Monday, November 05, 2012

An Open Letter to Johnny Depp...

Dear Mr. Depp,

You don't know me, but I've been a fan of yours for a very long time. I was a child of the 80's and when "21 Jump Street" came out I was smitten by your side-swept hair. The air of danger when they put a gun in your hand was so preppy-punk that hordes of teenage girls were driven to put your poster on their ceiling so they see your image as they drifted off to their sweet Depp-oriented dreams. I wasn't precisely one of those girls, yet, but I noticed you-- oh yes, I knew you were there.

But what really sold me on your appeal was the fact that you were smarter than your average pretty-boy actor. You paid your dues on the small screen but quickly moved on to quirky roles in films like "Edward Scissorhands" and "Benny & Joon" to "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and went from being cute to really, really cool.

I won't say I fell in love with you. I mean, we don't even know each other. But when you went on to star in movies like "Donnie Brasco" I knew you were the real deal and a crush-worthy actor if ever there was one.

But then a strange thing happened: Disney got their hands on you. When I heard that you had been cast in the movie adaptation of "Pirates of the Caribbean" I was skeptical. I was used to you as the guy who showed up in smallish films like "Chocolat" and the occasional collaboration with Tim Burton and a big-budget, tent-pole summer film seemed so....mainstream. But I pushed aside my doubts and saw "Pirates" during its opening week and was won over by your swishy, foppish Jack Sparrow. I found out later that you based your character on Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones and felt like I was in on an inside-joke. All was well with the world.

Disney had their blockbuster and you kept your oddball credibility-- or so I thought. But over the next few years some doubts began to creep in. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was the first sign that something was amiss. I was willing to cut you some slack for another collaboration with Tim Burton; I did love "Sleepy Hollow." But I grew up with the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka and didn't know that we needed a new version of his masterpiece of sarcasm. Turns out- we didn't.  I don't know if it was your idea to give Willy that strange gray pallor and overly-exaggerated smile or if that decision was Burton's, but it did nothing for you.

But, okay. It's not like any of these roles defined you. Right?

At least I thought so. Then you did THREE more "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies! Holy hell- it makes my head hurt to type that. I could understand two "Pirate" movies... maybe. I can also understand the appeal of living forever as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland-- who wouldn't want that? But between making the last of the Pirate movies you continued with the theme of heavy make-up and also starred in "Sweeny Todd" "Alice and Wonderland" and "Dark Shadows;" and I have to ask myself-- what happened to your career? (cough*Tim Burton*cough) The Johnny Depp of my youth would never have consented to do the gawd-awful Futterwacken dance at the end of "Alice in Wonderland."

I'm wracking my brains here. There are glimmers of hope, now and then, with films like "Public Enemies" but the old Johnny hasn't really made an appearance in awhile. Though it occurs to me, after seeing pictures of you out-and-about in real life that you might be a Halloween-is-everyday kind of guy.  Or maybe you're an everyday-is-Jack-Sparrow-day kind of guy. I'm not sure. But clearly you're more comfortable in costume than out.

Which is the only explanation I can find for this...



No offense, but I'm over my crush now. 

7 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Money always wins out in the end.

SQT said...

Yup- and I can't fault him for that. But I would think that, by now, money wouldn't be a huge issue. Why keep doing costume-heavy roles when he doesn't have to?

The Curmudgeon said...

Because he can get x dollars for a serious indie role using his own face, but 100x dollars for putting on the clown makeup again? Just a guess on my part....

Budd said...

be aware that this letter is awesome.

SQT said...

@Curmudgeon-- I'm sure you're right. But even Keanu Reeves stopped making Matrix movies after awhile. I'm betting Depp is rich rich rich and could do nothing but indie movies for the rest of his life if he wanted to.

@Budd-- Aw thanks! That makes my day.

Amanda Makepeace said...

Exactly.

AndrewPrice said...

Totally agree... 100%! Well said.