- RatedM18 /GenreAction, Crime, Drama
Johnny Depp, who returns to screens this week as notorious Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger in 'Black Mass', has built a career as one of Hollywood’s most versatile stars.
He has been on both sides of the law, and portrayed heroes, anti-heroes, villains and even a victim.
Most of all, he is best known for playing kooks and outsiders, characters at the edge of society that are just plain weird, and still look good portraying them.
We take a look at his career and show you why we love him so much… other than because he looks so good.
1. Because he was victimised by Freddy on 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)
Depp play the role of one of Freddy Krueger’s victims in his cinematic debut. A supporting player marked for Freddy’s fingers from the start, his death scene is probably still one of the best of the horror franchise. Depp gets swallowed by his bed, and is vomited onto the ceiling in a fountain of blood. It will probably be considered the most memorable Johnny Depp death scene until the end of time.
2. For looking so-darn-good in military wear in 'Platoon' (1986)
As US soldier Lerner, Depp had his first trip outside the US to shoot the classic Vietnam war film with Oliver Stone. Depp, like the rest of the crew, suffered through awful conditions in order to get the film done, with Stone as dictatorial as any military captain. Even then, Stone knew Depp was going to be a star.
3. Because he is Edward Scissorhands. Enough said.
'Edward Scissorhands' (1990) is his first of many collaborations with Tim Burton. Depp plays the "unfinished" being Edward, a genius hairdresser with scissors for hands residing in a perfect suburb. It’s a modern mashup of Pinocchio and Frankenstein filtered through Burton’s wild imagination, and Depp was memorable as the titular character whose innocence made him easy prey for the nasty suburban types. It was Depp’s chance to break out of the teen idol status he had established with the hit TV series '21 Jump Street', and it was met with wild success.
4. For showing off those comedic chops on 'Benny & Joon' (1993)
Depp plays Sam, an eccentric drifter who comes into the lives of car mechanic Benny and Joon. Depp is best remembered for doing Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin-style comedy routines to inject some fun into the lives of the grumpy fellow played by Aidan Quinn, and he shows you can play with your food in a scene in a cafe, using forks and bread rolls.
5. For being in the same movie as Leonardo DiCaprio in 'What’s Eating Gilbert Grape' (1993)
A film starring both DiCaprio and Depp would be unthinkable these days, as the budget for both stars would cost as much as a satellite launch, but the two did act together in this 1993 drama by Lasse Hallstrom. Depp plays Gilbert Grape, who takes care of his brother Arnie (DiCaprio). Even though it is often DiCaprio’s performance that is most lauded, Depp’s portrayal of the brother trying to make sense of his life and the bad things that constantly happen around him is still exemplary.
6. Because he nailed the weirdo part in 'Ed Wood' (1994)
A mix of biography and fantasy, Depp played the infamous cross-dressing director of such flicks as 'Glen or Glenda' and 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' in this black-and-white Tim Burton flick. Depp’s performance was both witty and captivating, while capturing the optimistic nature of the director, who did films on a shoestring budget. It also has one of the best lines Depp has ever uttered: “Get me transvestites! I want transvestites!”
7. He acts with a monkey in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' (1998)
Directed by Terry Gilliam, this adaptation of Hunter S Thompson’s novel has Depp in the role of Raoul Duke, who is in Las Vegas with Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) on a drug-hazed road trip. The film has been panned by some critics, but watch it if you want to see intense close-ups of Depp on your screen. And, he acts with a chimp.
8. Because despite his denial, we know he channelled Michael Jackson in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (2005)
Tim Burton called on Johnny Depp once again to take on the iconic role of Willy Wonka in this adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel that stayed closer to the book than the 1972 adaptation. Depp played the character as an overgrown child who was unused to the ways of the world, and his creepy and wistful performance is as memorable as Gene Wilder’s original interpretation.
9. For showing us that he is also a darn good singer in 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' (2007)
Burton and Depp went at it again after the success of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', adapting Stephen Sondheim and Tony Wheeler’s dark musical for the big screen. Depp got a chance to test his pipes in the lead role of a vengeful barber, and while we don’t think he should change his day job, it did earn him a Best Actor nomination.
10. For showing us time and again that pirates are our friends in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (2003-2011)
Depp has rarely bothered with repeating roles in sequels, with the exception of everybody’s favourite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. A character he said was based on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Sparrow isn’t the heroic sort, preferring to outwit and outtalk rather than use his substandard swordfighting skills to get out of the many tricky situations in which he finds himself.