The Films of Johnny Depp


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About the Book

Since his rise to fame in the television series 21 Jump Street in 1987 and his subsequent transition to film acting, Johnny Depp has received constant criticism for his choice of roles—at least until his popular turn in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. This book aims to reveal the ways in which Depp’s choices of film roles, though often considered eccentric, allowed him to develop into the representative film actor of his time. It organizes all of Depp’s films chronologically, narrating in the process his transition from underestimated teenage pretty boy to bona fide Hollywood hotshot. Along the way, the book addresses Depp’s relationship to earlier film actors, especially to Marlon Brando and the silent comics; the influence of Depp’s androgynous sexuality on both his choice of roles and his acting; and his relationships with directors Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton.

About the Author(s)

The late William B. Parrill was an emeritus professor of English and communication at Southeastern Louisiana University. He was a founding editor of the journal Louisiana Literature and wrote extensively on films and contemporary literature.

Bibliographic Details

William B. Parrill

Format: hardcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4022-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0534-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street Baby Face      15
1985 Private Resort Horny Crunchies Winner      17
1985 Lady Blue, “Birds of Prey,” TV Episode      18
1986 Platoon Learning the Craft      19
1986 Slow Burn Film Noir Lite      21
1987–1990 21 Jump Street: Teenage Heartthrob      22
1989 Cry-Baby The Rebel      42
1990 Edward Scissorhands Cutting Edge Drama      45
1991 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare Opra Noodlemantra      50
1991 Into the Great Wide Open A Music Video      51
1992 Arizona Dream A Foreigner’s Dream      51
1993 Benny & Joon The Silent Clown      55
1993 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape The Caregiver      57
1994 Ed Wood “The Worst Director of all Time”      61
1995 Don Juan DeMarco The Great Lover      64
1995 Dead Man The Voyage of Life of a Stupid White Man      68
1995 Nick of Time Barely      76
1996 The Brave “One Hour of Anything”      78
1996 Cannes Man Cameo Man      83
1997 Donnie Brasco The Gangster Lover      84
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Gonzo Journalism      89
1998 LA Without a Map The Ghost of Johnny Depp      99
1999 The Source Kerouac and Company      100
1999 The Astronaut’s Wife Inside Man      101
1999 Sleepy Hollow Heads Will Roll      103
2000 The Ninth Gate Rare Book Man      106
2000 Chocolat Rowing in Eden      114
2000 The Man Who Cried Romance on Horseback      117
2000 Before Night Falls Bon Bon and Victor      120
2001 Blow The Entrepreneur      124
2001 From Hell Pipe Dreams      127
2003 Once Upon a Time in Mexico The Man with Three Arms 131
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl The Pirate King      134
2003 Lost in La Mancha The Great Storm      141
2004 Finding Neverland The Boys of Summer      144
2004 Secret Window Again the Double      150
2004 The Libertine Rake Rochester      153
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Dracula on the Verge of a Sex Change      160
2005 Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride Migratory Body Parts      164
2006 Happily Ever After Elevator Ride      166
2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest The Return of the King      167
2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Straining Credulity      169
2007 Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street      173
2009 Public Enemies Number One      182

Filmography      187
Bibliography      199
Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Deserves ongoing recommendation…definitive…a powerful tribute”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Informative and entertaining for both film scholars and enthusiasts”—ARBA
  • “Parrill’s prose is witty and frankly fun to read. He writes in a style that is accessible to all film fans interested in Depp but includes enough analysis to satisfy the scholar. His discussions of Depp’s films are incisive, and the author uses his extensive historical film knowledge to analyze the actor’s performances. Parrill has produced the definitive discussion of Johnnny Depp’s work to 2009”—Journal of Popular Culture