Depp on kissing Keira, singing in a movie
By Ruben V. Nepales,
June 30, 2006
LOS ANGELES -- What was it about Johnny Depp that made it easy to forget he was an hour late for our press con?
If this were another star, there would have been angry mumbling or even threats of a walkout. But when Johnny showed up in his trademark fedora a full hour after our scheduled slot with him, all was quickly forgiven.
Should we credit his rakish charm, packaged with that fedora which added a touch of old-world charm to his hip ensemble of sports coat, white tee with tiny holes around the neckline, torn jeans and the ever-present watch chain dangling from his pants pocket—another old-fashioned touch—necklace and bracelets?
To many women all over the world, it’s a no-brainer. They’d forgive him any old time, for anything at all.
So now, when he smiled, several gold teeth sparkled and enhanced his roguish appeal. He told us he was still wearing them because he had a few more months of filming on "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest".
This cool cat is unfailingly courteous, funny, modest, candid—he answers all questions—and approachable. We’ve interviewed him several times before, and we’re always reminded that the guy is a dedicated husband to his wife, French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis (which explains why he is now fluent in French), and father to Lily-Rose, 7, and Jack, 4.
In "Pirates", the second installment in a three-part franchise, he continues to amuse viewers with his Captain Jack Sparrow. Johnny’s Keith Richards-Pepe Le Pew creation is one of the most endearing character inventions in modern cinema. (Keith is scheduled to appear as Johnny’s dad in the third installment.) As I wrote in last Sunday’s column, one of the movie’s funny moments is when, as a human shish kabob, he uses his kohl-blackened eyes and not much dialogue to draw laughter.
Moviegoers who loved the first "Pirates" and turned it into a blockbuster for Disney will decide whether this bigger, more expensive sequel is better. Johnny’s original cast mates Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, who have since become big stars, are back and so is the director, Gore Verbinsky.
"Pirates" fans know that Orlando and Keira’s characters are the ones who are romantically involved. So why does Johnny get to lock lips with the actress? We won’t say why but read on to find out who, in Keira’s opinion, is the better kisser—Johnny or Orlando.
Often answering questions with a smiling glint in his eyes, Johnny made light of a terrible distraction—a carpenter hammering away in the next room. The 43-year-old star, who recently landed on the cover of Newsweek, playfully knocked on the table in front of him to add to the cacophony until a hotel staffer told the unseen carpenter to stop.
In an interview, Keira Knightley said that between you and Orlando, you are the better kisser.
That’s funny because I thought Orlando was a great kisser (laughter).
Can you describe the mood when you and Keira kissed?
It is always awkward when you are kissing someone you are not romantically involved with. It is acting and it is fake. Kissing scenes are always strange to me, especially since Keira is twentysomething years younger. But she was a good sport. We did what we had to do ... and moved on to the next thing. You can almost compare kissing scenes to stunts. It is a strange moment before and after. And then it is just done.
Jack Sparrow makes a deal with the devil to get possession of his ship. Have there been situations that drove you to make a pact with the devil to get a job?
Yes, I have thought that, maybe somewhere along the line, unconsciously, I did that. But ... I think I was too dumb to do that. That would have been a shortcut and I am not capable of doing that.
Was it with regard to a TV show?
When I was doing "21 Jump Street", it certainly felt like everything was out of control. They created this image, this monster, and they were selling it. It felt about as close to making a pact with the devil. I wouldn’t go into that kind of thing again.
Were you happy to be back in character as Captain Jack Sparrow in this sequel?
When there was talk of doing this sequel, I was really happy because I didn’t feel like I had explored all the possibilities of Captain Jack in the first one. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him. I wanted to spend time with him again. Earlier I was asked if I watched “Pirates 1” to get into character as Captain Jack again. I didn’t. I avoided it as much as I could although my kids watch it time and again. It was simply just strapping back into the costume and going through the process again, stepping on the set and seeing all the familiar faces, the same crew.
Are you willing to explore Captain Sparrow in a fourth "Pirates" movie?
If the scripts are good and they are still stimulating, still have something entertaining for the audiences, I would keep going. For me, Captain Jack is just endlessly entertaining to play.
Your teeth are different in every movie, from this one to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to "The Libertine".
It upsets my dentist but I do try (laughter).
Do you eat with the gold teeth?
No, that’s when all my teeth come out (laughter). The teeth did come out when I had to do "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "The Libertine" and "Secret Window". The gold teeth came back for "Pirates 2 and 3". I still have a few months of filming on "Pirates 3" so I haven’t gone through the process of yanking the gold teeth out.
Why do you wear a beard even when you are not doing the "Pirates" movies?
It’s mostly because if I shave, it would take me months and months, like half a year to get this beard back (laughter). This is like a full beard for me. That’s it—seven hairs here, three over there and this patchy stuff and that’s it. If I shave, I have to glue some hair on and that wouldn’t work.
This movie was shot in the Bahamas, where it is hot and steamy. Did everybody on the set shower daily as they were supposed to do?
I’ve never been asked that question before (laughter). I am determined to answer it, and properly. Let’s see, the idea of personal hygiene … Once you get off work and you’ve had all these make-up, you have to virtually hose yourself down. From what I could tell, the majority of the cast and crew had the similar feeling (laughter). However, you do encounter the foul smell occasionally. You either get past it or you hope that the wind will change direction any second (laughter). In the movie, everybody looks like they stink but in fact, they didn’t.
How does your fame put extra pressure on your family life?
My kids have a super normal life. They go to school and play with their friends. Okay, maybe they get to go to Disneyland a little more often than the other kids. But that is part of the gig (laughter). Although my mom seemed to be proud when she saw me on the cover of Newsweek. I myself was shocked and am still shocked.
How often do you and your family get to enjoy your island in the Bahamas?
We get there as much as possible because it is a necessary part of the balance. You have to balance a world of being here in Hollywood and in the island where there are no telephones, no cars, no street lights, no noises. It is just nature and the sea, the wind, the sun. It brings things down to its absolute basic level.
And how are the kids?
My daughter is exiting the Barbie period and moving into fashion accessories. She wants to watch big-girl television shows. It is frightening. My boy Jack has discovered super heroes so he is now going into the area of comic books and I happen to be pretty good in that area.
How do you as a couple balance it so Vanessa can also work as a singer and an actress?
She has been able to do some films that she wanted to. She still plays music, writes, and does demos. She is working on an album right now that is really promising. It is beautiful. There are a couple of tracks there that turn me into an infant, all teary-eyed.
The toughest time was when Lily Rose was about two and Vanessa had to go on the road for a concert tour. We didn’t have a nanny so I was tour daddy (laughter). I must have watched “The Wizard of Oz” with Lily Rose 7,000 times. It was a great challenge as a dad to entertain a 2-year-old—great education, and I got through it.
How does music touch you?
For me, the effect of music is immediate. There are certain songs I hear that take me right back to a very specific moment in my life. There are certain songs that I can’t listen to because they remind me of say, the birth of my daughter or son. I can’t listen to them because I will burst into tears.
How comfortable will you be in one of your future projects, a film version of the musical, "Sweeney Todd"?
Tim Burton and I have had our discussions about it and everything is looking good. It is a great opportunity to work with Tim again. It will be our sixth movie together. As far as my singing is concerned, I don’t want to shock anyone but I am not a singer (laughter). I would never ever claim to be a singer but I am willing to give it a shot, to see if it works. It is important to try stuff.
Have you started musical training?
I grew up as a guitar player. I was a musician for most of my life. I am musically inclined and I am not tone deaf. At least, not yet.
Some time ago, you said Marlon Brando suggested that you play Hamlet. Have you thought about it?
It will either be very soon or never because I will get a little long in the tooth to play Hamlet. Marlon did say that to me. He wanted me to skip movies for a while. Take a year off. So his voice keeps ricocheting in my head. Marlon told me that by the time he had gotten to the point where he thought that maybe he could do Hamlet, it was too late. So he told me to do it while I can, don’t let it be too late. And I would like to do it. It is one of the more frightening ideas ever but I think it would be great to do Hamlet in a very small theater. I could just do it in my house for the family (laughter). Annoy the children.
Photo from the press-junket in Los-Angeles, 22.06.2006
The translation in Russian