December 2014 / January 2015 Cover Story

The Depp of his Appeal

At 50, Johnny Depp’s boyish good looks and humble charm are firmly intact, and despite his aversion to the evils of fame, he promises there’s more to look forward to.

He rose to prominence when the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street launched him as a teen idol. But that wasn’t what one would call the “start” to his career, because to say it was a start would imply there is an end—and Johnny Depp, regarded by many as one of the world’s biggest movie stars, is one of those leading men whose star you just know is going to be burning brightly until the end of his days. 

Nearly 30 years ago, we saw him in a minor supporting role as a translator in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, mostly because many of the scenes he had filmed with the film’s star, Willem Dafoe, were cut from the finished movie. Four years later, he seemed to hit his niche playing quirky characters, like the lead role in Edward Scissorhands. A string of box office successes followed from the late 90s to the present—Sleepy Hollow, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland—with Depp collaborating on eight of those films with his friend, the director Tim Burton; their ninth, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, is scheduled for 2016. Films featuring Depp have grossed over $3.1 billion at the United States box office and over $7.6 billion worldwide (the Pirates of the Caribbean films alone have grossed $3 billion).

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