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Feature: Johnny Depp

Hidden Depp

Depp as Willy Wonka The France-based Hollywood star discusses his career and attitude to fame as his latest Tim Burton collaboration arrives…

There’s a saying that if a particularly vain person was made of chocolate then they’d eat themselves. It’s an accusation that might easily be made about quite a few of the not so shrinking violets that grace the silver screen. But not, you suspect, of Johnny Depp.

While many movie goers – both male and female – might drool at the mere thought of this boyishly handsome star, 40-year-old Depp has steadfastly refused to be sucked into the celebrity machine.

The actor has always done things his way, even when it’s come down to picking a place to put down roots. Rather than playing the Hollywood game and basing himself in the city that regards itself as the hub of the movie world, Depp has set up home in France. When he returned, briefly, to Hollywood for the launch of Pirates of the Caribbean, he explained why the decision to be based far from Los Angeles made the utmost sense to him.

“I don’t think, especially with two kids, that I could really live here in Los Angeles again. Those days are done. It’s like Disneyland, it’s really cool to visit for a certain amount of time, then it’s really cool to get out. For whatever reasons, France is the first place in my life that I ever was able say... I am home,” explains the star who originally hails from Owensboro, Kentucky.

The global star status of the man who was born John Christopher Depp III means, of course, that he can still be mobbed by adoring fans in France. “It all depends on where you go. Luckily I’ve always been slightly reclusive, even as a teenager,” he said about coping with stardom. “When you go to a tiny little French village, or a flea market a couple of villages away, you are talking with beautiful old world people. Maybe their grandchildren will say that looked like Johnny Depp or that really looked like Vanessa Paradis [Depp’s singer partner]. But no, it’s fine.”

Such a sense of contentment explains why his self-imposed exile suits Depp fine. Simply put, he is delighted to enjoy a typically Gallic lifestyle with his partner Vanessa Paradis and their two young children. When he isn’t working he manages to chill out with a nice glass of wine, some cheese and bread. “Simple stuff, that’s really what living in France has afforded me,” he explained. “Simplicity, which really wasn’t available before out here in Los Angeles. There is no simplicity out here, everyone is in the business. The benefit of my children growing up in Europe, because we have spent months in London as well as living in France, is the old, solid culture. It’s not like American culture which in a lot of ways is like a young puppy... a little bit dumb, a little bit cute.”

by John Miller

Get the full interview in
Film Review (Jul)

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Jul), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jul)
#659, July 2005
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