People Staff
May 18, 2005 06:00 AM

First, Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp channeled Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards for his Oscar-nominated turn as buccaneer Jack Sparrow. Now rumor has it that shock-rocker Marilyn Manson inspired Depp’s next role: Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which hits theaters July 15). Director Tim Burton wouldn’t divulge the details of his star’s Method acting, but he tells us: “He will certainly be eccentric, yes.”

In real life, though, Depp’s a pretty regular guy. Burton (who says the actor was “absolutely my first choice” to play the candy man) told us at a recent party for British designer Lulu Guinness at the V&A Museum in London, that pal Depp is “just a normal guy, a family man who is really very shy.”

Donald and the Duck
While her husband decides whether Kendra or Tana will be the next Apprentice in the NBC show’s finale on Thursday, Melania Trump is having her moment in the limelight. The Slovenia-born model is starring in a quirky new Aflac insurance commercial in which she and the company’s mascot duck undergo a Frankenstein-esque body swap. “It was a lot of fun to appear alongside an American icon,” says Trump.

The TV spot isn’t the only project in the works for the new Mrs. Trump, who’ll celebrate her four-month wedding anniversary with The Donald on May 22. “We want to have children,” she says. And by the way, married life “is fantastic,” says Trump. “If you’re with a man like Donald is, you need to have your own identity, you need to know who you are. That’s very important. I believe in the man behind the woman and the woman behind the man.”

Caught in the Act
Monster-in-Law star Michael Vartan, partying at the Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.

Will & Grace‘s Eric McCormack, lunching with wife Janet and son Finn at Mel’s Diner in Hollywood. They grabbed a bite after catching the Sesame Street Live show.

• Former Bachelorette Jen Schefft with boyfriend Billy Dec, sitting in the front row of designer Doris Ruth’s Fall 2005 fashion show at Chicago club Reserve.

• By MONIQUE JESSEN, SERENA KAPPES, PRIYA MOHAN, MONICA RIZZO and MARISA LAUDADIO

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