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Johnny Depp is a sex symbol.
Frankness is necessary because this simple fact colors everything that Johnny Depp does. If he’s in a movie, he has a number of fans that are guaranteed to see it – fact of life.
And that’s fine. Every person in a movie theater (or at a live theater) doesn’t need to understand the craft of acting and all of the challenges that come with it. Although, if everyone did, there would be no Jersey Shore, and that is a tempting prospect. But I digress.
But what makes Johnny Depp truly great is not his sex appeal (it helps, but he doesn’t need it).
That man can create characters that bear no resemblance to one another – think the fun-loving and often-drunk Jack Sparrow versus the brooding, dark Sweeny Todd. While he almost always specializes in characters who are off the wall, in The Tourist he showed us Frank Tupelo who deceives us all with his portrayal of the ordinary. If that spoiled something, sorry, but you’ve had plenty of time to see the movie.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Depp talks about how he keeps each of his characters with him because of how deeply they impact him. This is a fascinating and almost dangerous notion. In our modern society, think of all the identity crises we struggle through – sexuality, politics, where you come from and what it means, body image – and then multiply it by the 57 roles credited to him on IMDb. While he probably doesn’t carry every single one of them with him, he has still had many multifaceted, complex characters.
Another thing that makes him, well, awesome? He stays under the radar regarding the paparazzi. He doesn’t need to do stupid things in front of a camera to be recognized as one of the greatest actors of our time – in fact, if he did, the point would probably be moot.
Also, he does what he wants. He wears what he wants, says what he wants and makes whatever gestures he wants because he is secure enough in his identity (or, rather, identities) to do so. And when he does, it doesn’t include anti-anyone statements or mentions of “winning.” He’s just a cool, smart guy.
The man has real talent and personality, which sometimes feels like a rare combination in Hollywood. He doesn’t have to start Twitter feuds or go to rehab (or, if he does then he keeps it to himself, I guess) to ensure that he will continue to be in the public eye because he’s just that good.
And that’s what makes Johnny Depp totally brilliant. And sexy.
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