Johnny Depp is Hollywood’s odd man out, he’s not the action hero or comedic goofball – but has rather created his own place. We all know how talented he is (or can be), but when Mortdecai came along, I was concerned. Someone this good shouldn’t be subjected to Mortdecai (Ewan McGregor, you’re also on notice) so I naturally assumed he was being blackmailed and watched the trailer. Jokes aside, that’s where Mortdecai had positioned their jokes, far to the side. Then I started thinking; what of note, has Depp done lately?
Johnny has two speeds – you’ve got your eccentric odd ball (Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pirates etc) and there’s your drama leading actor (Public Enemies, Transcendance, The Tourist etc). These latter roles require little to no extreme make up, and it’s clear that he excels at the former, it’s how he arguably made his name. Though if you’re judging movies by box office, only Pirates really stacks up (that’s why there’s more of those films in the works).
Drama Johnny (not to be confused with Entourage’s Johnny Drama) is an attempt at diversity that in my opinion hasn’t worked out since Gilbert Grape, but here’s the thing, they should. Buried in make-up, costumes and CGI, Johnny Depp excels as one of the best character actors in Hollywood. The way he inhabits a role is outstanding and he adds another dimension to the film, illuminating it along the way. So what’s missing?
His latest film, Black Mass, looks promising and could be his redemption. Depp stars as infamous gangster Whitey Bulger; the trailer looks strong and so does Depp, appearing as a toned down version of Mike Meyer’s Goldmember (in a good way). It’ll be interesting to see how the film (and Depp) is received because it could be the one that finally delivers. Striking that perfect balance between his acting prowess and deep character submersion (that should be the name of his autobiography).
The less said about Mortdecai the better.