Teen Machine, 1998 – Everything You Wanted to Know

Title: Everything You Wanted to Know

Publication: Teen Machine

Issue: 1998


Photo1Dark-eyed Johnny Depp might view himself as one of television’s most reluctant sex symbols, but everytime he appears on the screen, the hearts of viewers can’t help but hop to 21 Jump Street.

When Johnny was growing up in Miramar, Florida, the last destination he envisioned for himself was on a television show At that time, all he wanted to do was play in a rock and roll band. He recalls: “People would remember me as the kid with the long hair who was always playing guitar. I used to bring my guitar to school, skip certain classes and sneak into the guitar class. That’s pretty much how I spent my high school years.”

He finally become a player in a band called the Kids, and they headed out to Hollywood in the hopes of landing a record deal. Once when they were playing a gig at one of the clubs on Sunset Strip, Johnny met and befriended Moonstruck star Nicolas Cage. Johnny’s cash flow of the time was very low, so when Nicholas offered to introduce Johnny to his agent, Johnny complied. He explains: “She sent me out on an audition. The director gave me a script and told me to study it; I did, came bock two days later, read for the part and they gave it to me. That was my first film—Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Johnny very quickly learned the difference between playing in a band and acting. Ho discovered that as part of a band, he had three other people working and pulling with him. But with acting, he says: “I found it was just me. It all depended on me I had to make my own choices”

He wasn’t too thrilled, to say the least, by his second choice of acting jobs in what he describes as a terrible sex-ploitation film called Private Resort. He admits: “I figured at least I was earning my living by acting and that beat working at Burger King. And I got paid for learning.”

Johnny’s turning point as an actor came when he co-starred in the Oscar-winning film Platoon.

Although a lot of his work ended up on the floor of the editing room, he claims it was one of the best experiences he ever had. The experience was so intense that when Johnny returned to Los Angeles, he needed some time to chill out and began playing rock and roll again.

Six months later Johnny landed the plum port of Tom Hanson, the baby-faced rookie cop on the Fox television series 21 Jump Street. And the rest, Johnny believes, is a mystery.

It’s not that Johnny doesn’t appreciate all of the adoration and fan mail; it makes him happy. Yet the guy is basically shy and unused to being the center of attention. He claims he is claustrophobic and gets a little nervous when he’s in the middle of a crowd scene. He says: “If people recognize you, it’s no big deal. They just say, ‘Are you him?’ And you say, “Yes I am,’ and then you talk and you sign something. Nobody’s out to hurt you. They just want to see what you’re all about.”

Johnny’s most difficult task has been protecting his private life. Since he has become of one America’s heartthrobs, everyone and her sister is dying for details of his own heart’s inner workings. For three years, magazines and gossip sheets were charting the see-saw relationship Johnny had with actress Sherilyn Fenn. Yes, they were engaged; no they’ve split up; yes, they are definitely engaged. Johnny shudders at the thought of making any of this information more public than it already is; in fact, his manager always reminds interviewers that Johnny’s personal love life is off-limits.Photo2

Johnny doesn’t take this viewpoint just for the sake of being uppity. He believes: “You gotta do that with your relationships, with the things that are precious to you. You take them and keep them in a place where no one can touch them. Keep things private. You want to keep your personal life personal and your business life business.” Try as be might to keep his love life out of the limelight, tongues ore wagging about Johnny and his new gal pal. It seems that shortly after Johnny and Sherilyn broke it off for good, he met Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey. Friends of the duo are saying that during the vacation trip they took to Mexico, they discussed the possibility of a very private wedding ceremony.

Naturally neither of the hot stars are talking.

Right now, Johnny mostly likes talking about the tough social issues that 21 Jump Street are taking head on. The show has dealt openly with the seriousness of suicide, drugs. AIDS and child abuse. And Johnny is delighted with his character’s sense of truth. He says solemnly: “There’s the potential there to help somebody. Whatever I’m doing must possess a sense of truth Otherwise it won’t work—it’s just a lie.”

Tommy Hanson, the rookie undercover cop on 21 Jump Street is the ultimate in casual cool And the real lite Johnny isn’t any different As far as his own wardrobe is concerned. Johnny likes to keep it as simple as possible Just give him some jeans, a flannel shirt and some black motorcycle boots and he feels comfortable.


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