Johnny Depp: Press Conference
1. John Dillinger is an American folk hero, how was it playing this outlaw who is virtually synonymous with the gun slinging era of the American past?
When I was nine or ten years old I had a fascination with Dillinger, I don’t know why, it probably wasn’t a healthy one, I did. I think it was something about the twinkle in his eye, something mischievous about him that intrigued me.
In terms of aking on the role, the idea that he was called ‘pulic enemy number one’ but if you really think about it, was never an enemy of the public, never! That I found intriguing and challenging.
2. What was it that intrigues the public to characters like this and he got to see ‘Manhattan Melodrama’ as his last film, if you had to see a last film what would it be?
If I had to see a last film it would be ‘Withnail & I’ without question.
I think the fascination with a characters like Dillinger, reminds us of how we were in the 30’s, which is not unlike where we are now; the banks are sort of the enemies, and they were taking the knees out from everyone. Displacement was a kind way of putting it, and there’s John Dillinger who arrives as this person who had served ten years in prison for a youthful, ignorant, drunken crime, he arrives in the arena to stand up against these people. So I think for me, what’s fascinating is the guy who says ‘I’m not gonna take it, I don’t care who you are I’m not gonna take it’.
3. First Sweeney Todd and now this, it seems you wanted to crowbar in some singing, is that something you wish to continue with?
No, I had to sing in Sweeney Todd because I had no choice, in this one I remember singing a little, I think it’s better for people to stay in their own little arena.
4. What research did you do for the film, did you look at other films to get a flavour of it?
I certainly had a strong memory of Warren Oates John Dillinger in the John Milius film, I haven’t seen it in years, but I do remember it as having a certain palette that was limited and I thought there were more colours to be offered. If you think about the information to come out and Dillingers own words, so there’s more to the story and more of a dimension to it and that’s what I was hoping for, to add some of that.
5. How did you get on with Stephen Graham, our British rising star?
We hated each other and we fought constantly, no! I think he’s magnificent Stephen Graham, he’s one of my favourite actors of all time, I think what he did in ‘This is England’ absolutely destroyed me. That film of Shane Meadows brought me to my knees. Stephen Graham and I, he’s someone I’ll fight to get into my films.
6. You mentioned that you’ve not seen the film, and you took a double take on the poster as you walked in, do you find it hard getting you’re head around it now that you are this massive star?
If I can avoid looking in the mirror when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning, I will. I find security and safety in the most profound degree of ignorance, if you can stay ignorant to just about everything, I think you’ll be OK. It’s OK to notice things, and look at things, but to judge things will bog you down. I don’t like to watch myself in a film because I don’t like to be aware of the product, I like the process.
I went through twenty years of basically what the industry regards as failures, so for twenty years I was barked off as poison, and that little film called Pirates of the Caribbean came along and I thought it would be fun to play a pirate for my kiddies, I created the character as I created all the others and nearly got fired but thank god I didn’t because it changed my life. I’m thankful that that change happened, but I didn’t go out of my way to make it happen.