Johnny Depp: Career Curve

Johnny Depp's career has pretty much gone up and up.

12 photos
EMPTY_CAPTION"A Nightmare on Elm Street," 1984
nWe may think of Johnny Depp as an accomplished and versatile film star now, but do you remember that he got his start in a horror movie? Depp made his feature film debut as Glen Lantz, a student at Springwood High, who is murdered in the comfort of his own bed by legendary dream demon Freddy Kruger. No one at the time would've guessed that he would become an A-list uber star.
EMPTY_CAPTION"21 Jump Street," 1987-1990
nDepp stars on the hit TV show about a team of young cops who infiltrate high schools. He was immediately identified as the show's breakout star and within three years he was leaving the show for the world of film.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Cry-Baby," 1990
nHis first post-Jump Street role, in 1990, found him cast by John Waters as a singing '50s greaser with a pair of over active tear ducts, who is wrongly imprisoned. It was a savvy move that made clear he wasn't (at this point, anyway) interested in being a brainless teen idol.
Edward Scissorhands
EMPTY_CAPTION"Edward Scissorhands," 1990
nLater that same year saw the release of Depp's first collaboration with director Tim Burton, playing the title role in this modern fairy tale about a young man with deadly hands in love with a young woman, played by Depp's real-life fiancee, Winona Ryder. The film was a massive hit.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Arizona Dream," 1993
nDespite having established himself as a box-office stud, Depp continued to lean toward small-budget and arty fare—some of it just bizarre, like Emir Kustirica's film about a man who travels to the desert with his brother (played by Vincent Gallo) to attend the wedding of his uncle (Jerry Lewis) to a much younger woman (Paulina Porzikova).
EMPTY_CAPTION"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," 1998
nIn 1998, Depp portrayed the great Hunter S. Thompson in Terry Gilliam's fever-dream adaptation of the author's story of traveling to Sin City to cover a motorcycle race and getting horribly derailed by his appetite for drugs and alcohol. The film sparked a friendship between Depp and Thompson that lasted to the end of the latter's life.
Disney Enterprises
EMPTY_CAPTION"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," nWhen Depp starred in 2003 in a film based on an amusement park, folks were worried, but everyone had to admit that film was a blast, and earned him his first Oscar nomination. Even when he went lowbrow, his artistic instincts were unimpeachable. Boy, were we wrong about being wrong.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," 2005
nBut the Depp we all fell in love with began to disappear into a cesspool of "Pirates" and Tim Burton-ifications of beloved classics with this remake of a perfectly good film, which marked the beginning of a string of films so laughably formulaic it's enough to make a movie buff cry.
EMPTY_CAPTION"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," 2009nThere was a brief glimmer of hope that Depp was returning to his more artistically sincere roots, when he helped fill-in for the recently deceased Heath Ledger on Terry Gilliam's film, and in Michael Mann's ambitious, if flawed, Dillinger film, "Public Enemies."
EMPTY_CAPTION"Rango," 2011nThis year began auspiciously enough with Depp getting back together with his original "Pirates" director, Gore Verbinski, for this animated twist on "Chinatown," in which Depp voices an iguana going through an identity crisis. It was a mesmerizing trip.
EMPTY_CAPTION"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," 2011nBut that sweet taste was washed away with the release of the fourth "Pirates" film, a cinematic experience so relentlessly unamusing that Depp himself was forced to confess if "they’re going to pay me the stupid money right now, I’m going to take it."
nMany see a glimmer of hope for Depp's career with this film that has him again playing Hunter S. Thompson, in an adaptation of an early work that long went unpublished. In it Depp plays a man trying to stop a scheming real estate developer's plans, and steal his girlfriend. The film Opens Oct. 28.
Contact Us