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Unforgettable Johnny Depp movies

Published On: 22 August 2018 | Hollywood | By:

It comes as no surprise that Johnny Depp has vowed to never play the same role twice. He has made a name for himself as possibly the most chameleon-like actor of the century, with each new role as unforgettable as the last.

Unforgettable Johnny Depp movies
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There are so many roles that bring to life the character and each of Johnny Depp movies show us the intensity of each character.


Depp’s title role in Edward Scissorhands (1990) was truly career-defining, as it marks his entrance into the world of Burton and opened the door to his casting as so many outlandish characters. As a soft-spoken and kind, yet intimidating character (because of, you know, the scissor hands), Depp convincingly tells the story of Edward with his eyes — especially considering his lines in the script only consisted of 169 words. 


Even though Depp proved his musical talent in Burton’s 2007 film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, he has made a point to acknowledge that he hates when actors use their careers to become musicians. To quote, he complained to the Sydney Morning Herald, “That whole idea for me is a sickening thing, it’s always just made me sick.” Well, the only thing making us sick is Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies in Sweeney Todd. Depp plays Benjamin Barker, who is sent to prison by Judge Turpin. Upon his release fifteen years later, he adopts the new identity of Sweeney Todd and seeks revenge on Turpin by opening up a barbershop where men entered but never returned. 


Though Depp has been in eight of Burton’s films or franchises, 2010’s Alice in Wonderland was the most successful of their collaborations at the box office, grossing $319.3 million worldwide. Fitting right in with Depp’s quirky character choices, Depp plays the Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland series. On accepting this role, Depp admits to thinking, “Oh my God, this one will get me fired!” 


Depp’s unexpected promotion of the film helped, considering the box office brought in $172.4 million worldwide. However, the film still only received a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Good or bad ratings, we will always have a special place in our hearts for Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. His drunken pirate persona is truly iconic and will always serve as a great Halloween costume. 


Throwing it back to Depp’s heartthrob days, he played the title role in the 1993 film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Following the death of his father, Gilbert Grape must care for Arnie, his mentally disabled seventeen-year-old brother (played by DiCaprio) and their morbidly obese mother. The film feels extremely heartfelt and raw and gave Depp another chance to show off his wide range of acting skills. 


Not only was Ed Wood a huge movie for Depp, but the movie potentially saved his career. Around the time that Depp was cast as Ed Wood, he had been feeling depressed regarding his career choices. His role in this two-time Academy Award winning film “rejuvenated [his] love for acting.” Yet another Burton classic, 1994’s Ed Wood gave Depp the chance to portray a real-life film maker. Although some of Wood’s films are now considered cult classics, such as Plan 9 From Outer Space, he struggled to find success during his life. Burton’s film delves into the day-to-day life of Wood, which included cross-dressing, strange relationships, and even stranger films. 


In Gene Wilder’s final interview with Turner Classic Movies, he criticized Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as being “an insult.” Though he actually praised Depp as an actor, he said he didn’t “care for that director” (aka Burton). We will not deny that the director’s take on the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, was an interesting one. In Burton’s 2005 remake, Depp rocks a bob haircut, bug eye sunglasses, and a pretty creepy smile as Willy Wonka. It definitely has Burton’s style written all over it, and despite the late Wilder’s judgmental reviews, it did quite well. 


Though Depp seems to take on whatever form of research he can to prepare for a film, he was unable to meet or talk to the real-life James “Whitey” Bulger in preparation for his adaptation in 2015’s Black Mass. Even though Bulger is alive (and, of course, in prison), he refused to meet with Depp or even watch the film after its completion. Set in South Boston (or “Southie,” as the locals call it) during the 1970s, Bulger is an Irish mobster who you wouldn’t particularly expect to collaborate with the law. However, FBI Agent John Connolly convinces him to work together to take down the Italian mob. Of course, that does not stop Bulger from being brutally violent and downright scary. Depp’s transformation for this role was particularly unique, taking on a Boston accent and balding hairline. 


It didn’t take long for Depp to lose interest in consistently playing a “pretty boy” character. By Season 2 of the original 21 Jump Street, he took a creative approach to displaying his dissatisfaction. He would make strange suggestions for the characters on the show, vandalize his own face on advertisements, and wear some crazy get-ups to set. In case you haven’t seen the TV series or the 2012 movie adaptation starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, the plot follows undercover cops passing for high school students to catch young criminals. Although this storyline didn’t capture Depp for very long back when he was trying to prove his wide range of talent, he did return to make a surprise cameo in the 2012 movie. 


Back when director John Waters was searching for the star of Cry-Baby, he decided to purchase a pile of magazines to find the perfect young actor. At the time, Depp was still considered a teen idol, thanks to 21 Jump Street, so he showed up in more than a few of these magazines. Of course, wanting to break out of pretty boy typecasting before it was too late, Depp thought this was the perfect, offbeat role. 


Depp stars alongside Kate Winslet in this 2004 film, where he once again takes on a biographical-type role. This time, he depicts playwright James Matthew Barrie, who wrote a little story you may know as Peter Pan.


With or without a few filming goofs, 1997’s Donnie Brasco follows the true story of FBI Agent Joe Pistone, who goes undercover as Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the mafia. However, he finds himself stuck in the mafia when his real life is falling apart and too many webs are weaved to just slip away.


Secret Window is a movie adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Depp plays Mort Rainey, an author who has recently been divorced from his wife of 10 years. He travels to his cottage to get some headspace, but he gets tracked down by another writer who accuses Rainey of stealing one of his stories. Coming from a King novel, it’s unsurprising that weird things start to happen, and the storyline gets a deep twist.

14. RANGO:

Depp doesn’t delve into voice acting often, but his voicing in Rango proved to be successful, which grossed $123.2 million worldwide. The story follows Rango (Depp), a chameleon who is a family pet, but feels bogged down by the fact that all he seems to do in life is blend in. He ends up in a place he doesn’t belong and is forced to gain some courage and leadership skills quickly.


Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger

Depp expressed in an MTV interview that in playing Tonto in Disney’s The Lone Ranger, he made a true effort to “portray the Native American with the integrity and dignity that they deserve.” However, the 2012 film did receive a lot of backlash in choosing to cast Depp. As Time Magazine puts it: “Is it ever O.K. for someone to play a race other than his own?” Though some tried to argue in favor of Depp’s intentions, many felt that the character was not accurately or appropriately depicted.

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