Shallow Depp

When you’re as good looking as Johnny Depp, it’s easy to let yourself devolve over time. Depp rose to Hollywood prominence at an early age, with his first major role at 21 in the 1984 horror classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Although he dropped out of high school with the intention of becoming a musician–which is what led him to Los Angeles–his path was steered toward acting by, of all people, Nicolas Cage, who Depp was introduced by his first wife, a makeup artist.

80s style
80s style
Depp soon divorced his first wife and found a better starter girlfriend for his new career path, Sherilyn Fenn. His acting and looks continued to garner notice with 1987’s 21 Jump Street. The one-two punch of releasing John Waters’ Cry-Baby and Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands in 1990 sealed Depp’s fame–albeit for the quirky and camp.
John Waters' cult classic
John Waters’ cult classic
Edward Scissorhands set the stage for Burton and Depp’s continued collaboration, most notably on the acclaimed 1994 film, Ed Wood, which tells the story of Hollywood’s most panned director. His films continued to generate box office draw, especially alongside other major players like Marlon Brando (Don Juan DeMarco) and Al Pacino (Donnie Brasco).
With Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco
With Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco
With the advent of the 00s came Depp’s transition to franchise star, including projects like Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango and Alice in Wonderland. At first, it was nice to see Depp get the credit he deserved after starring primarily in indie movies throughout the 90s. But after awhile (mainly seeing him dance at the end of Alice in Wonderland), his presence and film choices appeared more related to vanity and unwitting self-parody than anything else. Plus, I get that Amber Heard is “hot” (as Janis Ian would write), but how could you give up Vanessa Paradis–or Winona, for that matter? Just another sign of the devolution.