June 22, 2009

johnny_depp_image.jpgI’ve worked for Collider almost four years now. In that time, I’ve interviewed tons of people in Hollywood. But I’ve never interviewed Johnny Depp. That changed today.

That’s because our partners at Omelete were invited to an international press conference with the press-shy actor and they sent me to cover it. So thanks to them, I was finally able to ask Johnny Depp a few questions. And yes, it was very cool.

The reason Johnny was here in Los Angeles was for his new movie “Public Enemies”. In the film, Johnny plays John Dillinger and he spoke at length about why he wanted to play the role and what research he did. In the coming days I’ll have the full transcript and the audio of the press conference, but tonight I wanted to focus on what he said about some of his upcoming projects.

After the jump is what Johnny said about “Alice in Wonderland”, “Dark Shadows” and “Pirates of the Caribbean 4”.

On Pirates, Johnny said “what we’re trying to do is just get a script in order and make sure it’s the right thing to do. If we can get a great script it’d be a ball.”

dark_shadows_barnabas_image__1_.jpgMeaning…it’s not close to moving into production. But when I asked him about “Dark Shadows”, I could see the enthusiasm in his eyes as he said, “‘Dark Shadows’ is happening. Tim is working on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which is obviously quite a large piece of work there. So when Tim is done with ‘Alice’ and we get the script, which is very, very close, in order we’ll probably attack it next year. It’s exciting, very exciting. It’s like a lifelong dream for me. I loved the show when I was a kid. I was obsessed with Barnabas Collins. I have photographs of me holding Barnabas Collins posters when I was five or six. I’m very excited to do it.

I’ve heard this is happening next year, and after seeing Johnny light up when talking about it, I believe it.

Finally, here’s what he had to say about “Alice in Wonderland”:

Question: What kind of research did you for your role in ‘Alice in Wonderland’? Did you use the book or bring something outside of that to the character?

alice_in_wonderland_johnny_depp_mad_hatter_image_01.jpgDepp: Well, certainly the book. The book is the basis for everything. There are little mysteries, little clues in the book that I found fascinating that were keys to at least my understanding of the Mad Hatter, like him saying, “I’m investigating that begin with the letter M.” That was huge for me because when you do a little digging you realize you’re talking about a hatter, a man who made hats and if you go back and look at some of the historical hatters there’s that term that this guy or that guy is as mad as a hatter. There was a reason for that and the reason for that was mercury poisoning. So I found out what the M was and why they went nuts. So that became a huge thing. Then it was just kind of what I saw and what I thought the guy should look like. I made my little weird drawings and water colors and brought them to Tim [Burton] and he brought me his weird little drawings and water colors and they were not dissimilar [laughs]. You could’ve put them right together and they were pretty darn close. There’s a lot of color and brightness and then de-saturation in The Hatter. He’s like a mood ring I suppose.

Question: What’s so special about your relationship with Tim? Is that he lets you do whatever you’d like as an actor?

Depp: Well, the most special thing is that he very luckily has given me about seven jobs. That’s the most amazing thing. I’m looking forward to the eighth and ninth. There’s no real definition other than there is some kind of connection, some sort of understanding that Tim and I have that is at most times unspoken. Most people when they hear Tim give me direction or we’re talking about the character or something on the set, people are baffled. Completely befuddled and they don’t know what we’re talking about. A guy actually came to me one time after watching Tim and I talk for ten minutes and said, “I didn’t understand a word that you guys were saying.” So, yeah. I don’t know. It’s just one of those things that you don’t question, but I sure love him.

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