Johnny Depp: Anatomy of a Fallen Movie Star

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Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

In a 2005 episode of “Entourage” a super-agent played by Malcolm McDowell tells Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold that his eight-year-old daughter knew that Johnny Depp was going to be a star when she watched “Platoon.”

“You showed her ‘Platoon’ when she was eight years old?” the hyper-caffinated Gold asks incredulously.

The joke may be about bad parenting, but the reality is that Depp was marked for stardom by Hollywood almost from the time he first turned heads in the Vietnam drama. After a brief detour into teen heartthrob-dom with the TV show “21 Jump Street,” Depp began justifying that initial enthusiasm, amassing well received turns in the likes of “Ed Wood” and “Edward Scissorhands.”

The movie industry was so convinced that the actor possessed that rare alchemy of talent and charisma that marks a true star, that it stuck by Depp for over a decade until he found his box office footing. Finally, with 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Depp made good on that faith, scoring a global blockbuster and earning an Oscar nomination to boot.

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He quickly rose to the top of the A-list. His friendships with Hunter S. Thompson and Marlon Brando, fascination with pop culture flotsam and penchant for fedoras marked him as the most fascinating of the movie business’ biggest names. Stardom seemed a lark for him; a grand caper he couldn’t quite believe he pulled off.

Along with hits like “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” he offered glossy magazines good copy. He owned a country estate in France, an island in the Bahamas and dug Baudelaire — a trifecta guaranteed to leave Graydon Carter inflamed.

But with this failure of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” this weekend and a tabloid-ready divorce from Amber Heard dominating airwaves, moviegoers may be growing tired of the actor. As Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro notes, 35% of people cited Depp as the major reason for seeing “Through the Looking Glass.” Five years ago, 51% of moviegoers said the star was the reason they saw its predecessor,  “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s a signal that Depp’s reign, which lasted for much of the early aughts, could be nearing its end.

There have been flops aplenty. “Transcendence” and “Mortdecai” didn’t just bomb, they were excoriated by critics. “Lone Ranger,” a $225 million disaster that allowed Depp to fulfill a childhood fantasy of wearing a dead bird on his head, ranks alongside “Ishtar” and “Heaven’s Gate” as one of the film industry’s biggest disasters. And “Black Mass,” with Depp’s chameleonic turn as Whitey Bulger, reminded audiences of his shape-shifting talent, but cost too much and made too little. Plus, Depp’s lack of campaigning for awards contributed to a snub at Oscar time.

“Into the Woods” was a hit, but Depp’s work as the Wolf barely registered as a cameo, and wasn’t heavily emphasized in marketing materials. Aside from that it’s been a stream of duds and disappointments.

More damaging than the grosses, is that what made Depp so memorable and arresting — his rock star outfits, affected voice and scenery chewing performances — now feels tired. Depp still has the ability to break the internet. Witness the media furor over his legal headaches for sneaking his dogs into Australia. However, when it came to his bizarre, hostage-like video apology for violating the country’s laws, people were laughing at Depp and not with him.

His divorce from Heard could further erode his standing. The actress is claiming Depp physically abused her and was dependent on drugs and alcohol. Photos showing Heard’s bruised face have already appeared online.  In the case of “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” which was pitched at female audiences, the images may have depressed turnout.

Attorneys for the actor counter that the allegations have no merit and are an attempt to “secure a premature financial resolution.”  Yet, in the social media age, when stars’ personal lives and careers collapse on each other, scandals can do lasting damage to reputations. Stardom is always ephemeral. Many actors are lucky to spend a decade topping casting lists. Now, the immediacy of Twitter and Facebook is acting as a double-edged sword. It magnifies an actor’s virtues, propelling them into the popular consciousness, but if they stumble, the blowback is savage and unrelenting.

Like his idol, Brando, Depp could rebound. In the early ’70s, Brando was so out of favor that he had to submit to a screen test to win the part of Don Corleone. That led to an Oscar for “The Godfather” and another nomination for “Last Tango in Paris”; two films that cemented his legacy.

“Depp is a fantastic actor, thus will always have a draw with the right project,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “He needs to do what he always does…another pirate adventure and another team-up with his creative twin, Tim Burton.”

Looking ahead, Depp is following part of that advice to the letter. He will return for a fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” and has signed on for a remake of “Invisible Man,” both of which could score commercially.

Depp will also have to prove that he still has what it takes to astound audiences — not because of his off-screen antics or bizarre costume choices, but with the intensity of his talent. That won’t be satisfied with another stint as Capt. Jack Sparrow. It may require facing the camera without the crutch of a gonzo hair style or an ocean of mascara.

“Audiences want to see the ‘Donnie Brasco’ Johnny Depp or the ‘Blow’ Johnny Depp,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “They want him to play a real character again.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the actor playing the super agent in “Entourage.”

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  1. Linda Williams says:

    I love Johnny Depp. He has a charismatic appeal and does nd a new fresh character to hi light his talents. What a gorgeous person to allow to go to waste

  2. N Nolan says:

    He’s awful and has been for years. The last good thing he did was Gilbert Grape and Leonardo DiCaprio stole the film away from him. I enjoyed Edward Scissorhands but enough already with the Burton crap. He also looks like Scissorhands in 80% of his movies. Such a one trick pony. Probably the most overrated actor in my lifetime.

  3. V says:

    You gotta love how Hollywood builds up their chosen stars over years and years, yet has no qualms about trying to viciously tear them down when they begin to amass too much power and influence over the studio system. It happened with Marlon Brando, it’s been happening with Tom Cruise (and no matter how hard they’ve tried to ruin Cruise, he’s doing better than ever and has more than enough influence to go head-to-head with studio heavyweights), and now it’s happening to Johny Depp.

    The only thing Johnny Depp is guilty of is bad taste and judgment in marrying Amber Heard.

    Variety and the author of this pathetic attempt at character assassination should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. flipper says:

    I can imagine Johnny Depp laughing at this article, as did I. Some of my favorite movies are Ishtar (I know JD is not in that one), Mortdecai, The Tourist, as well as The Pirates series and many many more.

    He is a chameleon, a great actor for our time. He cares more about what interests him than in winning awards, from what I’ve read. I love that he creatively thinks of things that would add interest and humor to his roles. I think every man would look better with bit of eye-liner.

    It also appears the author missed the fact that the dog apology video was a satire. And a good one at that.

    I’m assuming the facts will eventually surface about this latest plot twist in his life, but no judgements until then.

  5. Jana says:

    Lets look at the facts:

    Amber was in a domestic partnership with a woman and changed her last name but told everyone to keep it secret… Not very honest.

    She stars with Johnny Depp in the Rum Dairies and attracts his interest.

    She manages to snag him without a prenup on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. He was not thinking clearly and she is 22 years his junior.

    She moves her besties in his property and he humors her. He gives her marriage without a prenup.

    They say almost instantly the marriage went south and she was hanging around her lesbian friends. Ring on the finger and the marriage license why try on her part if you have hooked him.

    In photos, he looks more like her handbag that the man she is desperate in love with… Very fake.

    He started looking bad after he married her.. No domestic bliss for him.

    Her lesbian pal calls police. They come and find no evidence of a crime.

    The next day she is out with her friends and a photo is snapped but then jerked off the internet as soon as she claims abuse by one of her girlies.

    She comes to court with a red mark that apparently law enforcement did not see claiming he hit her with a phone, pulled her hair and slapped her around. I have seen abused women and that looked fake.

    Next she and her so called bestie and her are leaving her attorneys office and she is laughing like crazy and looking like the cat that ate the canary. (Money)

    She files a restraining order knowing he is out of the country. She then wants a restraining order for her doggie… Drama queen much???

    She is not a great actress and relying on her looks and a big payday on this divorce could equal more than her career could ever pay her. If she made 400 thousand a year verses say 20 million… It would take her 40+ years to make that.
    Her looks and talent will not garner her that much.

    He has had a number of relationships and has always admitted to drinking. None of his EXs have ever accused him of something like this.

    Her lawyers came out today and said it was not about the money. I laughed my butt off over that statement. Sure, she went after his home, his car, her lawyer fees and 50,000 in spousal support right off the bat. 2015 was a good year from him and she will get 15 to 20 million off that since CA is a 50/50 state.

    She saw a wealthy aging A lister and hooked him. She is taking him on a ride for his money.

    After she gets her big payday, I bet she hooks up with another woman (I really do not believe she is into men but is posing). She will someday in the future take another stab at Johnny and say that her horrible relationship with him made her realize that she could only be with women now. (When it was how she felt all along)

    She played him and now she is playing the world. She is acting for the biggest payday of her life.

    • NW says:

      Your list is full of opinions, not facts. Yes no other exs have come forward saying he hit them or anything but everyone is capable of lying if you’re going to accuse Amber of it. Also as a grown man old enough to be her father, he should be wiser than her and I’m sure he has a better legal team than her who should’ve advised a prenup- a 60 year old man should know better. Everything now is his own pathetic fault.

      Vanessa made over 150 million dollars off their split (100m pounds, google it for yourself) plus homes among other things. Everyone gets money from the more wealthy party during a split from a legal or longterm relationship. That’s just the law. And he still owns an island, numerous homes and cars- so even giving Amber one would not leave him without! Lol

      He’s obvioulsy a lifelong addict- news about his drug fueled bad or violent behavior has been around for decades, just google it. And he is very impulsive- he was engaged to almost every girlfriend he ever had.

      Besides, the fact that the judge believed Amber is all that matters anyway. Her evidence speaks louder than everyone else’s word.

  6. denise lafey says:

    This is crap. He’s doing just fine and will continue regardless of what Variety thinks.

  7. Joey B says:

    He’s boring and has been boring actor with no range. It’s the same silly accent with the winking of the eyes and stupid mustaches … no range at all and has been overrated for a long long time.

  8. SMEAR RTH says:

    Depp needs a role in the MCU. He can play Moonknight or something. Look what Marvel did for RDJ.

    And in between Marvel appearances he can pursue Donnie Brasco/Blow type roles.

  9. Bansi says:

    “Audiences want to see the ‘Donnie Brasco’ Johnny Depp or the ‘Blow’ Johnny Depp,”
    -Paul Dergarabedian”

    Uhh, those two movies made 41 mil & 52 mil respectively, audiences didn’t even want to see that Johnny Depp back then. And as of late, even his magic with Tim Burton has seem to run a little dry creatively and positively lethal at the box office. No, i’m sorry to say, that at some point-even brilliant careers end. And if your asking me to invest in a Johnny Depp movie, he better be playing a pirate.

  10. Zima says:

    Depp is certainly not the artist he used to be and seems more intent on jumping from one over-costumed caricature to the next, but his flop movies seem based more on absolutely terrible choices than lack of star power…. until recently that is, where he’s started to seem incredibly tired and washed up.
    I’m still unconvinced that so-called “star power” makes much difference at the box office, certainly not in the numbers we’re talking to make a hit. If star power could always be relied on, movies like X-Men would perform consistently, but Apocalypse is significantly under-performing it’s predecessors this weekend. The Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper movie, Serena, flopped spectacularly with 3.9mill box office on a 30mill budget just 2 years ago and these are people considered “bankable stars”.

    Sometimes star power can help if people are interested in seeing actors within their beloved wheelhouse. For example, I seriously doubt Huntsman would have flopped if it were a great action or thriller staring Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain, because that’s where their box office audience interest lies. Similarly, a lame romantic comedy staring Leonardo DiCaprio or Matt Damon would also probably flop.
    So it could be that people are tired of Depp and his weird costumes, because they are very one trick and increasingly off-putting, and he hasn’t worked to establish himself in any other genres. But the first Alice did not make a billion dollars because of Depp. A combination of audience fatigue with overly cgi movies, 3D, boredom with Depp’s silly costume routine, and YA fairytale movies in general all probably contributed.

  11. Parlov says:

    Great article. Pity about Depp; he has become a self mockery. Terrible movies; silly off screen behaviour; terrible decision to marry that hussey. All that money and fame have ruined him.

  12. twilla says:

    What he needs to do is STOP making pirate movies and working with Burton. He needs a good dramatic role, something to show us that he can still act without mugging and silly voices.

  13. Rachael says:

    Who ever wrote this I’d delusional. Johnny Depp has not fallen. I love Johnny Depp and he is still a talented actor. I could care less about the rantings of the Dispicable young woman who ruined his marriage and is trying to degrade his reputation for financial gain. No doubt he deserves what he is going through as he turned his back on his family out of lust for some bimbo, but it does not diminish his talent as an actor. I still love him and hope he learned some valuable lessons from this experience.

    • Zima says:

      Wow, you’re clearly a Depp super-fan and it’s blinded you. Look at how appallingly you’re talking about a young woman that has done nothing wrong, laying the blame entirely at her feet instead of 10+ years her senior Depp and aiming the gendered slurs at her. Amber Heard is hardly a “bimbo”, she’s proven herself to be quite a smart and well spoken young women. She’s certainly better spoken than Depp at this current point in time, who can barely string a sentence together.
      She has a video of him abusing her and the court is taking her evidence seriously enough to grant her a restraining order and pressing forward swiftly with divorce proceedings.

  14. jonnyrp says:

    So, do people expect to see only PG and PG13 movies like Pirates? They sell tons of stuff for kids based on that franchise. Of course there are flops, but films like Black mass aren’t quite your feel good family film that you bring your kids to see. And other than the tabloids that made him bigger than nature like they do with many actors/singers and other artists, Depp as always remained pretty private.

    Ok, his last projects did not make money. But his turn on the Indie circus was awesome, especially with films like Dead Man. That’s an old one but a work of art none the less imo. With even indie films being in a crisis these days, you expect the commercial films to hit every time but a miss is bound to happen. I used to be a moviegoer but lots of stars (A-B-C lists) disappeared from the face of the commercial theaters and are replaced by robots and other CG characters. Actors are known to be paid enormous amount of money, yet they earn 20 million on a budget of 200 million nowadays when they’re the star. The special effects and machines are the real expensive stars. That’s quite tiresome.

    A lot of emphasis was put on the eighties and their reboots-remakes? Bring back the ninethies and its stars if you want them to be stars that’s as simple as that. Todays actors are screwed commercially anyway if they don’t have a franchise like Pirates, Hunger Games and Twilight. Once it dies, the star is bound to disappear.

  15. Eric Hunter says:

    BTW, WTF is Brent Lang? is your Brent Lang swollen? Have you got a Brent Lang?

  16. Eric Hunter says:

    Stupid Article, Johnny Depp Rocks!

  17. I Still Like Johnny Depp Even Though Many People Have Grown Tired Of Him says:

    He’s always annoying when he tries to do quirky characters like Wonka. It’s a pirate’s life for him! Sorry…

  18. Avenger07 says:

    But why “Fallen movie star”?, why is the media immediately believing everything amber heard says happened?

  19. Derek117 says:

    I think this article completely misses the point: it’s questionable “if” Johnny Depp has talent beyond playing Captain Jack Sparrow! I wasn’t impressed with “Black Mass” which was his only “adult” role in memory. For the record, acting is what Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys do every Wednesday night on “The Americans.” It’s what Viola Davis does on “How to Get Away with Murder”. It’s what Claire Danes does on “Homeland.” In short, acting is what Johnny Depp hasn’t even attempted to do beginning with Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands.

  20. Mark L Robyn says:

    I still love Johnny. I watched Alice in the Looking Glass, and still found Johnny to be as enchanting to watch as always. I loved Mordecai, personally, and was hoping he’d make a sequel. As for his personal life, I’m sorry for his problems, and hope he gets back on track. In our new world, stars are held up to an ever more powerful microscope, and no one can be perfect. I personally hope Johnny continues to make movies, because I’ll keep watching them.

  21. wishinwell says:

    Haven’t watched Depp film since Donnie Brasco, his characters and films are too strange, weird for my taste

  22. Marie says:

    Geez Variety, can you at least wait until the judge makes his/her decision on the case before you declare his career is over. What is with the mob mentality when stuff like this occurs.

  23. Allie B. says:

    The PR machine is heavily at work in the comment section. It is amazing to see how easily a woman’s claims of domestic violence can be dismissed. This is always the case in rape or assault even though statistics show that only a VERY small number of accusations are falsified. Hollywood sure does love their women beaters, rapists and pedophiles. The man is not well. He is clearly an alcoholic and drug addict. How can someone defend a man they do not know On an intimate level.

    Imagine if someone were a fly on the wall in your worst relationship. That is the only way their friends, family or fans would believe they were capable of bad behavior.

    • C.C. says:

      How can you accuse a man you do not know On an intimate level? You are are as guilty.

      • Allie B. says:

        My point is that he clearly has problems and people are acting like he’s a damn Saint because he made a movie they like. Men hit women all the time. How is this shocking? I don’t have to suspend reality much to believe this considering there is a photograph of her bruised face. She will now become persona non grata just for speaking out. I would understand people saying they will reserve judgement yet the comment sections have been overwhelmingly filled with attacks on her.

    • Marie says:

      How about everyone shut up. No one knows if she is telling the truth except her.

      • If he is guilty for hit Amber I´ll never seen a movie of him, but even the cops said that on saturday night (the day when he “did” that to Amber), they don’t see any evidence of violence and she was on a party on sunday, a friend of her post a picture in instagram and no signal of violence. I think Amber is doing the best percormance of her career

  24. Tom says:

    “But with this failure of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” this weekend…”

    Alice Through the Looking Glass is the #1 film in every single country in the world except America.
    And when the LAPD investigated the abuse claims they found no evidence to back up Heard’s version of events. If Depp really had busted up an entire condo then there’d be evidence. Anyone can claim anything but decisions of guilt or innocence should be based on evidence.

    • Martha says:

      Sadly, America loves trial by tabloid trash these days. The truth doesn’t sell and the country’s insatiable love of prurient garbage has made the rush to judgment a joke. Then the media, like Variety, piles it on. They have tweeted this same story about 50 times over the Weekend.

  25. Amanda C says:

    Are you F*cking kidding me? Variety what are you stooping to? A completely an totally nauseating CHARACTER ASSASSINATION and nothing else. This is a bully piece. The writer wants to carry on a trial by Twitter and attempt a killing here? How many magazines have you sold using this man’s name?
    I hope he never grants you an interview again after this salacious piece of crap you have published. LAPD found no crime was committed. Had there been one scratch on that girl’s face they would have filed charges against Depp without hesitation. This article should be entitled “The Anatomy of a Smarmy Tabloid Rag Called Variety”. You’re disgusting and I hope this writer gets a comeuppance from publicists who will refuse him any action in the future. Vile childish BS.

    • Michelle says:

      Amanda C- I agree with you 100%. Please see their recent article where Johnny Depp sails their reporter to his island. Nice huh?

      To everyone else- As someone who has worked with hundreds of women who are real victims of domestic violence I can tell you that no matter how poor they are, the last thing they are thinking about when they leave is trying to get money from their abuser. They are worried about surviving, even if that means going to a homeless shelter, losing their life-long home, or landing several states away from the abuse. I believe strongly that if everything Amber Heard said was true, and she truly feared violence, or feared for her life, a movie star in her own right would not be seeking so much immediate support. If he were truly so controlling and violent whenever she challenged his authority, she would know like almost every other woman knows that the thing most likely to set a man like that off is when you leave him. You absolutely file the restraining order before you do it. You need a deterrent already in place the moment he finds out you’ve filed for divorce. Not five days after, and also after your request for immediate support has been denied. I do not believe Amber Heard.

      Secondly, Johnny Depp is 52 years old and has never been accused by any other female who has ever had a relationship with him. Never. In fact, they’re defending him. It is not illegal to have a heated argument with your wife. Not only has he never treated his female loves badly, he has never treated anyone badly. He’s not a diva, not difficult on set, he’s incredibly kind to his fans. Everyone who has ever come close to this man likes him immensely.

      Lastly, and perhaps most importantly…we tend to forget in this world where women’s equality gets such attention, that men are physically very, very much stronger than women. If any man in the state Amber claims Johnny was in (outraged, out of control) hit a woman in the face, especially with a hard, unyielding object, half of her face would most likely be deeply bruised, dark purple and black for more than two weeks, if her bones were not actually broken. It looks to me like Amber Heard was hit by a woman who did not really want to hurt her.

      I do not believe Johnny Depp has ever done anything to hurt Amber. He has done a great deal for her in kindness. He married her with a $400 million fortune. He let her friends (lesbians and trans-genders included-does that sound like a jealous man?) move into his condominium, right next door to his wife. Can you imagine that? You get to live in the condo of one of the world’s most iconic movie-stars, simply because you are friends with a woman he’s been married to for less than a year? Would you do that to your new husband? He asked for no pre-nup. He defended her in Australia, and apologized right next to her for the whole world to see. He has gifted her much. He asked her to come and share his incredibly cushioned life, Caribbean island and all. We have plenty of evidence that he has been very kind indeed to Amber. However, how has she treated him? His mother died, and at a time when any wife would be deeply concerned about her husband, Amber divorced him, demanded excessive support, and then when it was not immediately forthcoming, filed a restraining order and accused him of beating her. Perfect timing as well for the sequel to a billion dollar movie to be boycotted. I see no evidence Johnny Depp has ever tried to harm Amber Heard (neither did the police) but I see unmistakable evidence that she is trying to hurt him, no, actually destroy him. Suicides are made of much less than this.

      Hang in there Johnny. We love you.

  26. Cole says:

    Elvis lives in Depp….booze…blow…cigarette’s…….loser scripts. Has to make you wonder how Disney could be so stupid to the fact that he’s done and been a liability for so long. Gilbert Grape will always be special but that was basically Depp being normal. He’s just not that good.

    • GKN says:

      What a short memory we have. Everyone’s talking “Pirates,” “Alice” and “Black Mass” mostly, but Depp has made close to 80 films, and mostly without quirks and heavy make-up: “Sleepy Hollow,” “Chocolat,” “Finding Neverland,” “The Libertine” and many many more. Some of his choices have been hit and miss. What actor’s hasn’t? Perhaps he needs someone with better taste to help vet the scripts. And how much of is Hollywood typecasting, I wouldn’t guess. But let’s be honest, Hollywood itself is wearing us out with all its tired formulas, and that is clearly part of the problem.

  27. Johnny has not looked well for some time… I hope that he takes some time now to regain himSelf

  28. RobotxRobot says:

    This is a cheap and hitman piece. There are lots of fine actors that have slumps in their career. Heard’s allegations are on rather shaky ground given her wishy washy behavior, Depp’s lack of domestic violence history, short period of the marriage, no prenup, etc. The picture of her bruise and then the not so long after picture of her seemingly okay are supicious. However, that is all for the courts to sort through. However, I am not often skeptical of domestic violence cases but this one raises some flags.

  29. dee says:

    My problem with Depp is I’d like to see HIM on screen, not a bunch of make-up or masks. I can understand in Black Mass why Depp’s face/hairline changes but all of these other pics without letting us see his face – it’s ridiculous. Perhaps he should have chosen some good movies in which he’d let his face show.

    • Derek117 says:

      I agree, that Johnny Depp seems to be trying to “hide”. His movies all have him with drastic changes in appearance–with the possible exception of the “Pirates” movies. And in his “real” life he’s covered with tattoos, which can be seen as “make-up” that he’s hiding behind. Plus, his outlandish outfits of hands, scarves, jewelry, way-out-of-style jackets & shirts suggests that he’s always “in costume.” Most actors want to appear in a variety of roles, but not “the rebel” Johnny Depp: he’s always heavily made-up quirky characters.

  30. It’s ridiculous that you didn’t mention the very artistic movie Depp did : “Dead Man” – and as for him working with Tim Burton – I don’t see the importance of that. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would have been better left a classic and the remake was over-acted and silly. We love Depp for his acting skills – not for overdone costumes and ridiculous remakes. As for his current situation with the publicly proclaimed “bi-sexual” Amber Heard – I can only say he should have stayed with his lovely wife Vannessa and their two beautiful children. Hope he learned a lesson…sorry johnny…love you!!!

  31. kylevpirate says:

    What a horrible article

  32. John Miller says:

    Amber Heard is just conducting a standard female shakedown of a male artist. Even though she never mentioned any abuse in her original filing, now that she isn’t get what she wants out of him, she’s coming up with all this.

  33. newtemplar says:

    Johnny Depp is a great actor. That said, people are getting tired of sequels and Pirates in general. Marrying Amber Heard was, well, “you knew the job was dangerous when you took it…” as I don’t think she was a mystery to anyone. Somethings things just don’t work out, and now it will cost you, Johnny. Once the dust settles, stop making big-budget sequel duds and get back into some truly original,non-Tim Burton projects. We’d love to see you again!

  34. Ken says:

    How soon we forget all the raves and Oscar talk Depp received for BLACK MASS last fall. He was sensational in it. Writing this dude off is sorely premature.

  35. How can you contact Johnnys representatives? I would just like to send support during this times being viciously attacked.

  36. Rudy Mario says:

    Maybe a bit early to write him off. Though I concede he has had many huge flops lately. As for his soon to be ex “wife”…..hmm she is after his $$$$. Pure and simple.

  37. Erin Ward says:

    I think he’s done. Too many flops, and too many drunken moments with ageing rockstars. He is a great actor and musician, but he can’t hold the spotlight forever. His time in the spotlight is pretty much over. He doesn’t even look good anymore. Just my opinion.

  38. Noel O'Neill says:

    Oliver Stone actually cut Johnny Depp’s scenes in Platoon because he is so bad in it. The Brando comparison stops cold there. When you reach the peak of success you stay for a while while audiences stare at you at dizzying heights. However there’s always a hook that takes you down unless you then gracefully step aside and let others enjoy the view. However most of success these days in glimmer-land is disgraceful hence the decline of talent and staying power.

    • newtemplar says:

      For his “comeback” period, Brando was iconic in “The Godfather” and awesome in “Last Tango…”, but he was pretty awful in “Apocalypse Now”. Johnny Depp still has some years to live up to Mr. Brando, who was also superb in comedic sense for “The Freshman”.

  39. siebertws13 says:

    Great actor, but boy he’s made a string of lousy movies. Nothing a terrific script can’t fix in a weekend, though.

  40. Carl White says:

    Depp used to be the coolest guy in the world, now he feels like a washed up rocker from an 80’s hair band who does not yet realize he needs a new image.
    With that said, I like the Brando comparison, I think Depp is an incredible talent and simply needs to age a bit, give people a chance to forget he used to be a movie star so that he can actually find some great roles he can disappear in.
    I am going to call it now, Depp wins an Oscar, and for fun, lets says in 2023, his big comeback.

    • Joshua says:

      Great Comment!

    • EricJ says:

      When I saw “Brando” in the article, I thought they were referring to Depp’s role opposite Brando in “Don Juan de Marco”, back from the early-90’s days when Depp took on early “quirky” roles in small pictures back for the actor challenge of it.
      Brando was trying to make an earnest 90’s comeback at the time in “The Freshman” and “A Dry White Season”, but his own egotistically self-indulgent personal life became -his- own worst enemy to getting more roles, too, and by the time of “Island of Dr. Moreau”, he just plain didn’t care anymore.

  41. EricJ says:

    Thing is, it’s usually a red flag, when you look at the question of why does an actor, who aspires to spend all his working time being other people and living other imaginary lives 24/7, want to self-typecast his roles as “Quirky” types people wouldn’t encounter in the real world?
    It usually starts out as Hipster Discontentment, but scratch the surface and it soon falls into the categories of either being a lunatic like Charlie Sheen, or an a-hole like Val Kilmer.
    (And that’s leaving out being just plain gay, like…well, all those clown-faced Tim Burton movies DID have us worried there, for a while.)

    It’s one thing in the early ambitious days to want to be Buster Keaton in “Benny & Joon”, but nobody comes back from the Tim Burton Repertory Company with the same professional dedication they started out with. We can expect a meltdown from Helena Bonham Carter next.

  42. Jacques Strappe says:

    Not really digging Variety’s course change into tabloid sleazy journalism. here. Even pretty boy George Clooney has made some underwhelming film choices in the past few years. Julia Roberts doesn’t rock it at the box office any more, either. Shia LeBeouf’s career is majorly moribund, too. The list goes on and on.

    And while I’m in complaint mode, even the television reviews have evolved into social and political ideological manifestos, I don’t give a sh_t about the reviewer’s political or social views; I just want to read a well-reasoned and balanced critical review about a television program or film fercrissakes.

  43. SK says:

    When he really wants to act and engage with a script he’s bloody brilliant at it. Pirates ( I liked the first, should have left it there) felt like a point where he got lazy, he seemed like he didn’t need to try any more, and financially he didn’t. Compare that to his work prior to 2003, specifically his work with Burton. He didn’t care but in the best possible way.
    All actors have periods when they go out of favour, hit a slump, take one ego project too many, nature of the industry. Kevin Costner springs to mind. Depp is in the positon now where, truthfully the looks are fading, he may never have been the classic leading man but explain that to any woman who’s watched Chocolat. While Brad Pitt seems to be doing it gracefully, Johnny feels like he’s clinging on to the same old tricks and turns, when I think somewhere underneath that is actually, a really interesting, aging, character actor who’s capable of good work. He’s by no means washed up and out of the game yet, even with the current media storm and the allegations, which is exactly what they are.
    Some may measure success by box office but really, you’d probably find that the most beloved and respected stars are not the ones making the big box office money, hello Meryl Streep, because these days unless you are latched onto a Marvel or DC tent pole (or Star Wars) your film probably isn’t going to be the massive bllion dollar grossing miracle every studio wants.

  44. John says:

    I don’t know about “Pirates 5”, that franchise looks tired for the audience too, “Pirates” 1 – 3 dominated right before the Marvel Avengers explosion, audience have moved on from swashbuckling sword fights. “Lone Rangers” was a clear sign of Johnny Depp’s fallen stardom, when he tried to imitate Jack Sparrow demeanor in that movie, which didn’t work but looked rather silly and the forceful. But I would say the primary reason for his drop is age, like all movie stars, old age will diminish stardom no matter what.

    • madiemma says:

      I personnally believe Amber, but I really enjoyed reading your analysis on Johnny’s career and the comparison to Meryl Streep quality movies vs the box office tentpoles. :)

  45. Joel says:

    Sorry to go against the prevailing opinion, but that “premature” comment from the lawyer (ka-ching) makes it look like this incident is going to get dragged out for months, not days. If so, he’ll wind up toxic, and if so, he’s toast.

    Like Woody Allen, after a certain point of the air remaining uncleared — whether the allegations are true or not — seeing their films becomes a statement against women. And then you’ve automatically lost at least 2/3 of the audience (just single men left).

    Disney should consider putting the Pirates film on hold for at least a year and see how things shake out. That’ll give them time to polish the script, the public time to forget, and for him to get counseling, maybe go through rehab, and get a new not-dangerous-looking style/stylist. Worked for RDJ.

    Or, you know, he could just retire.

    I’m sorry about your mother, Johnny, and yes, life’s short. Talking as a friend, if you can’t come to grips with that — which is tough for literally everyone — don’t put yourself in a place of responsibility if you’re actually unwilling to shoulder it. Thousands of people’s livelihoods depend on your performances and thus, how you live your life. Please, don’t screw it up.

    Meantime, fwiw, best wishes, and I suggest facing the past fully so you can let it go, and can have a happier future.

  46. alex says:

    Depp is doing fine. Alice bombed because there was no need for a sequel and it’s not like Depp was the main attraction in either movie but he made it considerably better. Black Mass was a fine return to form even if the script lacked depth. Variety needs to up its game away from the trendy topic of the moment or it’ll be seen as the next Gawker.

    • JR says:

      No need for a sequel? Someone should have told Lewis Carroll.

      • EricJ says:

        Someone should have made Linda Woolverton read it.

      • Malcolm says:

        Disney/Depp/Burton’s film used Wonderland AND Looking Glass for its plot. Hence, no need for a sequel – which shares the name, but creates an entirely new plot. The two Alice books are great, but unless adaptations follow them – or are independently creative/novel/clever – there’ll be something missing.

  47. LOL says:

    Women might have liked his ‘family man’ credentials, which got scuppered by him going for a younger spouse.

    Paul McCartney bounced back from a similar thing, so could Depp.

    • Occultology says:

      For the record, James Paul McCartney died in 1966; the replacement, “Sir Faul McCartney”, aka William Sheppard Campbell/Billy Shears/Phil Ackrill/Billy Pepper (of “Billy Pepper & the Pepperpots”) / aka “Sgt. Pepper” (of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”), is a completely different guy, and a complete fraud. Compare the Facial Forensics between pre-1966 James Paul McCartney and the post-1967 Sir Faul (Faux) McCartney and you will see the differences in eyes, nose, ears, mouth, skull shape, etc. The Beatles themselves left us over 300 clues to what really happened, but freeze-frame their “Free As A Bird” music video at precisely 2:22 and you will see one of the black and white Autopsy Photos of James Paul McCartney reflected in the rear window of the black police paddy wagon; the camera then continues to pan left of frame, to the scene of a car crash. This is the real reason that The Beatles never got on stage again in public after 1966 (the replacement JPM/sir Faul) is 3 inches taller, and 5 years older than his band mates.

  48. ninvoid99 says:

    I honestly think some of the choices he made as an actor and as a person in recent years are a reflection of a man having a mid-life crisis. You’re successful, you have money, you have homes, you’re having a good time, and you have a family. What more do you need? I think that is what happened and as a result, he put himself into a very bad situation and made some stupid decisions. Not just with shitty films he made like “The Tourist”, “Transcendence”, “Mortdecai”, and “The Lone Ranger” where he became too comfortable in playing weird characters where it’s now become another of those derp-de-derp films that Rob Schneider was once known for. I think he made a mistake in leaving Vanessa Paradis and wanting to return to Los Angeles where he could’ve just stayed grounded in France and not deal with all of the bullshit that is Hollywood. I think once he left her, he did become full of himself and got attached to a young starlet who is really a phony. He should take some responsibilities for being a moron and not realizing what he had. Before all of this, I had lost respect for him as an actor as he was so much better. Then came the incident with the dogs and I’m like “you’re really a fucking moron and that wife of yours is a ditz and a liar”. Now all of this shit is happening and I called it.

  49. Ahsoka23 says:

    Depp is going to be okay. He will make a comeback, just like Charlie Sheen. A-listers always make a comeback and get praised for it.

    • NW says:

      No Charlie Sheen is not “getting support from the public”. Example please?? He is a huge joke to vast majority of the sane public. Has he had any box office successful or Cannes worthy starring or big movie rolls lately? Nope!! Most of the men you named on that list have not had anywhere near the good publicity, fame, successful movie roles, or general public popularity since their dirty secrets or criminal scandals came out. FACT. RDJ & Chistian Bale are the only ones who have actual REAL bank-ability and high ranking status in Hollywood and the publics eye anymore. And that is because they are honest men and current non-addicts and physically look good/handsome & healthy and have nice intact good-looking families! FACT. Charlie Sheen fails! Sean Penn fails! Josh Brolin fails! Mel Gibson fails! No intact happy healthy families for them and they all look like crap and haven’t had a hit movie in years! Haha!! Take your delusional fan outlook elsewhere. You have nothing factual to say.

    • NW says:

      Hope you are being sarcastic with the Charlie Sheen reference?? He will never have a comeback. He doesn’t deserve one either.

      But I think the other comment on here referencing Robert Downey Junior is a good comparison. But Johnny Depp really needs to take responsibility for any of this recent divorce/abuse/addict matter if any of it is true. RDJ was publicly very honest and forthright about his shortcomings and problems. And if needed then- Johnny should seek professional help with his drug problems and clean up his image. He has looked really very bad and unhealthy for years now… That right there alone will affect your popularity with women and the box office. No matter what is said otherwise- we as a nation are incredibly image conscious. Selfies and photoshop and plastic surgery statistics will tell you that much! I prefer his look in The Astronauts Wife. Very healthy and clean cut looking. Bad teeth are also a huge turnoff and very distracting for a lot of people- especially here in America. Domestic violence is a very serious matter though which deserves his own personal attention and commentary on it- he needs to address the issue himself and quit just using his PR team and ex-girlfriends to try and quickly clear his name… It makes him look worse… More guilty even.

      • Ahsoka23 says:

        No I am not. Charlie Sheen is still getting support from the public, RDJ made a comeback, Sean Penn has been accused of domestic violence and is still working, Josh Brolin was accused of domestic violence and is still working and getting praised, Christian Bale was accused of domestic violence, and even crazy Mel Gibson was accused and he is still able to work, despite his reputation being tarnish by various reasons, all of these people are able to work and make money and get more publicity. A certain type of A-listers get to make a comeback and people “forget” about their dark past.

        Depp will be okay. It is so funny how before Amber was the “hot girl” of the moment. Now all these Depp fanboy/fangirls hate her.

  50. Bill B. says:

    He sure has had a long and strange career once filled with a lot of highs and now mostly with many lows. While they were very popular, I think the Pirate series were a wrong career move artistically, though certainly not financially. I think he has worn out his welcome due to weirdness & too many very bad movies, particularly the godawful Lone Ranger. I nearly fell asleep watching Transcendence. Now with this personal scandal getting so much publicity, this all has a kind of Mel Gibson feel to it. His career just might be toast, but if it is, I have a feeling he really won’t much care. I don’t think he’s very interested in film making any more and he’s filthy rich.

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