Johnny Depp says he’s liberated himself from a longtime personal burden of often caring too much about his acting by following the artistic philosophy of the late Marlon Brando.
In doing so, he has no fear to take on projects that critics – or even himself – might otherwise poo-poo, although he admits that his busy career has him dashing at a “schizophrenic” pace.
“What is really satisfying is, like Marlon, getting to that place where he just didn’t give a f—,” Depp, 51, told Details magazine in its December issue for a story that dubs the musician and celebrity maverick “the anti-leading man.”
“First, I reached a point where I cared so much and was so diligent in terms of approaching the work. Then you get to where you care so f—— much that it gets goddamn beleaguering, you know?” Depp, a three-time Academy Award nominee, explained of his devotion in getting his myriad of leading and character roles just right.
“But then a great thing happens. Suddenly you care enough to not give a f—, because not giving a f—, that’s the total liberation. Being game to try anything,” he told Details.
Anything has included a diverse slate of films over the past year, including his turn as the Big Bad Wolf in Into the Woods and portraying one of the FBI’s most-wanted fugitives, Whitey Bulger, in the upcoming Black Mass.
“It’s been insane,” noted Depp, who also starred in Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass. “From Whitey Bulger to the Mad Hatter, you can imagine the schizophrenia.”
While loving the exploration of a growing list of characters, Depp admitted to being worn down by the pressure to use his fame to create box-office gold.
“It’s like being a dog at the track,” Depp said of the built-in expectations of stardom. “They expect you to live up to some race you happened to be in and won accidentally. From that first second, you’re nothing more than a commodity.”
He added: “They have expectations of another Pirates. It’s great if something works. Boy, that’s killer. But God, to have that as your design … it’s ugly, I think.”
But, he doesn’t plan to stop portraying his cast of unusual characters, even though he acknowledges he must “dig deep” amid pressures to deliver on his name.
When that gets too much, Depp harkens to Brando’s other thespian admonition, to “be careful, we only have so many faces in our pockets.”
“I understood what he meant – and he’s right. But I’m not running out, you know?”
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