BUTTERFLY MCQUEEN
Her roles were largely stereotypical, yet her charm and goofiness made her memorable. Here’s a look at her work beyond Gone With the Wind.

DESIGN IN FILM: THE MODERN HOUSEAn eight-minute video montage of modern homes—real and fake—as seen on the silver screen.

KEYE LUKE
An examination of the lengthy career of the Chinese-American character actor, from Charlie Chan to Woody Allen.

70MMThirty visually stunning films that illustrate the grandeur of large-format filmmaking.

CHILL WILLS
Our look at the Texas actor’s 43-year film career, including an ill-advised Oscar campaign. 

MARGARET HAMILTON
A look at the professional life of an actress who proved to be much more than just the Wicked Witch of the West.

NEBRASKANSA look at some of the memorable talentsfrom Astaire to Zanuck—to come from the Cornhusker State.

BEHIND THE SCENES
Twenty-five cool photos reveal what goes on outside of movie camera range.

SILENT SURVIVORS
Our list of at least a dozen silent film performers that are happily still with us.

12 GREAT MOVIE SONGSElvis, The Beatles and The Supremes join our list of favorite movie themes of the 1960s.

WILHELM SCREAMWe trace the history of one of the most famous and beloved sound effects in movies.

LOST HORIZONA dud receives its due as we explore the elements that made this 1973 musical so preposterously memorable.

GREAT CLOSING LINES
One hundred films whose final words of dialogue make indelible lasting impressions.

25 GREAT SILENT MOVIE POSTERSOur selection of artwork from the early days of motion pictures that expertly illustrate the tone and tale of the films they represent.

RAVES AND RASPBERRIES We select some choice bits from reviews by the late Roger Ebert.

ERROL FLYNN GETS WHACKEDThe actor recalls an unforgettable moment with Bette Davis on the set of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.

CINEMATIC RIDESTen films where carnival attractions add to the plot and give their protagonists a cheap thrill.

REEFER TRILOGY
Three overwrought cautionary tales from the 1930s examine the perils of smoking marijuana in polite society.

20 DIRECTORS / 20 FILMSSome of the world’s best moviemakers from Hollywood’s Golden Era provide a behind-the-scenes look at their creations.

LOS ANGELES IN THE 1920SVintage clips offer a look at famous boulevards, studios, theaters, eateries and more.

BILLY WILDEROur favorite lines of dialogue from the Oscar-winning writer/director.

WOODY ALLENChoice lines of dialogue, from Take the Money and Run to Midnight in Paris.

KATHARINE HEPBURNTen authoritative moments when Kate's movie character speaks her mind.

UFA MOVIE POSTERSA look at the early one sheets from the longest standing film studio in Germany.

THE LANGUAGE OF NOIRWe celebrate tough talk from the best of Hollywood’s gritty crime dramas.

HELICOPTER OVER HOLLYWOOD

Aerial shots of Hollywood in 1958 includes Griffith Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and major studios.

AMERICAWe celebrate one of the most exuberant dance numbers committed to film, a thrilling showcase for freakishly talented folks with music in their bones.

HOLLYWOOD POSTCARDSTen vintage postcards revealing the glories of Southern California's movie mecca.

MAJOR FILMS, MINOR GAFFESTwenty-five mistakes in some of the greatest movies ever made.

GEORGE GERSHWINTen classic songs as seen on the silver screen.

GREAT ENDINGSA memorable tussle in Death Valley caps Erich von Stroheim’s broken classic.

10 GREAT POSTERSOur look at striking works of art that just happen to sell movie tickets.

MUST READMGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot provides a fascinating look at a lost treasure.

IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENINGJane Wyman and Bing Crosby charm with the Oscar-winning song from Here Comes the Groom (1951).

PLUNDER ROADFilm noir at its best—and most economical. No backstory, a lean look and just 72 minutes long.

W.C. FIELDSTen of his most memorable character names.

OUTER SPACE HORROR
Aliens and mutants take center stage in twenty-five spectacular movie posters from the 1950s.

INGMAR BERGMAN
Our list of ten must-see films—ten artful depictions of the human condition—by one of the world’s most influential directors.

10 DIRECTORS / 10 FILMS 
Accomplished directors from the past 50 years talk about their triumphs and challenges in bringing a story to the big screen.

JACK CARSON
We single out five films that display the talent and range of the Warner Bros. character actor.

AL HIRSCHFELDWe select our ten favorite movie posters by the famed caricaturist.

BILLIE BURKE
Five films that best represent the fluttery voiced character actress’s charms.

DIAMOND SETTINGSWe take a look at five of our favorite baseball movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

BESTSELLERS

A dozen books that became publishing phenomena and, at times, well-made and popular films.


SCREEN TESTSAudition footage from Monroe, Dean, Brando and others.

MOVIE MOMENTS THAT MAKE LIFE WORTH LIVINGOur collection of ten little moments of breathtaking beauty, expert craftsmanship and happy accidents that rank as our favorites.

EDNA MAY OLIVER
A tribute to a character actress who’s made aunts and spinsters her specialty.

STARS ON STARS: 30 CANDID OPINIONSA collection of favorite quotes from movie folk discussing their peers.

CEDRIC GIBBONS
We take a good look at the work of MGM’s legendary art director.

JOHN QUALENFive of our favorite performances from the character actor’s lengthy career.

NOT STARRING DORIS DAY
We select three movie musicals we deeply wish the sunny singer/actress would have made.

MICKEY ROONEY’S BEST
Twelve examples of what made the late actor such an enduring movie star.

PUBLICITY PHOTOS
Ten artful, playful and downright silly shots from some of the most famous movies in existence.

JEFFREY HUNTERWe tip our hat to the underrated (and very pretty) actor best known for going toe-to-toe with John Wayne in The Searchers and hanging on the cross in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings.

ELVIS PRESLEYFive essential films for the Elvis movie fan.

SPRING SPRING SPRING”
We take a closer look and listen at Johnny Mercer’s witty ditty about the coming of the season.

BILL GOLD’S MOVIE POSTERSOur salute to the legendary graphic artist, including 25 of his posters for some of the most famous movies ever made.

BEAUTIFUL MENFilm giants Cary Grant and his ilk will have to wait. Here we look at ten not-so-obvious choices—actors blessed with incredible good looks, if not legendary status.

BEAUTIFUL WOMENTen of the most physically stunning females to grace the silver screen.

FOOTBALLFive classic films where gridiron shenanigans drive the plot. 

THE 43 FACES OF JOHNNY DEPPWe review the wide variety of characters the actor has played, from early teenager roles to larger-than-life eccentrics.

FRED ASTAIREFive lively numbers from the peerless hoofer.

THE ROAD TO HELEN LAWSONJudy Garland, Susan Hayward and the bumpy road Valley of the Dolls producers experienced in casting an important role in a truly lousy film.

 AMERICAN LANDMARKS ON FILM From the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, we take a look at ten famous sights that added drama to the movies.

THE GIRL HUNT BALLETWe revisit the stylish Fred Astaire dream ballet from The Band Wagon (1953).

IOWA FILMS & STARSTen contributions the Hawkeye State has made to motion picture history.

FOX THEATEROur fond look back at one of San Francisco’s grandest movie palaces.

AUTOBIOGRAPHIESTen great titles penned by industry legends.

THE BAND WAGONNanette Fabray recalls a glaring mistake in the 1953 classic musical.

TRIGGERWe celebrate the life and somewhat creepy afterlife of Roy Rogers's favorite mount.

CHARACTERS: AGNES GOOCHPeggy Cass's memorable turn as a plain Jane coaxed into living a little in Auntie Mame (1958).

DESIGNS ON FILMA handsome volume by author and designer Cathy Whitlock chronicles the history of Hollywood set design.

REBECCAFive screen tests for Hitchock’s 1940 classic, with comments by David O. Selznick.

CHARACTERS: BABY ROSALIEIn a daffy send-up of Shirley Temple, June Preisser plays an aging child star in MGM's let's-put-on-a-show musical, Babes in Arms (1939).

PRESTON STURGESSnippets of dialogue from six of the writer/director’s best films.

ANSELMO BALLESTEROur gallery of ten striking one sheets from the Italian poster artist.

GREAT MOVIESCelebrating the cool jazz short, Jammin’ the Blues (1944).

BETTY HUTTONTwelve films that exemplify the charms of this freakishly energetic performer.

JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZSmart dialogue from the Oscar-winning screenwriter.

DESERT NOIROur report from this year’s Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs.

RED DREAM FACTORYWe profile eight films from a unique Russian-German film studio of the twenties and thirties.

« July 10 | Main | July 8 »
Tuesday
Jul092013

The 43 Faces of Johnny Depp

He is mainstream cinema’s chief chameleon, a performer whose characters are often defined by peculiar costumes, outlandish makeup and eccentric natures, yet—to the actor’s credit—infused with a vital understanding of the human condition. On the heels of the release of his 45th motion picture, The Lone Ranger, we thought we’d take a look back at the various parts the actor has taken on, from his early teenager roles to more recent flights of fancy. “I think it's an actor's responsibility to change every time,” said Depp, who recently quipped about his dream role: playing the central character in a Carol Channing biopic. “If you just go out and deliver the same dish every time—‘it's meat loaf again!’—you'd get bored, I'd get bored…With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise it's just not acting. It's lying. I don't pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do.”

Glen Lantz in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
I went to see dailies on Nightmare on Elm Street. I was 21, and didn't know what was going on. It was like looking in a huge mirror. It wasn't how I looked that bothered me, though I did look like a geek in that movie. It was seeing myself up there pretending.

Jack in Private Resort (1985)

Lerner in Platoon (1986)
I went to read for Oliver Stone, and Oliver scared the shit out of me! I read for him and he said, "OK, I need you for ten weeks in the jungle." It was a great experience.

Cry-Baby in Cry-Baby (1990)

Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I loved playing Edward Scissorhands because there's nothing cynical, jaded or impure about him. It's almost a letdown to look in the mirror and realize I'm not Edward. I can remember when I finished Edward Scissorhands, looking in the mirror as the girl was doing my make-up for the last time and thinking—it was like the 90th or 89th day of shooting—and I remember looking and going, "Wow, this is it. I'm saying goodbye to this guy, I'm saying goodbye to Edward Scissorhands." You know, it was kind of sad. But in fact, I think they're all still somehow in there.

Oprah Noodlemantra in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

Axel Blackmar in Arizona Dream (1992)

Sam in Benny & Joon (1993)

Gilbert Grape in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Ed Wood in Ed Wood (1994)
Like [Ed Wood] I also grew up feeling like an obtuse piece of machinery. It was the same feeling I had about Edward Scissorhands.

Don Juan in Don Juan DeMarco (1994)

William Blake in Dead Man (1995)

Gene Watson in Nick of Time (1995)

Joe Pistone / Donnie Brasco in Donnie Brasco (1997)

Raphael in The Brave (1997)
You know what was traumatizing, what was very, very strange in terms of this film I directed…The Brave. Well, I guess I wouldn't say traumatizing, but I would say weird: at the premiere of the film the reception of it was beyond any expectation that I had. I had no idea I'd be looking at [Bernardo Bertolucci] or [Michelangelo Antonioni] sitting there watching my film. And then to receive the applause that my film got, it was so incredible. And then the next day the majority of the American press just turn it into this horrible thing. Once again, everybody is entitled to their opinion, man. Maybe it's a bad film? Maybe it's a good film? To me it's just a film. It's something I needed to make.

Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The beauty with Hunter [S. Thompson, author of and central character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas] was that there was a very profound element of trust between us. The one side that sticks out to me about [him] is the side that not a lot of people recognized or had the opportunity to see, which was that he was a southern gentleman.

Dean Corso in The Ninth Gate (1999)

Commander Spencer Armacost in The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Cesar in The Man Who Cried (2000)

Lieutenant Victor / Bon Bon in Before Night Falls (2000)

Roux in Chocolat (2000)

George Jung in Blow (2001)

Inspector Frederick Abberline in From Hell (2001)

Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
It was mentioned that they were considering a movie based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and I said I was in. There was no screenplay, no director, nothing. For some unknown reason, I just said I was in.

Sands in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

Mort Rainey in Secret Window (2004)

L’inconnu in …And They Lived Happily Ever After (2004)

Sir James Matthew Barrie in Finding Neverland (2004)

Rochester in The Libertine (2004)

Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
We had been shooting for about a month, and I was beginning to get nervous because there weren't any phone calls. I called my agent and asked, "Has no one called from the studio to complain or say, 'Hey, what's he doing?' or 'Hey, he's freaking us out?'" And when she said "No" I thought, "Christ, I'm not doing enough! Something's wrong!" Then some of the studio brass came over to the set, and they were sitting in my trailer and I was all decked out as Wonka with the little bangs. And I just had to know. So I said, "Okay, who was the first one, when you started seeing the dailies, that got a little worried?" And there was this beautiful 30-second silence. And [Warner Bros. president] Alan Horn finally said, "Yeah, that was me.” I felt better instantly.

Victor Van Dort in Corpse Bride (2005)

Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Captain Jack Sparrow is like a cross between Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pew…There was a great book I read…What was it called? Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition. A very interesting book. I wasn't exactly going for that with the character. And Keith is not flamboyant in his actions. Keith is pretty stealth. But with Jack, it was more that I liked the idea of being ambiguous, of taking this character and making everything a little bit…questionable. Because women were thought to be bad luck on ships. And these pirates would go out for years at a time. So, you know, there is a possibility that one thing might lead to another.

Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
Awards are not as important to me as when I meet a ten-year-old kid who says, "I love Captain Jack Sparrow"…that's real magic for me.

Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
The one [song] that was probably the most challenging was "Johanna"... and as far as I was concerned, when Stephen Sondheim writes the note and it has to be held for this many beats, you do it….You can't cheat. You can't whisper. You can't do the William Shatner thing. You just gotta belt it out. So I really beat myself up, making sure I could hold those notes. In "Johanna," some are, like, twelve beats. That was a bugger. At one point, I was very close to passing out—I got dizzy and saw black. But that's what Sondheim wrote, so that's what you do.

Imaginarium Tony 1 in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Frank Tupelo in The Tourist (2010)

Rango in Rango (2011)

Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
With a character like Captain Jack, you just feel you could continue. The possibilities are endless, limitless. There's any possibility of madness and absurdity that could commence. With this character you feel that you're never really done.

Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street (2012)

Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows (2012)
We decided a vampire should look like a vampire. It was our rebellion against vampires who look like underwear models. So, yeah, there was a bit of Nosferatu.

Tonto in The Lone Ranger (2013)

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