kiss until our mouths were raw. ZZZZRRRIIIPP!! was the sound I heard that ripped me from that tender moment. My brother Danny, ten years my senior and on the verge of committing fratricide, having had more than enough of “Do you feel like we do?,” promptly seized the vinyl off record player and with a violent heave chucked the sacred album into the cluttered abyss of my room.

“No more,” he hissed. “I can’t let you listen to that shit anymore!”

I sat there snarling at him in that deeply expressive way that only teens possess, decompressing too fast back into reality.

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UK Shivers Issue 73, 1999

 JOHNNY DEPP DISCUSSES HIS LIFE AND WORK, AND HIS NEW MOVIE, SLEEPY HOLLOW  

JOHNNY DEPP has always chosen roles that are different, and his newest film Sleepy Hollow he displays his talent for humour and drama in a film reminiscent of the Horror films of the ’50s and ’60s. Depp has the starring role in this new version of Washington Irving’s fable Tile Legend of Sleepy Hollow but the success of the film comes from the multi-faceted character of Ichabod Crane. 

American-born Depp now lives with his wife Vanessa and their young daughter in France, but he had to adopt an English accent for the role of Crane. It is something he worked hard to develop. 

INSPIRATION 

“You know what I did?” he responds to our inquiry. “I watched a lot of old Horror films. People like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.” The inspiration for the character, he says, was in fact three people. “Number one was Basil Rathbone from the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Number two was a very great friend of mine that recently passed away, Roddy McDowell. He was a great man,

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SLEEPY HOLLOW

What we have here is the product of two men. After his screenplay for “Seven” was produced, Andrew Kevin Walker’s retelling of this Washington Irving story was sold and promptly sat on the shelf for a few years. Director Tim Burton, after a long string of artistic and commercial successes, had a pair of setbacks. His cinematic adaptation of the “Mars Attacks!” trading cards was all sight-gags, and no soul. Recently, he spent a year in pre-production on a Superman movie, only to have Warner Bros pull the plug a couple of months before filming would begin. In a no-brainer, the director and the script found each other. There are two things that make this the perfect Burton project. The first is the latest addition to his gallery of beloved outcasts, Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp)- by Ron Wells for Film Threat.

In this version of the tale, Crane is not a schoolteacher, but a New York City constable in 1799 (though still a foppish girly-man). At this time, superstition and piety still rule the populace. After a childhood trauma, Crane has rejected both in favor of science and reason. When attempting to apply both to police work,

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DEPPTH PERCEPTION

Brooding Johnny muses on his motley career and reinventing Ichabod Crane for Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow – by Rob Blackwelder.

Blackwelder: You’ve said you patterned the character after Roddy McDowell, Angela Lansbury in “Death On the Nile” and the old Sherlock Holmes. How did you use those influences to create Ichabod?

Depp: It’s funny, because what happens to me when I read a script, when something grabs hold of me, I start getting these flashes of people or places or things or images…With “Sleepy Hollow,” I was (after) the kind of drive that Basil Rathbone had as Sherlock Holmes, but what’s going on behind that is total and utter confusion. Basil Rathbone knew exactly what he was talking about. He hit in on every note. Ichabod would (seem to) hit it, but he would miss it, in fact.

With Roddy,…he had this very ethereal quality (I wanted), and (with) Angela Lansbury (it was) the energy, the sort of righteousness that she had. I haven’t even seen “Death On the Nile” since I was very young, but she was this force, she was this presence. So those are the ingredients and you just sort of mash then all together and see what you come up with.

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