The A-Z Of Johnny Depp
Is for Zombies
One of the projects that Depp and Burton have had on the boil for a while now is a film based on the 1966 gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.
Featuring everything from witches to werewolves and vampires, it sounds like the perfect pitch for the duo and especially for super fan Depp, who wants to play main vamp Barnabas Collins.
"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," he says.
"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.”
Okay, so we're not sure there are any actual zombies in the original, but based on his film history, wouldn't you want to see how Tim Burton would craft a zombie?
Is for Yacht
Yeah, he has one.
The boat in question is a 156-foot, steam-powered boat called Vajoliroja, an amalgam of the names of Paradis, himself, and their children, Lily Rose and Jack.
There are pirate-themed touches throughout, and the ship flies the Jolly Roger alongside its official Marshall Islands flag.
Is for XXX
No, he's never actually starred in a porn movie (that we know of), but he has joked that he might one day give it a… money shot?
Pondering the fact that he could be typecast as playing eccentrics, he once told a journalist, "Maybe next time I should do something totally different and film a cracking porn with Tim.
"That would really send my popularity down to the depths!"
Much as his female admirers might enjoy it, we think the world can live without Depp Porn. Leave that to the fan fiction.
Is for Winona (Forever)
Depp met Ryder at the Great Balls Of Fire premiere in June 1989 and two months later the pair began dating.
Inseparable for years, Depp even had a tattoo reading "Winona Forever" scrawled on his arm.
It cost him $75, but he didn't mind the expense since he was so much in love.
"The fact that we're together and we're in love certainly won't hurt the movie," Depp said while promoting Edward Scissorhands.
"Winona and I are engaged. It's official. She has a lot of talent and, aside from that, I also happen to love her. I'm sure we're going to do more things together.
"People have had great success at that, like John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. In a perfect world, I'd just do movies with Winona, John Waters, and Tim Burton, and live happily ever after."
Bet he wishes he'd had "Burton Forever" written instead as the pair later broke up and he had the tat changed to "Wino Forever".
Is for Vanessa Paradis
Depp and Paradis - most famous as a singer and the voice behind the song 1987's Joe le Taxi - met in 1998.
Born in Saint-Maur-des-Fosses, near Paris in 1972, Paradis was a cinema lover who worshipped Marilyn Monroe and took dance and piano lessons in the hope of gaining fame.
These days, while she's done a a little acting and singing, she mostly enjoys life with Depp and their kids, splitting time between France, America, the UK and that swanky private island.
“Maybe I’m a good girlfriend because I’m his girlfriend," she's said of the stable relationship.
"I’m not sure I’d be a good girlfriend to anyone else; the same for him. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s something that’s natural, obvious and beautiful.”
Is for Unconscious
Or, the state that Johnny's character Glen Lantz finds himself in - and at Freddy Krueger's mercy - in A Nightmare On Elm Street.
The Wes Craven horror was his first film role, with him playing heroine's boyfriend and ill-fated sleep-avoider.
He dies in a torrent of gore. According to the director, Johnny's career is largely thanks to the foresight of Craven and his daughter.
“I could make up all kinds of stories about why I had the perception and presence to cast Johnny Depp, but I would be a liar.
"We were looking for someone in the role as Nancy’s boyfriend…the boy next door…and in comes Johnny Depp with a friend…the long hair, his fingers were yellow, and I thought, ‘This isn’t the boy next door and he can’t act and he’s so nervous. Sweet, but…. .’”
It was only when Jessica Craven got a look at pictures of Depp and exclaimed, "he's beautiful!" that Craven changed his mind.
Perhaps they can fight Nic Cage for the honour of launching Depp's career?
Is for Tonto
If the Pirates films don't keep him gainfully employed between indie outings in the future, Disney definitely wants to keep Depp under contract.
The company has long since announced that a film version of TV adventure The Lone Ranger is being put together and Depp is in line to channel what little Cherokee heritage remains in his bloodline to play the Ranger's faithful sidekick, Tonto.
No one has yet signed up for the Ranger role, but Depp has joked that he knows who should be front and centre: "Tonto needs to be in charge. The Lone Ranger should be a fool, a lovable one, but a fool nonetheless.”
Is for Sparrow
Few other characters have had such an effect on Depp's career than the wayward, crafty, Keith Richards-inspired Pirate.
Jack was a surprise for everyone - even Disney executives who were outraged during shooting for Curse Of The Black Pearl that Depp had been allowed to make the salty sea dog quite as out there as he became.
But once audiences embraced him, all was well and the Pirates franchise has sailed on to billions, with an Oscar nomination swinging Johnny's way.
With the departure of Disney studio chief Dick Cook and no firm director for the fourth Pirates film (though Rob Marshall is rumoured to be aboard for On Stranger Tides), the franchise stands at a crossroads.
"There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment," Depp said about Cook's departure and the future of the movies. "It was all born in that office."
We're sure he'll show up for at least one more outing, especially if Disney offers him enough dosh.
Is for Rum Diary
Depp has already shot his second dip into Hunter S Thompson's literary world, with Bruce Robinson directing the adaptation.
Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi and Richard Jenkins are all in the cast.
For her part, Heard was impressed by the time she spent on set: "It was an amazing experience. I’m a huge fan of Hunter S Thompson and I met with Johnny Depp about it and he was instrumental in casting me as Chenault, who plays Johnny’s character’s love interest.
"So I was playing his love interest along with Aaron Eckhart and there a slew of other brilliant filmmakers and actors in this movie and involved in this movie."
Is for Quiet time
When he's not skipping stones across the breaking waves near his island getaway, playing with his kids, going for dinner with his missus and strumming on the guitar, Johnny Depp likes nothing more than to paint.
“What I love to do is paint people’s faces, y’know, their eyes,” he's said of the hobby.
“Because you want to find that emotion, see what’s going on behind their eyes.”
Is for Production Company
Like many big stars looking to take a firmer grip on the development of their career, Depp has his own production company.
His is called Infinitum Nihil and was formed in 2004 to create projects for him to star in and produce.
As of now, the company is pushing a few projects through the system, including Shantaram, The Rum Diary, The Affected Provincial's Companion, Attica and King Arthur-as-a-Western novel Caliber.
If you visit the company's website, you get the following quote from Tolstoy: “force is force...matter is matter...will is will...the infinite is the infinite...nothing is nothing.” And almost nothing else.
Is for Odd Jobs
Before he was an actor, Depp held a variety of small jobs.
He's best known as working in a telemarketing company that sold ink pens, but he also spent time working in bars, on construction sites and as a petrol station attendant.
It'll all serve as good training should the acting lark come to an end. "I never dreamed I would get this far and stay around for so long," he's said in the past.
"In fact I always wonder when I’m going to be rumbled and sent packing. It could happen tomorrow, so I’m just deeply, deeply grateful for the jobs I get.
“Who knows. I might still end up playing guitar in some bar someplace. Or pumping gas? I honestly believe it’s a miracle I still get jobs."
Is for Nicolas Cage
Who do we have to thank for encourage Depp to pursue the life of an actor? Try Nic Cage, who met the younger Depp via Lori Anderson, who Depp married in 1983.
"I met Johnny many years ago - he was a guitar player and had come to Los Angeles from Florida," Cage remembers.
"We had a mutual friend and we were just playing Monopoly one day. I told him he ought to try acting so I introduced him to my agent and the next day he got his first audition and got the part.
"I can't really take credit for it... I was just one small step in his whole career... but that's just how it happened. It was quite simple."
Oh, and don't ask him who won the Monopoly game - he can't remember…
Is for Music
Depp's always been a bit of a music enthusiast from his younger days - he played in a few garage bands before acting took over his life.
"Every kid with a guitar at that time, the first things that came up were almost always 'Smoke on the Water,' obviously, and '25' or '6 To 4',” by Chicago," he's said of his muso days. "But the first song I played all the way through must have been 'Stairway To Heaven. I remember getting through the fingerpicking and just cursing Jimmy Page."
He's since worked on a solo album, hung out with Oasis, played guitar in Chocolat and on the Once Upon A Time In Mexico soundtrack, and worked alongside members from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Butthole Surfers in the band P.
Oh, and there was the little bit of singing he did for Sweeney Todd…
Is for Limpet
As in, The Incredible Mr Limpet.
The original 1964 Warner Bros original starred Don Knotts as a boring bloke who mysteriously starts turning fishy and ends up a World War II hero helping stop enemy warships for the US Navy.
The film was a blend of live action and animation and (of course) there's a remake on the cards with Enchanted director Kevin Lima attached to make it happen.
The producers had been eager to sign Depp for the role, but so far, it's still nothing but rumour.
Is for Kentucky
Depp was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the son of Betty Sue Palmer (whose name is one of his tattoos) and John Christopher Depp.
His siblings are brother Danny, and sisters Christie (who manages him) and Debbie.
The family ended up moving a lot during his childhood and settled in Florida. The stress of his parents' divorce in 1978 and his own confidence issues led the young thesp to self-harm.
"My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist."
Is for Jump St
Depp got his big TV break on US cop show 21 Jump Street, where he starred as Officer Tom Hanson.
He ended up staying for 69 episodes of the show's five year run and eventually left to get his film career ignited.
Jonah Hill has announced that he's working on a film version of the series, and Depp would apparently be willing to stalk the precinct halls again.
"It'd be good at 42. That would be interesting. To go back and play the same character I played 20 years ago with no one saying anything.
"A bunch of people going, they don't' say anything to him but they talk behind his back, 'Is he out of his mind? He's really old now but he thinks he's still young.'
"That, I would love to play."
Is for Island
Depp owns one, alongside other properties in France and the US.
Little Hall's Bond Cay is his private, 45-acre island in the Bahamas.
"The island is my decompression," he told Vanity Fair. "It's my way of trying to return to normalcy.... Escapism is survival to me."
The beaches are named after his partner, Vanessa Paradis, their children - Lily and Jack, actor Marlon Brando and Hunter S Thompson.
He also named one "Heath's Place" after the late Australian actor.
"I don't think I'd ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," he's said of the sea-set locale.
"You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom. And that rare beast - simplicity - can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity.
"Whenever I was getting frustrated about being 'novelty boy' and making movies, I told myself, 'Calm down.' I can come down here and disappear."
Is for Hunter S Thompson
When Depp got the role of "Raoul Duke"- Thompson's alter ego in Fear & Loathing's source writing - he moved into the man's basement so he could live with him and study his mannerisms.
The two bonded to such an extent that Thompson became a mentor to Depp, and in return the actor funded his oddball funeral, which included his ashes being shot from a cannon.
"All I'm doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out," Depp said at the time.
He'll play Thompson again in The Rum Diary - but more on that later.
Is for Gilliam
Aside from Tim Burton, the other filmmaker that Depp has forged a real connection with is Terry Gilliam. The pair first worked together on Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas before labouring (unsuccessfully) to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
And when Gilliam needed a little help on The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus after Heath Ledger's untimely death, Depp was only too happy to step in.
"The money was running out. If we hadn’t pulled something out of the hat quickly it would have gone. And I suppose the rabbit was Johnny," Gilliam has said.
"I didn’t know what to do, I hadn’t a clue, but I spoke to Johnny and said, ‘if we need you, will you be around?’ And he said ‘I’m there whatever you want.’ And I only found this out afterwards, but if Johnny hadn’t said ‘yes’, the money would have gone.
"I actually didn’t realise that at the time. I found out a lot in retrospect about was what going on, but at the time I was in my own little world."
Is for Food
Given that he lives most of the time in Europe and owns a vineyard, it's also not a surprise to learn that he's a bit of a foodie to boot.
He used to co-own a restaurant-bar in Paris called the Man Ray with, of all people, Sean Penn, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknell. Yes, Mick Hucknell.
And he knows where to find the best grub. "You know what? It's at my house. Yeah. My girl's a good cook, she can make burritos, tacos, whatever you want. Otherwise, you can't find good Mexican food in France.
"No Mexican food and no doughnuts in Paris. Not that I'm a big doughnut fan. Anyway, there's other stuff there that's just as bad for you."
Is for Evening Wear
Depp is known to be a fan of British comedy. "The Office is unbelievable but I still, y’know, I keep going back to The Fast Show because it’s, for me, it’s the top of the top," he said about the series in a Radio One interview.
"I told Paul Whitehouse, I think the first time I met him, I told him, I said, you have to make this a film… I’d do it in a second."
The movie never arrived, but in The Last Fast Show Ever, he got to live the dream, playing an "American tourist" who visits the shop of slimy suit sellers Ken and Kenneth (Whitehouse and Mark Williams) to get something for a night out. Suits you, sir!
Is for Development Hell
Even though he's a big star these days and you might think that the very mention of his name in connection would a project would get the green light flashing, even Depp has seen some past and future films plunged into limbo.
The most famous recent example was Shantaram, which has been in the works for around four years, even since Depp committed to starring in the adaptation of Gregory David Roberts' novel.
The tale of a man - based largely on Roberts' experiences - who dabbles in organized crime and time as a slum doctor - has been through the wringer already, with Peter Weir (above) at one time signed to direct. But then… "Peter moved on from this film because his interpretation of it differed greatly than that of the studio and producers," was the official story.
The last big name to be attached was Mira Nair, but she moved on to make Amelia. So Shantaram sits, waiting for some action…
Is for Cartoon
Depp's had a little voice-over experience in the past, lending his tonsils to TV 'toons such as King Of The Hill and Spongebob Squarepants (bet it was for his kids).
But his next animated project will be something a little bigger - a film with Pirates Of The Caribbean director Gore Verbinski called Rango (above), which is being created by Industrial Light & Magic.
Depp will voice a household pet who goes on an adventure to find himself - where he'll face off against Bill Nighy's evil lizard character.
According to Verbinski, ILM is developing technology that "will allow us to capture and translate every aspect of Johnny’s performance, using it to drive the computer-generated character in a way that has yet to be seen in an animated feature."
We'll get to see what he means next year when the trailers start to arrive.
Is for Burton
Depp and Tim Burton share a close connection, which stretches from their first collaboration, on Edward Scissorhands.
Call it luck, fate or karma, but the two seem to be artistic soul mates.
"The most special thing is that he very luckily has given me about seven jobs," laughs the actor.
"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."
Is for Alice In Wonderland
Depp's next film appearance will be in his latest collaboration with Tim Burton (more about their partnership on the next page).
Based on Lewis Carroll's classic book - and its sequel - Wonderland will see an updated version of the tale, sending the titular young lady (played by Mia Wasikowska) into a strange land populated by stranger creatures, including The Mad Hatter (Depp).
Depp went to the source for his research. "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 things 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."