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"I am doing things that are true to me. The only thing I have a problem with is being labeled."

John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II (born June 9, 1963) is an American actor, born in Kentucky. He's best known for his portrayals of memorable, offbeat characters and his refusal to be typecast as a Hollywood pretty-boy.

He is a frequent collaborator with directors Tim Burton and Gore Verbinski.


A small sampling of his roles include:

  • His first film appearance was in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), as Nancy's boyfriend and Freddy-bait Glen Lantz. Many fans agree that Depp's ceiling-splattering demise was one of the coolest deaths in the series. He would go on to make a cameo appearance in the sixth film, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, which features him getting whacked in the face with a frying pan in a twisted parody of "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" commercials.
  • In 21 Jump Street, he played Officer Tom Hanson. It was a crime/drama TV-series about a group of police officers who go undercover as teenagers in high-schools. Depp became an instant teen heart-throb, a role in which he was acutely uncomfortable.
  • Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker in John Waters's film Cry-Baby, a satire about teen heart-throbs.
  • Edward Scissorhands. This was Depp's first collaboration with Tim Burton, and the first film in which he deliberately averted his pretty-boy image by playing an ugly, disfigured outcast.
  • In What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he played a beleagured teen with a mentally-retarded younger brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a grotesquely overweight mom (Darlene Cates).
  • Sam, in Benny & Joon, where he showed off his comedy chops by playing a simple-minded character with an amazing gift for physical comedy in the tradition of silent stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.
  • William Blake, a young accountant from Cleveland who goes in a small town in the west and is rescued from deep trouble by Nobody, an Indian who believes him to be the William Blake, in the Jim Jarmusch film Dead Man.
  • Ed Wood, where he played the iconic B-movie director. His second collaboration with Tim Burton.
  • He reached new heights of romanticism playing Don Juan De Marco, a delusional (?) young man who believed he was the famous world's greatest lover. His analyst is played by Marlon Brando, and the two became good friends.
  • Donnie Brasco, in which he portrays real-life FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone, who went undercover in the Mafia and saw his family life torn apart as a result.
  • Raoul Duke (a pseudonym of journalist Hunter S. Thompson), in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. To prepare for the role, Depp moved into Thompson's house and spent months studying Thompson's every mannerism. They also became very close friends during this time.
    • This relationship still ripples into Depp's work. 2005's The Libertine is dedicated to Thompson and Marlon Brando. In 2011's The Rum Diary, a movie adaptation of one of Thompson's early works, Depp plays the lead character/Thompson expy.
  • Dean Corso, a borderline con-artist book dealer and acquisition expert who finds himself in over his head searching for copies of a certain grimoire in The Ninth Gate.
  • Ichabod Crane, re-imagined as a fragile and girly crime-scene investigator seeking an explanation for an abundance of decapitated corpses, in Tim Burton's version of Washington Irving's classic tale Sleepy Hollow.
  • Depp was set to play Toby Grisoni in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but the filming in 2000 ended up a disaster (the film was eventually completed in 2017 without any of the original cast). The documentary Lost In La Mancha chronicles said disaster.
  • Roux, the Irish/Romani traveler and love interest in Chocolat. Notable for being one of his few "normal guy" roles that focuses primarily on his handsome leading man features rather than characterization (though, despite what the DVD cover may tell you, it was really only a minor supporting role).
  • Lt. Victor and Bon Bon, in two brief but unforgettable appearances in Before Night Falls.
  • Frederick Abberline, a police inspector on the trail of Jack the Ripper, in From Hell. The movie was loosely based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, which itself was loosely based on the historical events surrounding Jack the Ripper's string of murders.
  • George Jung, real-life drug-smuggler who wound up serving a 20-year sentence, in Blow.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow, in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series. According to Depp, he based much of Sparrow's mannerisms on The Rolling Stones' guitarist, Keith Richards. This eventually led to Keith Richards making an appearance as Jack Sparrow's father. The first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, earned Depp his first Academy Award nomination, and four sequels followed. Sparrow and other characters created for the films have since been added to the theme park attractions that inspired them, with Depp providing voicework for his Audio-Animatronic counterparts.
  • Seldon Sands, an amoral, scheming CIA agent in Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
  • Sir James Matthew Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, in Finding Neverland. Another Oscar nomination for Depp.
  • Willy Wonka, the amazing chocolatier, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, based on a book by Roald Dahl. This version, directed by Tim Burton, is arguably much closer to the original book than the 1971 film, which starred Gene Wilder in the role. At the time of release, Depp's take brought Michael Jackson comparisons to mind, but he says it was inspired by the Excited Kids' Show Host trope. (More recently, he offered this explanation: "I imagined what George Bush would be like incredibly stoned.")
  • Victor Van Dort, in Tim Burton's animated film, Corpse Bride. Notable as his first venture into voice acting. Since then he's voiced one-shot characters on King of the Hill and SpongeBob SquarePants; see below for more.
  • The title character in Tim Burton's musical film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, words and music by Stephen Sondheim. This was Depp's first singing role, despite that he has sung and played guitar since he was a teenager (his character's songs in Cry-Baby were overdubbed). This time, he took (sometimes subconscious) inspiration from such colorful performers as Anthony Newley, Tom Waits, and David Bowie. Depp won a Golden Globe Award for this performance, and was nominated for a third Oscar.
  • Infamous Real Life bank robber John Dillinger, in Michael Mann's Public Enemies. Depp's semi-sympathetic portrayal accurately reflected many people's image of the outlaw (though several reviewers complained Depp was "too pretty to be a gangster").
  • The Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) and the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Still completely bonkers, but endowed with a poet's voice, a tragic past, and world-class swordsman skills.
  • In the 2011 animated film Rango, he voices the titular chameleon (how apt!) who makes the classic transition from phony hero to real one in a Wild West populated by un-cuddly desert animals.
  • In Tim Burton's 2012 remake of The '60s supernatural soap Dark Shadows, Johnny portrays reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins. Though the film is largely comedic (wringing plenty of jokes from the undead aristocrat's reaction to pop culture of The '70s), Depp plays the role straight. He claims to have been influenced by classic movie Draculas like Christopher Lee, as well as original Barnabas Jonathan Frid (both of whom have cameos in this flick).
  • Disney's 2013 remake of The Lone Ranger has him as the Masked Man's sidekick.
  • The infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper's Black Mass.
  • 80s-era Donald Trump, in the web-released feature "The Art of the Deal: The Movie" — a parody from Funny Or Die.
  • Depp was confirmed to have a starring role in the Fantastic Beasts film series, starting in the second movie. The Reveal in the first movie reveals him to be playing Gellert Grindelwald.
  • Edward Ratchett in the 2017 adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express
  • Depp is also set to portray The Invisible Man in Universal's upcoming Dark Universe.


Notable tropes invoked by Johnny Depp:

  • Big Name Fan: He's a big reader and music fan, and often name-drops his favorite bands in interviews to help promote them, including the gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks (who appeared alongside him in The Man Who Cried). He also agreed to star in Kevin Smith's True North trilogy because he was a huge fan of Chasing Amy (the fact that their daughters are childhood besties didn't hurt).
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Quite a bit, given his very first role was being killed by Freddy Krueger. There's even some Loophole Abuse, as Jack Sparrow returns from the dead, and Transcendence is all about him becoming a Virtual Ghost.
  • Cool Shades: He has to wear them in real life - they're special corrective lenses. His right eye suffers from a unique combination of near-sightedness and far-sightedness and his left eye is, in his own words, a "lost cause".
  • Doing It for the Art: Story of his life. He never just "plays a role," he looks at it from all angles and creates someone never seen before in film out out of bits and pieces of Crazy Awesome. His buddy Burton wants to re-imagine Frankenstein? Meet that awkward wallflower from the back of the class who'd never raise his hand to anyone, let alone his voice. Want him to play Hunter S. Thompson? He'll move into the man's house and honestly become his best friend so he can do it perfectly! Soulless money-worshippers want to make a Merchandise-Driven movie based on a theme park ride - and have a sex symbol as a plain 'ol Pirate? Not a chance in hell. He'll be the first rock-star pirate and you will love it whether you like it or not!
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Apparently on the set of Donnie Brasco Al Pacino got into the habit of telling Johnny the same inane joke over and over and then laughing hysterically every time. He didn't get it, and "felt [his] IQ points dropping" every time. He does do an amusing impression, though.
    "A skeleton goes into a bar and orders a beer and a mop." Well, it's kinda funny.
  • Fake Brit: Well known for doing one of the most flawless British accents in modern film. Including an amazing Scottish accent in Alice in Wonderland, and J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland. He's so well known for the British accent he uses in his movies the last ten years or so, that many people have forgotten that he's from Kentucky.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: He's really far too amused that "depp" translates to "idiot" in German.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Tim Burton are this. Also, Keith Richards. Also, while he was still alive, Hunter S. Thompson. Yes, that Hunter Thompson. He apparently met him in a bar, with Hunter waving a cattle prod around, screaming gibberish at people, and telling them to get out of the way.
  • Large Ham: Basically every role following the "rock star pirate" Captain Jack Sparrow that allows him to be quirky and exaggerated will feature Depp having the time of his life. Even a voiceover role, as Rango shows.
  • Love at First Sight: Second sight, technically—he and Vanessa Paradis met briefly, and then were reunited at a party several years later. The way he tells it, he saw her across the room in a beautiful backless dress and then she turned and came over to talk to him, and that was it. "I'm in trouble," as he put it. She was pregnant with their first child three months later and their relationship lasted 14 years.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Has played male versions twice, in Benny & Joon and Alice in Wonderland (2010) (a non-romantic one in the latter, albeit one subject to a Relationship Writing Fumble).
  • No Export for You: Depp wrote and directed a movie in The '90s, The Brave, about a Native American agreeing to do a Snuff Film to help his family. U.S. critics hated it, so he has never released the film in North America. It is available in Asia, however.
  • Old Shame: He and Rob Morrow apparently swore a pact to eradicate every copy of Private Resort from the face of the planet. Given that it was given a DVD release, it's clear that they have not yet succeeded in their quest.
  • Older Than They Look: Can you believe he's 55 as of 2018? He could pass for late 20s or early 30s (27-33), easily.
  • Papa Wolf: Take all the pictures of him that you want, but he gets very angry if anyone snaps pics of his kids.
  • Pretty Boy: By Hollywood standards, especially in his youth!
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Helena Bonham-Carter. And possibly Eva Green.
  • Promoted Fanboy: A longtime fan of Dark Shadows, he recently played Barnabas Collins in the remake (director Tim Burton is also a fan).
  • Romance on the Set: With Amber Heard, who he met while filming The Rum Diary. They married in 2015. Unfortunately, that came to an end in late May of 2016, with them splitting up, along with the domestic abuse allegations.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Is genuinely bemused by repeatedly being called gorgeous and sexy, and doesn't seem to mind at all being called out on his hobo-like dressing style. He also doesn't think he's funny, and says he enjoys staying in a state of confusion "just for the expression it puts on [his] face."
    • Also, he claims he can't watch his own movies.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: In an interview, he confessed that it wasn't fully motivated by this trope, but he didn't want "the DVDs for his movies all at the back of the shelf".
  • Teen Idol: What Depp became in The '80s with 21 Jump Street, but he never liked that kind of status.
  • Throw It In!: Several examples from Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • In Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack's statement that he used "human hair — from my back" was an ad-lib. You can see Orlando Bloom trying not to laugh, and McNally chuckling in the movie. The commentary states that they initially tried to edit it out, but they found that the line lost something without it, so they threw it in.
    • Jack's line "I've got a jar of dirt!" in Dead Man's Chest was also unscripted. You can also see Bloom temporarily look to his left after Depp walks by. He was looking at the director expecting to say "Cut!" but didn't.
    • All of Jack's jokes about Will supposedly being a eunuch were ad-libbed by Johnny Depp. Through the creators' approval of the first, he continued.
  • Unfortunate Names: Johnny's surname unfortunately means idiot in German. As well as being a bit depressed in Swedish. It is also a single letter away from the common internet slang, "derp".
  • What Could Have Been:


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