Johnny Depp has proven his versatility time and time again, from his showstopping performance as Edward Scissorhands to his manic, sunglasses-clad turn as Willy Wonka. As the actor celebrates his 52nd birthday on June 8, we look back at the Hollywood heavy-hitter’s most extravagant roles and remarkable transformations.
Edward Scissorhands (1990):
In 1990 Johnny Depp made his first great transformation, going from teen idol in 21 Jump Street to the dark and mysterious creature, Edward Scissorhands. Apparently Johnny took great inspiration from Charlie Chaplin for his role, having studied his films in preparation to play the almost silent character. This was also Johnny’s first collaboration with director Tim Burton. The film was nominated for both an Academy Award in 1991 and BAFTA in 1992 for Best Makeup.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The wacky yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow was first introduced in The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, a film based upon the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks. Johnny was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for his performance as the swashbuckling buccaneer, which he allegedly took inspiration from Keith Richards. The hugely successful film was also recognised for its makeup by winning a BAFTA Award.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005):
Arguably Johnny’s most eccentric performance was his depiction of Willy Wonka, the world’s most unusual candy maker in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Johnny’s long-term collaborator, Tim Burton. There are many people who are considered as inspiration for Johnny’s interpretation of the meticulous and strange character, notably Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Michael Jackson and Howard Hughes.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007):
In another collaboration with Tim Burton, Johnny won a Golden Globe for his role as Sweeney Todd, an English barber and serial killer who murders his customers. Not only did Johnny take on a sinister physical transformation for this character, he also undertook singing lessons in preparation for the role. Johnny’s extreme makeup for Sweeney Todd was said to make him appear as though he never slept and was already dead, while the bright white streak in his hair was to represent his traumatic past.
Alice in Wonderland (2010):
Once again under the direction of Tim Burton, Johnny gave another extravagant performance as the Mad Hatter in the 2010 production of Alice in Wonderland. His elaborate character was made up of different people and their different extremes. The Kentucky-born actor once again showed his ability to play so many different roles, sporting fluorescent orange hair to bring a fresh take on the iconic Mad Hatter.
The Lone Ranger (2013):
Johnny Depp stars alongside Armie Hammer (the Lone Ranger) as Tonto, a Comanche Native American looking to bring justice to those responsible for massacring his tribe. As Tonto, Johnny wears black-and-white face paint and a dead crow on his head which bears a resemblance to the painting Am Crow by Kirby Sattler. The film was nominated at the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.
Johnny plays Lord Charlie Mortdecai, a debonair art dealer and part-time rogue with a perfectly groomed moustache. The eccentric Mortdecai crosses the globe in a race to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Armed with only his good looks and special charm, he has just a few things in the way – some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist.