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From Hell

Johnny Depp & Heather Graham in From Hell

October 19, 2001

STARS: Johnny Depp
Heather Graham • Ian Holm
DIRECTORS: The Hughes Brothers
(Albert and Allen Hughes)

Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, From Hell chronicles the events that took place in London in 1888, when Jack the Ripper, through his series of heinous and grisly murders of local prostitutes, was elevated through the pulp press to celebrity status.

Bringing this infamous British tale to the screen are Allen and Albert Hughes - African American twin brothers whose first two movies, Menace II Society and Dead Presidents spotlighted the woes of American contemporary inner-city life.

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"(From Hell) is a ghetto story. It concerns poverty, violence and corruption, which are the themes we deal with in our movies because they fascinate us. These particular characters happen to be white, but all poor people have the same problems."
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Depp as Inspector AbberlineJOHNNY DEPP (Inspector Fred Abberline):
"I stumbled on a broadcast of a documentary about Jack the Ripper on public television when I was about eight years old. From there I just sponged up as much information on the case as I could over the years. I was familiar with the graphic novel. I knew that it had been released in parts, like Charles Dickens' work was. When I got a hold of the novel as a whole, I was so impressed to see the amount of research that was done and the attention to detail - it was like watching someone solve an incredibly elaborate math problem. It was beautifully executed."
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"The victims of Jack the Ripper had never been humanized. We wanted to give them life. They weren't just casualties. They were human beings."
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HEATHER GRAHAM (Mary Kelly - a prostitute stalked by the Ripper):
"My character and her friends live on the edge of starvation in this horrible slum. Each day is a struggle. Having a place to sleep is a luxury. The only thing that sustains Mary is her dream of returning to Ireland, where she lived as a young girl."
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"Mary Kelly views Abberline as just another guy who wants to use her. His decency and sincerity eventually break down her defenses and she begins to trust him."
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"There's a scene in the film where Johnny takes me out to eat, and on that day I said, 'I don't want to seem like some actor pretending to eat who's not really eating,' so I ate and ate, shoving it in. I went home and thought, 'That was really good,' and I threw up immediately."
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JOHNNY DEPP on Abberline's drug addiction:
"I thought we could take Abberline and multiply his demons. Something that I find interesting in regards to police officers is there have been a great number of documented cases where police officers will admit to battling alcoholism, and even prescription and non-prescription drugs, just because of the nature of their work and having to be out there in the world, and the streets, doing what they have to do. I thought it might be interesting to give Abberline that within the context of Victorian London, with what would have been available back then, and that was opium."
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Text by Judy Sloane. More here: PAGE 2Back to top
Read the full six-page feature in the December 2001 Starburst (#280)

Visit the official site for From Hell • All images above © Twentieth Century Fox • Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction

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