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The Eccentric Career of Johnny Depp

VO: WatchMojo.com
Despite starting his acting career as a heartthrob and teen idol, Johnny Depp quickly decided to forge himself a more unconventional path through Hollywood. Throughout his career Depp has become well known for his extremely unconventional film roles, offbeat portrayals, and career defining relationship with director Tim Burton. Join us at WatchMojo.com as we take a look at the man who brought to life dozens of memorable characters, such as Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow, and the Mad Hatter in 2010's Alice in Wonderland.
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Johnny Depp Profile

He has become famous for his portrayal of strange and eccentric characters, as well as his refusal to take part in mainstream movies. Welcome to Watchmojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the career of three-time Academy Award Nominated actor Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp was born on June 9th, 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky. At only 12 years old he developed a passion for music, which would later lead him to drop out of high school and move to Hollywood. There his dream of becoming a rock star shifted to acting once he met Nicolas Cage, who persuaded him to attend an audition for a small film part.

As a result, Depp made his feature-film debut as a boy eaten by a killer bed in the 1984 Wes Craven horror flick “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Depp followed this by playing the more defined role of a Vietnamese-speaking private in Oliver Stone’s “Platoon”.

Despite a mildly successful entry into film, Depp experienced a long period without work. This forced him to half-heartedly seek out the lead role of Tom Hanson Jr. on the 1987 undercover cop series “21 Jump Street”.

To Depp’s surprise, the TV show lasted more then one season, and became a phenomenon that transformed him into a teen idol of the late 80s. To the shock of his co-stars and fans-alike, Depp publically showed signs that he hated his new position as a heartthrob. Depp felt that it was the worst thing that could happen to an acting career, and so he unsuccessfully tried to exit his lucrative contract. 4 years later, when “21 Jump Street” finally ended its run, Depp vowed to only take on projects that suited his own distinctive personality and taste.

As such, Depp began a career defining association with director Tim Burton, as Burton presented him with the opportunity to take on the bizarre, yet isolated role of “Edward Scissorhands”. This part helped Depp discover his fondness for playing the part of an Iconic loner. Following this experience, Depp sought to inhabit similar roles whenever possible, and did so with no regard for the film’s potential for commercial success.

Throughout the 90s, Depp appeared in several other films that also benefited from his dedication portraying isolated and misunderstood personas. These projects Included a string of successful movies, such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, “Benny and Joon”, “Don Juan DeMarco”, “Donnie Brasco”, as well as the exceptionally eccentric portrayal of writer Hunter S. Thompson in 1998’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

During the 90s, Depp also took the opportunity to re-team with Tim Burton for a heartfelt tribute to the world’s worst film director, “Ed Wood”. This project earned Depp a great amount of critical acclaim, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. And in 1999, Burton pleaded with the studios to allow Depp to play police constable Ichabod Crane in his high-profile project “Sleepy Hollow”, a move that caused the film to become a huge box office sensation and financial milestone for the actor

Yet, despite Depp’s previous collaborations with Tim Burton, the film role that made him an undisputed Hollywood heavy weight, and brought him his first Academy Award Nomination for best Actor was that of eccentric pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl.” A role that he would revisit several more times, with each re-visit further dominating the box-office. Meanwhile, Depp would secure a second Academy Nomination for best actor for his role in the 2004 British/American semi-biographical film “Finding Neverland”.

As Depp continued to be a Hollywood sensation throughout the 2000s, he remained close with Burton and they continued to produce several offbeat films together, such as “Corpse Bride”, “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” and his Academy Award nominated role in the 2007 horror musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”.

In 2010, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp yet again created their dark, yet highly stylized masterpiece “Alice in Wonderland”, an informal sequel to the timeless children’s classic of the same name, this time with Depp in the leading role of the Mad Hatter.
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