The real people behind Johnny Depp’s iconic characters

The real people behind Johnny Depp's iconic characters

(Credits: Far Out / Andy Templeton)


Few artists have achieved the same depth as Johnny Depp while working on a play. While other actors may try to get to the core of the character they’re playing every time they step behind the camera, Depp lives his characters in a way few can master, taking what’s written on the page and turning it into sentences , which could slide off. language as if they were second nature. While Depp may draw from writing, he has borrowed from various real people throughout his career.

When it comes to how to approach a play, much of the time it is easy to borrow from fellow actors. For example, when working on the role of Ichabod Crane, Depp relied on British actor Roddy McDowall, turning himself into a fantastic character in the film. Sleepy Hollow. Many of Depp’s characters also dealt with the movements of his fellow actors, citing “The Tin Man” from The Tin Man. The Wizard of Oz frame the chief director in Ed Wood.



While it’s easy to draw from a well of actors who have come before, Depp also based various people on politicians he’s seen at work in the past. Along with fantastic elements Ed Wood Depp believed that the often misguided optimism of his performances was due to the way Ronald Reagan was at the time.

This sunny way of thinking wasn’t too far from the truth either. Just as Reagan pushed Americans into places many were uncomfortable with, Depp’s performance evokes a similar tone, tinkering with various crew members for a production that he knows could very well fall apart at any moment.

Outside the film world, Depp’s portrayal of beloved children’s character Willy Wonka was also indebted to politics. Working on the eccentric chocolate maker’s signature voice, Depp recalled taking a few lines from the former president, who told Ellen DeGeneres, “I can imagine what an incredibly stoned George W. Bush would be like.”

While Depp’s version of Wonka is nothing like the traditional George W. Bush impression, the mannerisms seem identical, especially his high-pitched voice, coupled with some of the craziest turns of phrase heard in children’s films. While politics and film have served Depp well, his first love has always been music.

Since his time working on Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open” video, Depp has enjoyed hanging out with various rock stars, using some of his favorite artists to inspire his iconic characters. When working on Sweeney Todd, Depp recalled adapting Iggy Pop’s mannerisms, resulting in his slightly unusual mannerisms throughout the film.

Perhaps the most obvious inspiration from the world of music came while working on Pirates of the Caribbean. Aside from his outlandish portrayal of the daring pirate, Depp’s now-iconic portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow was modeled after Keith Richards, who had already become a true rock ‘n’ roll pirate in The Rolling Stones.

Even after Richards became one of Disney’s biggest film franchises, he was one of the few who responded in kind to Depp, donning makeup to play a guitar-wielding pirate alongside Depp. While it’s not difficult to do extensive research on the intricacies of acting, Depp has made a career working for various film icons and beyond.

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