Site menu:

D — E — F


[Speaking of meeting Johnny years ago at a fund-raising dinner held at the country home of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Johnny had been invited at the last minute by a Warner Bros. executive.] We twisted some arms to get his security check done in two days. Actually, I wasn't certain they would let him in. He had a slight reputation, you know.
—Liccy Dahl
widow of Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Newsweek, July 2005

He invited me into his trailer [on the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, several years ago] for a glass of wine. I was astonished to find he had two bottles of Cos d'Estournel sitting on his desk—a 1989 and a 1990.
—Liccy Dahl, January 2006

He's delightful. He really is one of the nicer people I know. As an actor, he's incredibly imaginative and that's very interesting. If you're playing his straight man, which I am to an extent in the Pirates films, it's fun seeing what kind of work you can create together because he's such an accomplished and clever performer.
—Jack Davenport
Pirates of the Caribbean and The Libertine co-star, April 2005

Johnny was doing this character and they were all going like, ‘He’s doing this character really weird.’ The day Hunter showed up, it was like, ‘Oh my God! Hunter’s doing Johnny Depp!’ So he did a great job.
—Benicio Del Toro
co-star, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Cannes Press Conference, May 1998

The windows were rolled up, so I thought it would be cool and refreshing in there, [inside the red convertible] but he had the heater on. He was about to do some scene where he was stoned and here he is Method acting in the middle of the desert with the heater on so he'd look all dehydrated and crazy. He's always surprising you. And he makes it look really easy and fun.
—Benicio Del Toro
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas co-star, Entertainment Weekly, September 2003

If you don't mention how shy he is, you'll be missing the boat on a lot of stuff. The reality is that he's a tiny, little, sensitive guy, and more times than not, he's overwhelmed with people coming up to him.
—Peter DeLuise
21 Jump Street co-star, 1998

He was the star. There was no doubt in anybody's mind, and I think he really resented that. On the show they would always randomly cut back to his face while he was listening to other people talk—he was forced to react and make faces, and that made him mad. So John [Whitmore, the director] came up with this great idea: he'd say “I'll tell you what, you don't have to make faces, I will give you the subtext of the scene. There is poop somewhere nearby, and at the beginning of the scene you sense there is poop, and then you actually smell the poop, and then you can't seem to get away from the poop, and then you need to know where the poop is. Now just work on that.” And if you look at the expression on Johnny's face, he is trying to find the poop.
—Peter DeLuise
21 Jump Street co-star, 1998

He is so damn good-looking. I think Johnny's cheekbones are insane! When I called ‘Cut,’ I would hear this collective sigh going on behind my back.
—Ted Demme
director, Blow, November 2003

You get probably one chance in a lifetime to work with an actor as talented as Johnny. He's a film-maker, not just an actor.
—Ted Demme
director, Blow

When you hire Johnny Depp as an actor . . . if you're looking for an actor to stand on the mark and do your lines for you, you're asking the wrong guy, because he's such a smart filmmaker. Johnny Depp is also a chameleon. He, in my opinion, has never done the same performance twice. He's a great actor, but his dedication is something that really, really impressed me a lot. Johnny is a very unique actor and no matter what, he never gives a dishonest take. From day one, he became George Jung and the nuances he brought to the part never ceased to amaze me. His instincts are impeccable, not just as an actor but as a person.
—Ted Demme

Johnny Depp. I think if you told him he was going to play a 19-year-old black kid, he could do it. It'd be a challenge, but he's talented enough to pull anything off.
—Peter Dexter, writer
speaking of a possible casting idea for one of his stories, 2003

He's cool. I was just a kid, and I wanted to hang around with him and be accepted by him—he played a lot of good-natured jokes on me. He's a great actor, and I was really proud to be working alongside him.
—Leonardo DiCaprio
What's Eating Gilbert Grape co-star, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard

He was extremely like Gilbert. But it wasn't something Johnny was trying to do. It naturally came out of him. I never quite understood what he was going through, because it wasn't some big emotional drama that was happening on the set every day—but subtle things I'd see in him. There's an element of Johnny that is extremely nice and extremely cool, but at the same time he's hard to figure out. That makes him interesting.
—Leonardo DiCaprio
What's Eating Gilbert Grape co-star

Johnny related on a real emotional level to the character’s pain and humor. We’re creating a new character and didn’t want an actor that carried baggage with him. Johnny could do any movie he wants, yet he chooses to take risks on emotionally complex parts. The camera likes his cheekbones but it also likes what comes through in his eyes. He’s deep, complex, intelligent, and sensitive. To me, that suggests he will fare well.
—Denise Di Novi
producer, Edwards Scissorhands, 1990

Donleavy has just seen The Libertine, Johnny's latest film, in which he plays the dark and decadent poet, the Earl of Rochester. ‘He is astonishing,’ he informs me, gravely. ‘My God! This man can play every single play of Shakespeare's, his acting perfection is such. Like Gielgud or Olivier, in that class or better. He is clearly one of the great performers of all time. Doesn't this man ever do anything wrong?’
—J. P. Donleavy
author, The Ginger Man, speaking to Victoria Mary Clark, French Vogue, 2005

Mr. Depp is fascinating, amusing and highly intelligent company. We weren't talking very long before we were onto molecules and oxygen and other complicated scientific matters. Then, during a production meeting in my hotel room, he spotted a wooden board with a piece of paper clipped to it on the bed and he ran his fingers along its worn surface. “My God, you use that do you?”  Yes, I said, I write all my pages on it longhand, the page clipped to the board. It's fascinating, in 35 years he's the first person to notice and comment on it. Mr. Depp is something else.
—J. P. Donleavy
author, The Ginger Man, in an interview with Ros Drinkwater in the Post, 2006

Mr. Depp is a bright, intelligent and charming man. I met him in New York and if anybody plays Dangerfield, he'd be brilliant doing it. I don't know why this is, but after meeting him, you felt here's somebody who, if he found himself absolutely lost in a mountain range somewhere, and he had a knife, he'd find his way out. He just has a quality that says—my God, that's pretty suitable for Dangerfield.
—J. P. Donleavy
author, The Ginger Man, NY Daily News, May 2007

I came up with Johnny Depp, right, we were right there and there was always respect and I watched him and his choices, which have been wonderful. And then I see Johnny Depp do Pirates [of the Caribbean] and then suddenly Depp is on a Slurpee cup. And the movies are good. And he's great in them. And I think: If Depp is on a Slurpee, I want to be on a Slurpee.
—Robert Downey, Jr.
LA Times, July 2007

He is incorruptible . . . he always believes in this pure way about love. He's got those kinds of values and it's instinctive with him. This isn't something he's worked out in his head. I love that he believes in love.
—Faye Dunaway

I said, ‘How'd you get the accent?’ And he said he listened to [Ricardo] Montalban on Fantasy Island.
—Faye Dunaway
Don Juan DeMarco co-star, Biography, Fall 2004

I think that Rosamund [Pike] really demonstrated that enormous talent and ability that she has. She was not afraid to put up in front of the likes of Johnny Depp, who, however warm and empowering he is with his contribution, is still a force that is quite something to be around and be put with. For me as a director and for anybody else, he has this incredible intensity and charisma, which carries or aids this talent that he has.
—Laurence Dunmore
director, The Libertine, Stanford Daily, March 2006

Johnny, to both of us [Laurence Dunmore, John Malkovich] was the one who could realize the character that is Rochester. It was so important for me that the character have the breadth and the presence with the audience that he could both shock and confront as well as charm and seduce. Johnny has this incredible ability.
—Laurence Dunmore
director, The Libertine, Los Angeles Times, November, 2005

Johnny was always one for being able to step  into the role and step out of it in a way that sort of enabled him to finish the filming with the crew sort of cracked up with laughter—even if we had just filmed something sad a couple minutes earlier. It was full of a lot of emotion in that way, I mean there was one particular scene, not necessarily a funny anecdote, where he goes back home and he's dying and he has an argument with his wife and it's a very emotional scene where he's literally falling apart in front of her and very angry and very depressed and she likewise is pleading for him to just be himself and to live and to stop destroying himself in that way. At the end of it, Johnny leaned over—having given this incredible performance and tapped me on the side. I was operating the camera and he just said, ‘Breathe’ because I'd literally been holding my breath for the whole take. Another one with him doing the dance in the playhouse with Samantha Morton, I literally caught fire because I hit the chandelier with the camera, and to have Johnny and Samantha pull me out of the fire was an interesting experience, shall we say.
—Laurence Dunmore
director, The Libertine, Stanford Daily, March 2006

I would personally pay a lot of money to work with either of them [Johnny Depp and John Malkovich] again and even give various limbs. They both brought an awful lot and I'm sure that we'll all work again either separately or together on various projects.
—Laurence Dunmore
director, The Libertine, Stanford Daily, March 2006

[Depp is an] intuitive, generous actor. He researches an awful lot to find that character and bring it alive, then it comes through whenever he wants it to—he can play a compelling and believable session and at the end make a silly joke. It sits just below the surface. It's amazing to watch.
—Laurence Dunmore
director, The Libertine, Los Angeles Times, November, 2005

Johnny Depp, who doesn’t act in this scene, concentrates on directing, forming with his director of photography Vilko Filac a solid team. Depp is everywhere, shows special attention to everyone. You’re as likely to see him helping the stagehands install a rail as murmuring, by the ear of an actor, his last instructions before the take. You don’t see, here, any of those little normal hierarchies that often poison sets (seat reserved for the director, favored treatment at the canteen, etc.) In his naturalness, in his contact with others, in his way of pitching in with the crew, Depp is very reminiscent of Jarmusch and Kusturica.
—Christophe d’Yvoire
on the set of The Brave, Studio Magazine, 1997


So paranoid is he about stardom that he's taken the concept of dressing down to almost ludicrous extremes. When I meet him in a Beverly Hills hotel room, he's wearing a scruffy sweater and trousers, as well as an absurdly crumpled and stained tan hat. With a roll-up dangling from his lower lip, the look is Steptoe and Son chic but he can't disguise those super-sharp cheekbones and he still turns heads when he walks through the lobby. For all that though, the 38-year-old Depp is good company. He thinks before he speaks, has a nice, dry sense of humor [. . .]
—David Eimer
The Evening Standard, February, 2002

A slow and deliberate conversationalist with a sly sense of humor, he crouches forward in his seat and occupies himself by rolling thin little cigarettes that go out almost immediately after he lights them. He deliberately downplays his looks, so his hair is greasy, he's unshaven and he's dressed in jeans and a grey shirt. He's also sporting two gold teeth, a hangover from playing a gypsy in Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried, opposite Christina Ricci.
—David Eimer
Sunday Times Magazine, December, 1999

The afternoon filming is much better. [. . .] the Earl of Rochester [is] about to appear. He is riddled with syphilis, a silver mask covers his nose, sores disfigure his face, and he can walk only with the aid of two sticks. [. . .] I am impressed by Johnny Depp. In sequence upon sequence of admirable acting, never once stumbling over his words, he has made this unlikely scenario seem plausible. Between each take I can see and hear him looking into space, psyching himself up for the following one by repeating his next lines over and over. Finally, to cap it all, he makes a complete circuit of the Chapter House delivering his speech of several minutes in a single take—his tour de force one might say.
—an Extra on The Libertine

I was an extra in the marketplace scene. I was standing beside the guy who was beside Helena Bonham Carter and Depp spoke/sang a few lines to me. But when I saw the film they had framed it so Helena is at the edge of the frame! You see my nose and my shoulder at one point, and you see me in a long shot for about a second. Oh well.

Interesting thing was though that Depp switches on his charisma when he acts. We’d all be standing around and he’s just a guy but when Burton shouted action Johnny Depp just grew and when he looked at me there was an intense powerful force in him and I was like a rabbit in his headlights, then “Cut!” and it was gone again. I’d never seen that before with an actor.
—an Extra on Sweeney Todd
from Ted & Terry’s Website


[Dead Man is] sort of a road movie with a horse. Depp’s part is demanding. He’s pretty much half dead for most of the movie. It takes a lot of patience to be half dead and play down your energy, especially for someone like Johnny.
—Gary Farmer
co-star, Dead Man, 1995

He came in with long hair and an earring and a T-shirt with cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve. He was not what someone usually looks like when they're coming in to look for an agent, which was what was so great about him: He just wasn't into it.
—Ilene Feldman
agent for Nicolas Cage, US Magazine, June 1989

Johnny is perfect to represent a man who never wants to grow up because you can see that he has this very accessible child inside him from the choices of movie roles he makes. He brought something very special to the role [of J. M. Barrie], underplaying it in a way that really pays homage to the man we both believe Barrie wanted to be.
—Marc Forster
director, Finding Neverland

The closer he got to the kids, the more they trusted each other, [and] the more he opened up with his playfulness. [. . .] He played with them, invited them into his trailer. The last day of shooting was almost tragic for the kids because they loved him so much, especially Freddie—he was so heartbroken and crying. They became a family.
—Marc Forster
director, Finding Neverland

Their approaches are different. Dustin [Hoffman] definitely comes from a different school than Johnny does. Dustin is like a wonderful . . . I don't know too much about cars, but people say when you have an engine of like an old Ferrari that it has to run for awhile before it sounds perfect—after eight, nine, ten takes, he starts running. He's warming up and then like on take fifteen, sixteen, you're getting to the jewel of his work. Johnny is like take three, take four, and after take ten he starts getting tired. So if you have a scene where they both are in the shot, Johnny's best work is between take three and take five, that's when he peaks and Dustin peaks between eight and twenty five, somewhere in between there. So it was hard for Johnny because it's Dustin Hoffman, we both love him, he's an icon of ours, so you just try to keep going and keep his focus going.
—Marc Forster
director, Finding Neverland,, November 2004

He manages to be so subtle that you think he's completely natural. He can go from a dramatic scene into a playful scene, back and forth, effortlessly. His performance is so intrinsically fascinating and complex that it's hard to see that he's actually acting.
—Mark Forster
director, Finding Neverland, Variety, January 2005

Will this be his year? It seems every Oscar season I write that “this is Johnny Depp’s year” and it doesn’t happen.

“I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you,” Depp said good-naturedly Monday. He is a genial, private, soft-spoken soul who is really not a good Oscar campaigner. But maybe this year the work will speak for itself, as he sings, in an accent no less, and even does a little dancing.
—Roger Friedman
FoxNews, December 4, 2007