A high school dropout hailing from Owensboro, Kentucky, Depp, like virtually every other starry-eyed hopeful, moved to Hollywood in the hopes of becoming famous-in particular, a rock star. Depp’s list of screen credits is incredibly diverse for any actor, never mind his age (41), and he is always ready to challenge audiences’ perception of what being a Hollywood movie star entails.
Depp’s first role came in Wes Craven’s horror hit, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Although his role was minor, his death scene was probably the most gruesome in the film and left quite an impression on the audience. Depp followed up “Nightmare” with roles in “Private Resort,” alongside Rob Marrow, and Oliver Stone’s gritty war flick “Platoon.”
Depp next starred in Tim Burton’s seminal suburban tale, “Edward Scissorhands.” As the title character, Depp portrayed the ideal Burton outsider, longing so much to be a part of a world he can never truly know. Much like Boris Karloff’s screen version of Frankenstein’s monster, Depp wasn’t given much room to verbally emote much in the same way the rest of the cast did; his performance was driven by his actions and body language, and he remarkably pulled off the difficult role.
1994’s “Ed Wood” re-teamed Depp with Tim Burton for a loving tribute to “the world’s worst director.” Filled with a colorful cast that included Bill Murray, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi, the film was one of Burton’s most acclaimed ever and Depp’s performance in the film earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Depp once again teamed up with Tim Burton in “Sleepy Hollow,” a grand re-telling of the classic American horror story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” For the film, Depp injected many of his own sensibilities into the character of Ichabod Crane, the squeamish constable out to solve several murders that have occurred in and around the town recently. Although the film was a hit at the box office, its success was seen as more of Burton’s doing rather than Depp’s star-power.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was the film that firmly established Depp’s star power in Hollywood and ability to open a movie. As the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp stole the show and could very easily been seen as the film’s best special effect. The outrageous performance, earned Depp his first Academy Award nomination. He received an Oscar nomination for his role as Peter Pan author J M Barrie in the excellent 2004 drama, Finding Neverland.
In 2005 there are not one but two collaborations with Tim Burton in “The Corpse Bride,” and the much anticipated “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” where he will be portraying the mad candy maker himself, Willy Wonka.
In 2007 he starred in Sweeney Todd, a film by Tim Burton adapted from Steven Sondheim’s musical. Depp played the lead charachter, Sweeney Todd himself.
Johnny Depp has long been one of the most reliable actors working in film when it comes to delivering a great and interesting performance, with his most exciting work seemingly on the horizon and Burton fans can look forward to even more work featuring the actor, such as the film currently in post-production, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which I will talk about later in the presentation.