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He's done so many interesting parts over the years that he got a reputation for being quirky, but he really wasn't. He's a fine actor.
—Al Pacino
Donnie Brasco co-star, speaking about Johnny's SAG win

Johnny has incredible instincts. He's able to put himself into the head of his character and vary his level according to the needs of each scene.  That's a very rare gift.
—Al Pacino
Hello Magazine, April 1997

I like him. He knows what he is doing, and he is easy to be around. Depp is a lot better actor than he is given credit for.
—Al Pacino
Donnie Brasco co-star, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard

We were like kids on the beach. Johnny gives a lot, and he knows how to listen. I really had his eyes, you know. Very pure, very special.
—Geraldine Pailhas
co-star, Don Juan DeMarco, 1997

If you talk to the people who work with Depp—like Marc Forster, the director of Finding Neverland, Kate Winslet, others on the small-budget British movie The Libertine in which he plays the mad, bad Earl of Rochester—they will all say the same thing. Depp is quiet, kind and funny. And he hates being a movie star[. . .] He strikes you as a very gentle soul.
—Martyn Palmer
journalist, in a 2004 interview

He doesn’t belong in show business . . . he belongs somewhere better.
—Sarah Jessica Parker, 1996

He's the star, but he's always running around asking if you need water or anything. And not just with me, but with the crew. He asks them if he can help carry cable.
—Sarah Jessica Parker
Ed Wood costar, Los Angeles Times, 1993

Johnny has a very wise spirit, and he pays no heed to things that don’t matter. He is internal in a way that is reflective but not isolating. He’s a gentle, lovely person. And when I think of those things that have been written in the papers about him recently, it’s as if they’re talking about a totally different person.
—Sarah Jessica Parker
Ed Wood co-star, 1994

I'm so jealous I can't even think about it. I would give anything to make that movie with Tim and Johnny. [Charlie and the Chocolate Factory]
—Amy Paschal
Columbia Pictures chairman, Entertainment Weekly, September 2003

What an actor he is! I just love everything he does. I loved Sleepy Hollow.
—Bernadette Peters
Broadway star, speaking of Johnny's Actor's Fund Award, USA Today, October 2004

He is the most amazing actor I've ever worked with. I felt very, very free with him. We had some very traumatic, violent scenes in which the director wanted us to push everything to the limit. I felt sick with worry the morning of shooting. I guess I drew on all the experiences of love I'd ever had. There were no rehearsals. It was very exciting.
—Rosamund Pike
The Libertine co-star, UK Daily Telegraph, September 2005

He's so brilliant to work with, so exciting, you believe in him so much as a character. It made my job very easy. He's like the coolest kid in school. You want to be in his gang. His whole lifestyle is kind of wonderful. He travels with this big group of people. He's like a gypsy. His caravan is always filled with his friends, playing guitar and painting. You want to be in the band. The guys who look after the trailers were like, ‘How do we clean in there?’ because he covered it with drapes and candles, just covered every available surface.
—Rosamund Pike
The Libertine co-star, Scotland on Sunday

He was so concerned that I was all right with it, he would ring me all the time and say ‘Would you do this or would you say that?’  And then when it was finished he refused to go and see it until I could go with him.  Most actors wouldn't care; they would just grab the money and run.  But he's not like that.
—Joe Pistone
the real Donnie Brasco, Boulevard Magazine, April 1997

I only knew the guy from what I read in the papers—you know, about hotel rooms and that stuff—but he is nothing like that.  Johnny is a really nice guy.
—Joe Pistone
Boulevard Magazine, April 1997

He brought a sensitivity to the part. That's a side of me that a lot of people don't see. It was amazing. A lot of times during the shoot, I'd close my eyes and say, ‘Christ, that's me talking!’
—Joe Pistone
Rolling Stone, November 1998

Johnny Depp has become this generation's Alec Guinness—which is massive praise just stopping with that—but with movie star looks. His performance here, much of which Burton captures in extreme close-up, giving Depp's ticks full control on long comic beats, is simply as good as it gets.

Depp gives another Oscar worthy performance, which was in many ways more challenging than his brilliant turn in Pirates of the Caribbean, since here so much of it is in small beats and without the fun of buckling his swash. Wonka's tone is absolutely critical and Depp walked the tightrope with Wallenda-level skill.
—David Poland
movie critic, reviewing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, July 2005

Johnny always sounds right when he says a line. He never sounds phony, there's never a wrong tone in his delivery. Johnny has an extraordinary and spontaneous way of giving his own rhythm to a character. It seems quite natural for him, and you never feel like he's making any effort what so ever. It's almost fascinating, because he comes on the set and does his thing almost casually, which doesn't prevent him from being very accurate. His work was brilliant, because the Corso you see on the screen is exactly the one I had in mind before hiring Johnny.
—Roman Polanski
director, The Ninth Gate

It's rare that you find such a good looking man with his abilities. His physique is his greatest asset—it's almost a teenager's body, in fact. Those delicate hands, a musician's handshake . . . and this puerile streak in him. You look at him sometimes and think, ‘How old are you?’
—Roman Polanski

Acting is very easy for Johnny. You never see him rehearse his lines. He comes to the set very relaxed and fulfills his task. This was very stimulating. He was interested in old books in any case. He read some of them before the shooting. After that he just put on his costume. I asked him all the time: ‘What do you think of this? If you think it's good, I think that too,’ was his laconic reply. Concerning his glasses, I explained to him that I wanted him to wear real glasses, because they give a person a different kind of look in the eyes. When he tried them on, he screamed that they made him blind. I insisted on him playing the role like that. Luckily he accepted and for the whole movie he wore glasses through which he actually saw nothing.
—Roman Polanski

I have to tell you that I only knew Johnny Depp from his other movies, which I loved. I loved the fact that he chose to do movies that he wanted to be proud of. What I wasn't prepared for was how quiet and humble and funny he was. He is the star of the movie, and he had the weight of the film on his shoulders, but he was always very concerned about my performance and helping me and trying to make me feel relaxed.
—Franka Potente
Blow co-star, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard


I thought Johnny Depp's performance was terrific, still do. At the time we made the movie, he was a question mark in a lot of ways as an actor—would he go this way? would he go that way?—but you watch him in that movie, and you try to forget all that tabloid junk for a minute, and you'll see an actor who is deeply committed to being the best actor he can be.
—Aidan Quinn
Benny & Joon co-star, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard


Anyway, toward the end, they're back in their cold New York apartment, and they're having this kind of man-woman showdown, and Johnny came up to me and said, ‘I'm going to try something.’ The cameras started to roll, and he unleashed something on the set that was like lightning. He unloaded on her verbally, using most of the words of the script, but adding to them and changing them. After it was over, everyone just sat around with their mouths open—it was a true moment of horror.

That's Johnny's talent: He's able to go inside and find something raw and bring it out, but in a controlled way. It was a scary thing—he had definitely been in touch with something inside him that was real raw human energy. But it didn't get away from him. He brought it out and shaped it and controlled it. It was an amazing moment.
—Rand Ravich
writer/director, The Astronaut's Wife

Johnny Depp is, in my mind, the best actor of his generation. I felt that he would bring the necessary element to the role of Spencer Armacost: truth.
—Rand Ravich
writer and director, The Astronaut's Wife

I was so nervous, really scared, but Johnny was very well prepared and tremendous to work with—a consummate film actor, although he loves to have fun. He arrived on the first day knowing exactly what he was going to do with the role.
Oh, he's lovely, a really lovely man. He's a sensational actor—I'm desperate to see him do some stage work, but I think that he feels film is his true metier. And, of course, he's right. But he has this joy, this glint in his eye, and a mysterious edge.
—Kelly Reilly
The Libertine co-star, January 2005

He's a Gemini—very sensitive, a little shy and very funny. If he wanted to trash a hotel room with me in it, that would be just fine . . .
—Gloria Reuben
Nick of Time co-star, quoted in Johnny Depp, A Modern Rebel by Brian J. Robb

Christina: He [Johnny's horse in Sleepy Hollow] gives you hours of amusement. Johnny loses it every time the horse farts.
Yeah, and the horse farts constantly. I take it as a statement about movies in general. She just doesn't give a shit about what's going on. She farts constantly and shits all over the set. [smiles] I like that horse very, very much . . .
—Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp
Sleepy Hollow co-stars, Empire, January 2000

He's always been a bit of a rebel and done whatever he wants to. That's very sexy. I'm sure he's even going to be sexy as Willy Wonka.
—Christina Ricci
People, December 2003

On his reaction to Johnny’s performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, supposedly inspired by himself: I saw the movie and I thought, hey, he got me down pretty good.
—Keith Richards
interviewed on Extra, August 11, 2005

He has a lovely guitar collection, by the way. He's got stuff from the 17th, 18th century. First guitar or something. Amazing stuff. He's a player.
—Keith Richards
Guitar World, November 2005

I'd go to hell and back for that bloke. Let me tell you: he is SO gorgeous!!
—Anna Richardson
interviewer, Johnny Depp From Hell TV Special, ITV (UK) January 2002

He's smaller than me. A bit fine-boned, I suppose, but not dramatically so. He has a way of huddling down under his hat and his totems. But when the camera was on him, some of the times, he kind of beamed Johnny out. It was striking, like one of those magic powers in those hobbit movies.
—John Richardson
writer-at-large, Esquire Magazine, on his meeting with Johnny for the May 2004 issue

I don't think the nice-guy thing is constructed. It's intentional, but not constructed. He definitely seems to have a sense of decency and egalitarianism. This came through for me strongest when, at the photo shoot, I talked to his makeup artist. She's been with him since Arizona Dream, and she wasn't any glamorous, fabulous person . . . a little socially awkward, a real person.
—John Richardson
writer-at-large, Esquire Magazine, on his meeting with Johnny for the May 2004 issue

He was not . . . chatty, but seemed happy to talk. He seemed to like talking about the boring stuff—kids, computers, Django Reinhart—but also seemed happy enough to talk about the career stuff, although I noticed that he steered it in several directions, subtly—one, mentioning the horror of the Jump Street-celebrity experience, and two, praising other people. He loves to praise other people.
—John Richardson
writer-at-large, Esquire Magazine, on his meeting with Johnny for the May 2004 issue

I liked talking about music with him, Django and swing and such. I liked his little ironic remarks. Lots of those. He knows the names of famous bookbinders. And he has a very sweet affect that's touching and pleasing.
—John Richardson
writer-at-large, Esquire Magazine, on his meeting with Johnny for the May 2004 issue

He's a very sweet man. He's very quiet and he loves his children. He brought them on the set and played with them quite a bit. And he's an amazing actor to watch because he makes it seem so effortless. He can snap in and out of his character just like that. He's also not afraid to take risks.
—Anna Sophia Robb
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory co-star

All of Johnny's fans will be delighted but not surprised to hear that he's just about the nicest guy on the goddamn planet. He's generous, considerate, modest, brave, intelligent, good-hearted, creative, funny, gentle, wise, loving, loyal, hard-working, and almost unbearably cool.
—Gregory David Roberts
author, Shantaram

Watching him work, on the set of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was an education in itself. The total professional, Johnny puts passion and intensity into every take, and is always in the moment. No less important, it seemed to me, was the way that he brought so much affectionate communication to every other actor in each scene, and extended that warmth to every member of the crew. It was a happy, positive set, and I put that down to Johnny's art, and his good heart, and to the sensitive brilliance of his friend, the wonderful Tim Burton.
—Gregory David Roberts
author, Shantaram

He is an almost unbearably cool human being. Apart from my dad and my brother, he's the nicest guy I've ever met.
—Gregory David Roberts
Herald Sun, February 2005

There is this pitching process that actors and producers do. I met the four actors who wanted to play this part: Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Russell Crowe. I spoke to them on the telephone; I spoke to their producers on the telephone. They pitch to you on the phone. Then you hold the auction. They are hoping that they have persuaded you before the auction, to accept your bid even if it's a lower bid. I came down for the auction. The morning the auction was going to be held, I came to the office and said I've already picked Johnny Depp. They asked why. I said, ‘Because he's the only one who has been talking to me about India. The others seem to think that India and the Indian people are not even a part of this project. So Depp, I think, will be able to bring the right heart into this project.’  And it turned out that his was the highest bid.
—Gregory David Roberts
author, Shantaram

When you're writing a book it's a question of what you put in. When you're writing a screenplay, it's a question of what you leave out. I was more savage with that than Johnny was. He was saying, ‘No, no, no, you can't leave that out, I love that part,’ so we had quite spirited discussions about it.
—Gregory David Roberts
Herald Sun, February 2005

He is one of the coolest people I know. On the set, he's a different guy than what you see in public. He plays guitar. He's the leader of the Jump Street garage band. We have water pistol fights. That's Johnny Depp.
—Holly Robinson
21 Jump Street Co-Star, 1988

Johnny developed a strange empathy for my position during filming. I had a trailer that was a lot smaller than his. He demanded that I would get one that was at least as big as his. I was lying in the back of an ambulance that took me back to the nearest town, when I saw an incredible convoy with their headlights on: it was the trailer.
—Jean Rochefort
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote co-star, 2003

The best written part was that character. [Sands] It was amazing to see how he took it to another 10 levels. If he'd just come in and played it right off the page, it would have been a great part, but he really gave it another life.
—Robert Rodriguez
Director/Producer/Writer/Composer, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2003

I knew I'd get along with Johnny really well, because he's as paranoid of a dad as me. He brought bottled water because he didn't want his daughter to get sick. Guys cursed with imaginations can imagine the worst things happening to their children.
—Robert Rodriguez
writer and director, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2004

Johnny’s character [CIA Agent Sands] is very edgy, and you have to have an actor who’s willing to embrace that, because so many actors don’t want to come in and be unlikable. But Johnny didn’t seem to care about that as long as the character was interesting. What’s funny is that, no matter how vile we made him, Johnny still has this incredible likeable nature, so the character still ends up being sympathetic. I don’t think you can really hate a Johnny Depp character, no matter how rotten he may be . . . Johnny took someone you should despise and gave the audience a conflicting interest in him so that, by the end, they’re actually cheering for him. It was interesting to watch an unredeemable character eventually become redeemable.
—Robert Rodriguez
director, Once Upon a Time in Mexico

He isn't interested in stardom. I don't think he's ever needed it or ever wanted it.
—Robert Rodriguez
Knack Focus, September 2003

Johnny Depp is a very musical character. He would listen to the Sergio Leone stuff before making a take, to get himself into character.
—Robert Rodriguez, 2003

When I got to the set, I realized all my actors were musicians—Johnny, Antonio, Ruben. So I threw it out there on the set and said, ‘I'm going to be doing the score, and you are all musicians. And since you're all going to be co-creating the characters, why don't you give me a piece of music that represents this character.’ So I got music from everybody. And Johnny wrote a full piece, because that was his idea of who his character was. And I took that and orchestrated it.
—Robert Rodriguez
Director/Producer/Writer/Composer, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, 2003

What's great about Johnny is sometimes he'd do a scene and I'd go: ‘Is that in the script?’ It was in the script but it seemed foreign even to me, who wrote it, because he makes everything seem really fresh and odd.
—Robert Rodriguez, September 2003

John Christopher Depp II—or Johnny Depp, as he's better known to his legion of fans and admirers—is so cool, well, frankly it's almost physically painful for me to talk about him.

But, you know the coolest thing about Johnny Depp? The one cool thing—over and above the many great movies he's made, and the way he looks on camera? The coolest thing of all is the fact that he really couldn't care less about being cool. Now, that's cool.
—Jonathan Ross
intro to his VH1 interview with Johnny Depp, 1993

Talking with Johnny Depp about the Jack Sparrow character and whether he needs to change in the course of the trilogy. ‘Bugs Bunny never changed,’ Johnny said, ‘and it never stopped working.’ Which led to a debate on whether Indiana Jones ever changed, or James Bond, did Rick in Casablanca change or was the character merely revealed . . .
—Terry Rossio
writer, Pirates trilogy, from his blog, June 2005

I accompanied Johnny on a flight from the Bahamas to New York in his private jet, which is very luxurious. I asked the stewardess for a chewing gum and I got presented 12 different gums on a silver plate as if they were precious jewelry.
—Terry Rossio

There is something magical about Johnny, there is no doubt about it. The first time we met him, it was like meeting a blind date at the front door and discovering ‘My God, he is so wonderful.’
—Donna Roth
producer, Benny & Joon

He's so good-looking and he's a highly unpredictable and quite genius-type actor. He's so irreverent, so playful, so surprising on screen.
—Geoffrey Rush
Sharon Osbourne Show, October 2003

Jack is probably the pirate that everyone wants to be; he is freewheeling, he is absolutely his own man, he's hilarious—he's like Johnny. It was extraordinary to watch Johnny create this character. It was such a cool performance, very masterfully done. He is a brilliant actor.
—Geoffrey Rush
quoted in Johnny Depp, A Modern Rebel by Brian J. Robb

Someone like Johnny is a great team leader . . . it's great not to have a diva. It's great to have someone who's very laid-back, very playful . . . he's probably the only person who dares to ad-lib. A lot of what he throws in makes it into the final mix. Jack Sparrow is some crazy part of Johnny's brain.
—Geoffrey Rush, May 2007

[In response to being asked about favorite actors he has worked with] And Johnny Depp, we've been together for four-and-a-half years now on these films; he's one of the great character actors in a leading man's body who constantly surprises himself and his audience with his capabilities and imagination.
—Geoffrey Rush, May 2007

Johnny's the coolest dude on Earth . . . besides maybe Keith Richards. He's an actor of such oblique approach to any given project; he always does something that no one's done before. With the pirate thing, you expect someone to be a bit like Barbossa, because he's historical—it goes back to Basil Rathbone or Robert Newton, the golden age of Hollywood villainy. But Jack Sparrow is not what anyone expected—[Depp] approaches it as a great actor. He's also a very cunning craftsman. He knows how to give you the fun of the character in the wide shots, and then he has these little internal moments in the close-ups. I always felt a bit like a piece of industrial machinery next to his efforts.
—Geoffrey Rush
New York Post, May 20, 2007

I'm Johnny's biggest fan. I was having a conversation with someone the other day and saying, “Do you know anyone in all of Hollywood history who's had the kind of independent, idiosyncratic, chameleon-like character actor career that Johnny Depp's got?”
He brings all of that into this big pop, commercial film as Jack, and in the meantime goes off and does Finding Neverland and The Libertine, and now Sweeney Todd! If you look back on old Hollywood, I can't think of anyone who was that sort of model good-looking, Hollywood star who happened to be a brilliant character actor.
—Geoffrey Rush
New York Post, May 20, 2007

I've been lucky because I do regard myself as a slightly aging character and I've been able to be in scenes with delightful women, like Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek, Goldie Hawn . . . It's been a perk of the job. And the prettiest of all, of course, was Johnny Depp.
—Geoffrey Rush
Pirates co-star, Globe & Mail, December 2003