Johnny Depp Id Like To Stop Living Like A Fugitive But I Love Acting Too Much
Perhaps this time Johnny Depp has discovered his authentic movie alter ego.
For years, he has thrived on playing a variety of oddballs from Captain Jack in Pirates Of The Caribbean to Willy Wonka. In his new film, Mortdecai, Johnny is following in the footsteps of British comic legend Peter Sellers with his performance as Charlie Mortdecai.
He’s a brash, blundering aristocrat cum art dealer on the trail of a stolen painting believed to contain the code to a bank vault filled with looted Nazi gold.
Depp, 51, lives in los Angeles with his fiancée Amber Heard, whom he first met while they were shooting The Rum Diary together in 2011.
New role: Depp with Gwyneth P altrow in Mortdecai
You just can’t seem to stop indulging your passion for playing oddballs.
I’m drawn to toying with character. I put a lot of my creativity into that process, coming up with something distinct and a little bit magical if I’m lucky. I’m just glad to have worked with people who’ve been willing to accept my hare-brained ideas.
Your characters like to engage in outrageous adventures. You must have had a few yourself?
[Laughs] Oh, yes. So many things come to mind. Oh God, I could really come up with a 45-minute doozy for you. We’d all go to jail. We’d all be implicated. Yes. I’ve done horrible things in my life.
You’ve been quoted as saying you want to retire from acting. Is there any truth in that?
I probably would quit, but I worry about what I would do with myself if I stopped making movies. I have trouble relaxing and keeping my head straight when I’m not occupied.
There’s a side of me that would like to stop living like a fugitive – having to sneak into hotels through the kitchen or wear hats and stuff – so I can walk down the street and not create a mob scene.
Right now it feels good to be working on different kinds of projects and I guess I’ll keep working as long as the desire is there.
I mean, this past year I’ve played The Big Bad Wolf, the Mad Hatter, Mortdecai and Whitey Bulger. It doesn’t get any wilder than that.
DisneyFavourite: Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
But it’s fair to say Captain Jack is still your most eccentric creation.
I love him! It’s been an amazing journey with Jack. Especially when I can very clearly remember that Disney studio executives were terrified after seeing the early rushes of the first Pirates movie and wondering whether I was drunk or crazy or gay.
They really didn’t like what I was doing with Captain Jack, but I convinced them to trust me.
You’ve stated many times in the past how you felt like an outsider growing up in Kentucky and then in Florida. Do you feel like less of an outsider now?
I don’t know. I’m still shy and very wary of the world. I felt so out of place growing up that I don’t even know if I knew there was an easier life or a better life to fit into.
You grow up a bit damaged and broken and then you have some success, but you don’t know how to feel good about the work you’re doing or the life you’re leading.
But I got lucky. I straightened myself out and got to lead a good life. Things became very easy and you wonder what the hell was the matter with you for so long. I still can’t understand why it was all such a struggle for me. You look for some purpose and something that will make all the ugly thoughts disappear.
Clearly the rough times you went through with your family gave you a distorted view of the world.
I suppose so. My mum and dad fought a lot and we always lived in small houses. Sometimes it was really hellish and you don’t know what to do. So us kids bonded together and learned to live with it.
I try not to think about those times too much because it’s just kind of sad and twisted. There’s nothing you can do to change the past.
Did moving around constantly also prove unsettling?
It was just the way it was. My mom was always looking for a better place to stay and if she decided we needed to move then we would move. But she’s a strong woman and she gave me some of the best advice I ever got when I was young, namely, “Don’t take s*** from anyone!” I’ve tried to follow those instructions ever since.
Real romance: Amber Heard stars with Depp in The Rum Diary
Your life has changed in a big way with your relationship with Amber Heard. What was it about her that drew you to her?
Every day, every year that you get a little bit older, you get a little bit wiser. You have an easier, better look at what’s going on in your life. Then you meet someone.
It’s an interesting thing when you realise that you are at a point where you are able to dedicate your life to one person and to love that person. As you do your children [Lily-Rose, 15, and Jack, 12]. So yeah, I guess it’s a little combination. She’s a wonderful girl and I’m very lucky.
What kinds of qualities stand out to you about her?
Just talking to her after we first met, I was astonished at how smart she is. She’s a real strong, brilliant woman who has a lot to say. When you have that combination it’s pretty devastating.
And also, she has the ability to bring up the names of old blues guys like Slim Harpo or Tampa Red. It was just… there was no way around it!
Mortdecai is out today. See the trailer below and read Mirror film critic David Edwards” review HERE
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