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The Actor with a Thousand Faces – Johnny Depp’s Many Metamorphoses

There are many fine actors in Hollywood, but none quite so eager to don face-paint and reinvent himself as Johnny Depp. Depp’s acting skills lend to a wide range of roles and this is obvious not only in his portrayal of some of the goofiest and quirkiest characters such as the Mad Hatter or Jack Sparrow, but also in highly dramatic and philosophic roles as the postmodern William Blake in Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man or as the patron of bad film noir in Ed Wood. Here we’ll provide a short countdown of Depp’s most heavily made up characters in celebration of his upcoming film The Lone Ranger where he plays Tonto, the Native American sidekick/spirit warrior.

5. Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands

Besides the highly publicized romance between Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder which started on set of this iconic 1990 film and has since met its demise, there’s an unwritten love story to be found in his amazing uninterrupted working relationship with director Tim Burton. Depp plays Edward, a synthetic youth devised by a kindly inventor who has sharp scissors instead of hands and lives isolated in a mansion. After the inventor’s death, he is taken in by a beauty product saleswoman who brings him into her family and exposes him to the world. Depp’s make-up, his fixed expression and mysterious, naïve character became icons of 90s filmography and popular culture.

4. Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

While Hunter S. Thompson’s book about drugs, gambling and surrealist road-trippin’ is hailed as a literary masterpiece at least as good, if not better, than Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, it was the movie adaptation that made it insanely popular. In Terry Gilliams’ 1998 film, Johnny Depp plays Hunter S. Thompson’s delusional alter-ego, Raoul Duke, a music journalist under-the-influence whose adventures to Las Vegas we follow with baited breath. Depp with his huge aviators, shorts, colonial hat and hysterical epiphanies is a revelation in this role.

3.  Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The part of the swashbuckling chaotic-good undead pirate Jack Sparrow made Johnny Depp the beloved actor that he is now. Depp’s easy charm, his penchant for cheeky back-talk and his deadpan humour made for enjoyable action-cinema which might get old, but never boring. All of the films in this franchise can be streamed using charter internet services.

2. Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

A role where Depp flexed both his acting chops and his excellent singing voice came when he portrayed the sinister character of Sweeney Todd in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. In tandem with Helena Bonham-Carter’s Mrs. Lovett, Depp’s butcher/barber fascinate and amuse in this gruesome tale of murder and baked goods.

1.The Mad Hatter in Alice Wonderland

From the point of view of both acting prowess and chameleonic transformation, Depp’s part as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s spin-off of Alice in Wonderland takes the cake. Although the film itself was criticized for taking too many creative liberties with the original, the Mad Hatter becomes the guide and fearless hero protecting Alice and shunning the Queen of Hearts complete with red hair, a manic smile and a penchant for vividly-coloured elegant clothes. He enchants and amuses and most of all proves, that yet again, this talented actor has a thousands of faces to his disposal.

We probably speak for movie-goers everywhere when we say that we can’t wait to see what new tricks he has up his sleeve with this summer’s long-awaited Lone Ranger.


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