Why Johnny Depp Is Totally Uninterested In Playing The Same Types Of Characters Over And Over Again

Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Despite his status as a Hollywood A-lister, Johnny Depp has built a career filled with memorable and eccentric characters. He’s popped up in everything from small indie fare to blockbuster franchises. But he’s never repeated the same character more than once (with the exception of Jack Sparrow). And that’s by design, according to the Pirate of the Caribbean vet.

Depp has never rested on his laurels of being a Hollywood star. He’s always allowed himself to try new and exciting roles no matter how big or small they are. That’s why Johnny Depp is regarded as one of Hollywood’s best performers. The Edward Scissorhands star explained to Variety why audiences never see him play the same character twice.

I don’t know. The only reason I did many things are some of the choices that I made were because they were a challenge. I think if you step out the gate and do the same thing every time … well, it would drive me mental. It’s unfair to the audience or the viewer if I come out and I’m the same fella every time. I think it’s important that you try to find something that you can grab onto that maybe hasn’t been done to death and maybe you can come through a different pathway and find a different angle on the character. I think they’ve all been challenges, but I like that. I don’t know that I’ve stepped into a film that I wasn’t somewhat positive that there was every opportunity that I would fall flat on my face. But it’s important to go there.

Depp’s stance on his craft is understandable. The actor could’ve fallen into the pretty boy playbook early in his career, but he decided to become a character actor. Leaning into the latter proved to work for him even at this point in his career. You can tell with every role Johnny Depp takes on is willing to stretch himself as a true student of his craft.

His film resume proved the Fantastic Beasts star is willing to take risks at every turn. He spent the 1990s being the poster child for indie films and eccentric performances in films like Benny and Joon, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Sleepy Hollow. Each role gave audiences a different take on the Hollywood star. Even from the 2000s to now, Depp has continued the path. Of course, compared to the 1990s, his work toed the line between commercial viability and chameleon-type performance from him. While Depp has played a multitude of characters, he did latch onto the Pirates of the Caribbean series by playing Jack Sparrow in five films. In this case, his connection to the captain was more a privilege than a role as he was able to “locate and bring his beauty” to the big screen. Even if his role in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 has been called into question despite one co-star backing his return if feasible. 

So, even Johnny Depp has certain characters he stays with for some time. But like many stars, he does have his detractors about his acting skills. Succession’s Brian Cox wasn’t a fan as he called Depp “overrated and overblown” in Hollywood. In his memoir, Cox opined that the Minamata star had “done less” since starring in the cult classic Edward Scissorhands. He ended up walking back his comments while keeping it honest about Depp’s talent. It appeared Cox might’ve been in the minority as Depp secured his first role since Minamata by playing King Louis XIV in an upcoming film.

If you want to see what Johnny Depp has coming up this year, you can check out our 2022 schedule of upcoming releases.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).