The Last Buccaneer
On the path to Hollywood glory, Johnny Depp veered off course. So how did he tame his wild ways to become one of the world's most bankable leading men?
By Mark Binelli
Posted June 29, 2006
On a recent summer afternoon, Johnny Depp walks into a luxury suite at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Oddly, he is dressed like a pirate. A faded paisley do-rag is tied around his head. Smaller strips of cloth are braided into his hair, and he has gold caps on several teeth. His loose white T-shirt, with its blue horizontal stripes, may be more sailor than pirate, but it's definitely in the nautical family.
We should note that Depp has not come directly from the set of his latest film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, where he will reprise the role of flamboyant pirate captain Jack Sparrow. Nor has he come from the cover shoot for this magazine. When I mention this fact to Gore Verbinski, the director of both Pirates movies and a third installment already in the works, he professes no surprise. "That's the Johnny I know," Verbinski tells me. "He's always half-Jack." Depp says, "With all of my characters, it's just depressing to leave them. With Captain Jack, when we finished shooting the first movie, I had a feeling I'd see him again. I didn't feel like I was saying goodbye. By the end of the third movie, I'm sure that's going to be a different story. But it's always really hard."
At forty-three, Depp seems little changed by time. His face remains boyish. And he still appears uncomfortable in the spotlight. He speaks in a low voice, and even when he laughs, and his eyes light up in a manner suggesting a love of mischief, his tone remains cautious, his body language reserved.
Depp never wanted to be a movie star. Acting gigs, early on, were just day jobs, taken for rent money, while he tried to get a deal for his band. Depp's looks make his success in Hollywood seem inevitable. Yet there was no obvious predictor for Depp to enjoy the specific type of success he's pulled off. It's a great story: Former teen idol rebels against the Hollywood star system and transforms himself into one of the most daring and eccentric screen actors of his generation.full article at http://www.rollingstone.com/news/sto...last_buccaneerThese days, Depp and his family -- his longtime companion, the French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, 33, and their two children, Lily-Rose, 7, and Jack, 4 -- continue to divide their time between the South of France and Los Angeles, though they've been mainly living in L.A. since February 2005, when filming of the second Pirates movie began. Pirates of the Caribbean III, due out next year, will begin filming in August, with a promised appearance by Richards himself, already nicely recovered, thank you, after falling out of a coconut tree in Fiji and undergoing surgery for a head injury. Says Depp, "I didn't have to talk him into it. I said, 'It's up to you, but I think we could have a ball.'"
Have you been in touch with Keith?
Not directly, but with his camp. He's fine. He's . . .
Yeah. A piece of machinery.
Have you known him for a while?
We met probably in '94 or '95. Obviously, for anyone who ever touched a guitar, Keith is one of your gods.
Have you played music around him?
No. I don't have the kind of hair that would allow me to pick up a guitar and start strumming. I've never been that confident -- or drunk. I just couldn't do it. Unless he asked me to. Then maybe.
I'm wondering what you thought when you heard the pitch for "Pirates." Because in theory it sounds like a terrible idea.
Theoretically, you're right. It has all the markings of a nightmare.
So what made you take the chance?
Absolutely nothing, just gut instinct. I was in a meeting with Disney. They had offered me this other film, and I was turning it down. But my daughter, she was about three then, and I'd watched every single animated Disney hoo-ha that existed. I'd gotten quite close to these movies and enjoyed the fact that these cartoon characters were without limits. So I was telling them how much I'd like to do a voice for a kiddie film, and they said, "Are you familiar with the theme park and rides? Well, we're thinking of doing Pirates of the Caribbean as a film." And I said, "I'm in." Just like that, immediately. My agent was sitting there, and she was really shocked. I was a little shocked myself.