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So Thursday night in London was Sweeney Todd’s European Premiere and the third time I’d seen the film. It really does get better and better, and, as I’ve said here before, Depp’s performance feels even more magnificent the more times you see it. He does so much by doing (seemingly) so little. I know that awards shouldn’t be the definition of a great performance but it would, to my mind, be a crying shame if he didn’t win the Oscar this year.
—Mark Salisbury
January 12, 2008

Is Johnny Depp incapable of being boring? Regardless of what kind of material he tackles, the man always seems to come up with a compelling, or at least an offbeat performance.
—James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette, March 2004

Describing the character of Victor Van Dort in Tim Burton’s animated film Corpse Bride:  “Here’s a little fact . . . that’s actually Johnny Depp, not claymation. He’s that good.”
—Paul Scheer
on the VH-1 series The Best Week Ever, 2005

I don't know that he knows how good he is in that movie. He was great. I mean he really looked great in that underwear. I mean it was just, you know, shooting going up his ass and up his back and his hair, you started thinking about Marilyn Monroe, when he had red hair, he looked like Sophia Loren.
—Julian Schnabel
director, Before Night Falls

Johnny could not have been cooler about the whole thing—I told him what I wanted him to do, and he did it. He really loved the story we were telling and wanted to help get it told. I really admire him for it and really am grateful that he took the time to work with me on this.
—Julian Schnabel
director, Before Night Falls

Johnny was doing two other movies at the same time, but he showed up in the middle of all that. And, he wouldn't let me pay for anything, either. I mean he worked for free, and he said just put it on the screen.
—Julian Schnabel

He had that demeanor, like James Dean—now I know how much of a cliché that is, but it happens to be true in some cases. He is a very cool guy without putting much effort into being cool. He seemed to have an attitude that he was applying himself but that an acting career really didn't matter to him all that much, yet you could see it in his face that he was well read, well prepared, and giving the job every due diligence. It comes as no surprise to me that all these A-list directors now want to work with him—I would love to work with him again.
—Joel Schumacher
executive producer, Slow Burn, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard

[Speaking about the security guard from the Mark Hotel incident] It seemed like this guy couldn't stand Johnny. Johnny dressed in leather and jeans and not all fancy like everybody else in the joint.
—Jonathan Shaw
close friend and tattoo artist, Esquire April 1995

On set, Depp projects a warm, gentle kindness and accessibility that mark him as the true Kentucky gentleman and terrifically devoted family man that he is. His natural charisma also illuminated the proceedings with a special light that created a unique atmosphere whenever he was working. Or, is that Captain Jack Sparrow's charisma? Because in the middle of a workday, it was impossible for anyone—perhaps himself least of all—to know where Johnny Depp ended and Captain Jack began, and vice versa. For the nearly two-year period between the start of production on Dead Man's Chest to the final wrap of At World's End, Johnny Depp's smile was the same as Captain Jack's, with the character's trademark gold and silver teeth bonded onto his own.
—Michael Singer
Unit Publicist for the second two Pirates movies, and author of Bring Me That Horizon ~ The Making of Pirates of the Caribbean, 2007

Johnny is so totally different from most actors. He really likes who he is, and he is really secure in that. He treats people the way he wants to be treated. That's why we all stay with him.
—Kenn Smiley
Don Juan deMarco wardrobe person, Vogue, September 1994

Johnny Depp’s performance is quite remarkable. Sweeney’s desire for revenge and the simmering anger and hurt that he feels carry the story forward, and Johnny finds the most remarkable variety within that narrow set of emotions. The intensity is at a boil all the time and he never drops it. It’s real anger.
—Stephen Sondheim, November 2007

He came from a rock band and even though he was not a lead singer, I knew he was musical just from that. I also knew that he was intelligent enough from talking to him, that he would not play this part unless he could handle it vocally. I knew he was not about to get up there and have to have his voice dubbed or come off croaking. So Johnny Depp casted Johnny Depp. I trusted him entirely. I knew that he was no fool and he would only do it if he felt he could handle it. I told him to listen to the score carefully and if you can handle it, fine by me, and I was right.
—Stephen Sondheim
London press interviews for Sweeney Todd, November 27, 2007

What better then a Victorian Opera about a serial killer directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp!

Johnny was fantastic. I took my youngest daughter, who is 22, in on my last day of filming. He is a God to her, and he was so sweet to her. He chatted and kissed her good bye. He is so lovely and a bloody brilliant actor. He was delightful, as was Helena Bonham Carter. It was a fantastic experience.
—Timothy Spall
actor, Sweeney Todd, Time Out, December 5, 2007

The big-name stars . . . are always going to be playing what they've played before if they want to remain so-called A-list stars. That's why someone like Johnny Depp is doing more interesting roles not caring about the size of the movie.
—Ben Stiller
Sky Magazine, April 1994


I know that Johnny Depp must open his mouth when he speaks, but after I've seen one of his performances, I can barely remember his lips moving: Everything he communicates seems to come from his eyes. And it's not that his line readings are inexpressive. Often, though, Depp uses his husky, shallow voice for line readings so hesitant—hushed, almost—that they seem a mere echo of what you can read already in his huge, dark eyes.
—Charles Taylor, May 1998

Depp's best moments are when the camera just looks at him: in his first shot as he peeps over the top of Robert Benayoun's book "The Look of Buster Keaton," or, in a moment to treasure near the end, as he swings past a second-story window and, with gallant nonchalance, doffs his top hat to the lady inside.
—Charles Taylor
about Benny & Joon,, May 1998

Johnny Depp is a constant reminder of the joys and perils of being a critic. When Depp began trying to build a career in movies, fresh from 21 Jump Street, most critics treated him as a joke because he was a teen idol and a TV actor. The body of work Depp has been building, each part chosen with an eye toward stretching himself, reminds us that one of the chief pleasures the movies offer is the surprise discovering a performer’s possibilities—and the impossibility of predicting what they’ll be.
—Charles Taylor
contributing writer,, 1998

You know, he does have a temper: don't get me wrong. But the temper and the bad boy are very different things. And it's like: If you attempt to take something away from him, or attempt to cross his dream in a way, he'll fight! He will.
—Lili Taylor
Arizona Dream co-star, 1998

There is nothing about working with Johnny as an actor that . . . um . . . starts to feel really comfortable or kind of falls into a rhythm, which is what I think makes him so brilliant. He would deliver a line and every single time it would have a different rhythm or a different . . . anything. Which is so incredible to work with because, for me, acting is really listening and responding to what somebody is giving you.
—Charlize Theron
Astronaut's Wife co-star, Inside the Actor's Studio, January 2004

He is a really gorgeous man, but he is also a wonderful, instinctive actor. I loved watching him work, watching him layering on the complexities of his character.
—Charlize Theron
The Astronaut's Wife co-star, quoted in Depp, by Christopher Heard

Johnny was always the passive centre of the activity swirling around him. Ed Wood was a departure for him, it seems to me, to the extent that he was the initiator and the enthusiast and the force behind all the activity going on in the movie. And it was a completely different kind of role for him.
—Caroline Thompson
writer, Edward Scissorhands, 1998

I noticed at once that Depp had a dangerously energized intelligence . . . He was a suave little brute, but he had a wicked sense of humor and a rare instinct for escalation.
—Hunter S. Thompson
George Magazine, June 1998

I didn't know Johnny Depp could act until he played me.
—Hunter S. Thompson
November 2003

What I like about Johnny is he follows his own thing, sometimes to an almost crazy extent. [He mentions how one winter night Depp took the writer's vintage fire apple red convertible and drove it from Colorado to Las Vegas.] It was 15 degrees out and the convertible top was broken. And he drove that sonuvabitch from here to Las Vegas with the top down. He was determined . . . . I like the way he approached the bombs and I liked the way he wanted to take the convertible in a blizzard to Vegas.
—Hunter S. Thompson
Entertainment Weekly, September 2003

Johnny Depp is, to me, a rare kindred spirit with like sensibilities, who has escaped the beast. He's probably one of the few people that have survived Los Angeles as a human being.
—Nick Tosches
writer and friend, Le Musee Imaginaire de Johnny Depp, France 5 TV, August 2002

Yes, he even knows some German nuggets—“Have a nice evening; Have a nice weekend; Do you think I shit money?”  Yes, he really said it. There had been a mention in the tabloid press a short while ago that he would have paid 440 Euros for a bottle of wine. One day he came to us and said . . . abruptly, “Do you think I shit money?” I almost rolled on the floor laughing.
—Franziska Troegner
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory co-star, (from a German interview translated by Zoner Charly), August 2005

Johnny is very easy to work with and very generous. There is a real ease to his performance style. David Koepp gave us a lot of room to do our thing, and anything you throw at Johnny, he quickly catches and tosses back at you. He's very intuitive and inventive. As a performer, it's a big advantage to enjoy a common comfort zone with a fellow actor. We definitely had that. Johnny also has a great sense of humor. We enjoy some common interests and we've worked with directors with similar sensibilities. I've always enjoyed his performances and was happy to have the chance to work with him again.
—John Turturro
Secret Window co-star, quoted in Johnny Depp, A Modern Rebel by Brian J. Robb


Johnny Depp is such a nice guy. During rehearsal he was moving around near me. I looked at him as if to say, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m just making sure I don’t block your light.” There aren’t many actors who would worry about that.
—Bernard Usher
actor, Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp has always been a star. Tim Burton's go-to guy has won universal acclaim for a string of wonderful and original performances in films like Edward Scissorhands, Blow and Sleepy Hollow. But, without question, it was taking on the mantle of Captain Jack Sparrow that made Depp the biggest movie star in the world.
—Joe Utichi
exclusive interview with Johnny Depp, July 2006