How Johnny Depp Developes Characters


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I’m a huge Depp fan. I think he is without a doubt, the single greatest Character actor of our time. A recent article by Rachel Abramowitz from the Los Angeles Times gives some interesting insight into the way Depp molds the characters he portrays on film. “When preparing for a role, he sketches the character, or paints him in watercolor, allowing his brain to bounce along it’s own idiosyncratic path. Capt. Jack Sparrow’s coal-rimmed eyes weren’t inspired by glam-rock but by Berber nomads who lined their orbs to protect them from the sun,” Abramowitz says. It has been known for some time that the screen personality of Jack Sparow was inspired by the mannerisms of Keith Richards, Depp’s good friend, and guitarist for the Rolling Stones . It’s interesting to find out that the eye-shadow wasn’t from the Keith Richards part of the character but actually had some historical fact behind it. That’s Depp working his magic. His portrayal of Dillinger in his newest flick “Public Enemies” was actually influenced by an audio tape he found of Dillinger’s father. Depp related because his own grandfather sounded exactly like him. Building solid and believable characters takes research and realism. They have to be grounded in someone you really know. Otherwise , they ring hollow.

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