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He's a really fun character to play because I'm allowed to be as irreverent as I want," he said, adding it was especially fun to work with his on-screen 'frenemy' Geoffrey again.

"Each time out it's always something new between Geoffrey and I.

He was, according to Depp, a combination of Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew. Depp, cool and good-looking in real life, goes out of his way to appear geeky and freaky onscreen. They are often confused men trying to make sense of a harsh reality (“Edward Scissorhands,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

“Pirates” wasn’t just a movie, after all, it was one of the most popular rides at Disney theme parks around the world. The purpose of the movie star is to appear cool and good-looking onscreen. He became a TV star on “21 Jump Street” but chafed under the teen-idol image, and was mocked and maligned for it. The role also helped introduce him to Tim Burton, with whom he would make five films. He went on to play characters who battle with reality.

Here once again is the shape-shifting star, this time flamboyantly mustachioed and dandified by a cravat and velvet blazer with pocket square.

He looks at once surprised and utterly pleased with himself, though it’s hard to imagine why: The dated-looking farce about a bumbling secret agent has box office prognosticators anticipating a bomb in the making, likely to open to lower receipts this weekend than even Jennifer Lopez’s laughable thriller, “The Boy Next Door.” “This is comfortably the actor’s worst film since ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ and even dedicated fans will find their hearts shrivelling up like week-old party balloons at its all-pervading air of clenched desperation,” says the Telegraph. It’s not just that Depp is playing an outlandish character.

He was the grunge movie star: Soulful eyes under dirty hair, tattoos before they were mainstream, combat boots on the red carpet, and incredibly bad-ass girlfriends (Winona Ryder, Kate Moss).

The more he resisted the attempts to make him a heartthrob, the hotter he became. You’ve probably seen Depp’s face on the movie posters for “Mortdecai.” They’re inescapable.

Result: Depp was honored for his artistry — a rare Oscar nomination for a comic performance — while the businessmen counted the loot. Since most of us compromise for a middle-class paycheck, we couldn’t understand someone who wouldn’t compromise for a world-class paycheck and all the perks that went with it (Sherilyn Fenn, Kate Moss, Winona Ryder). by playing a teen idol in John Waters’ film “Cry-Baby.” Waters also cast Tracy Lords, who was trying to flee her porn queen past, as a bad girl. Make fun of your image, and, as he says in the director’s commentary, “they can never use it against you again.” Depp, in a 1990 interview, said more-or-less the same.

","cag[series]":"","cag[anchors]":"","cag[shows]":"","cag[sections]":"popculture","cag[labels]":"","cag[topics]":"popculture","cag[subtopics]":"","cag[external_id]":"13719652","taxonomy":"popculture,popculture","cat":"popculture|popculture","path":"/popculture/popculture/johnny-depp-american-original-13719652"}" data-analytics="" data-formfactor="desktop" data-mps-url="mps.nbcnews.com" data-ecommerce-enabled="false" Johnny Depp’s experience with the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie is a good primer in the inevitable conflicts between artist and businessman. They’re out of their tree, but it’s not their tree. “Johnny played the part straight and flat,” Roman Polanski says of Depp’s Dean Corso in “The Ninth Gate.

Instead Depp gave them a pirate who was touched, tippled, fey and vain. The second time she sees him, after winning him (by losing) in a card game, she says, matter-of-factly, “You’re out of your tree.” He pauses, shrugs, and responds matter-of-factly, “It’s not my tree.” That sums up many of Johnny Depp’s early characters. “I’ll come around sometime,” he says, grinning, “get that squeak out of your door.” The grin broadens. His characters are sometimes so reserved that they risk being non-entities.

And Variety warns: “Depp has entered a realm of performance so self-amused, one imagines most co-stars would struggle to forge chemistry with him.” Johnny Depp plays Charlie Mortdecai, a charismatic British art dealer tasked with finding a stolen Goya painting. (Lions Gate Entertainment) Even the most insouciant bad boys need to grow up eventually. He’s essentially made a career out of playing eccentrics.

Directed by David Koepp, the film also stars Ewan Mc Gregor and Gwyneth Paltrow. After the ’80s TV series “21 Jump Street” launched him to fame, he quickly broke out of the heartthrob rut, first by sending up his own pretty-boy-rebel image in 1990’s “Cry-Baby,” courtesy of the pope of trash himself, John Waters.

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