Why Johnny Depp’s Acting Career Is Something That Janelle Monáe Aspires To

Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts : The Crimes of Grindelwald and Janelle Monae in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
(Image credit: Warner Bros./Netflix)

Janelle Monáe has been steadily building up her acting resume. But compared to other music stars-turned-actors, they’ve been quite selective about the roles they take. It’s paid off well for Monáe so far after starring in multiple Oscar-nominated films, including Moonlight and Hidden Figures. The influence on their selectivity may come from an odd place – Hollywood icon Johnny Depp. Given his decades-long career, it makes sense. But it might not be for the obvious reasons as the Hidden Figures star explained why Depp’s acting career is something they aspire to emulate.

The Glass Onion actor opened up about their career aspirations at BFI London Film Festival (via THR). While fans have compared their career path to the likes of pop culture icons Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, Monáe revealed their acting goals fall more in line with fellow multihyphenate Depp. The entertainer explained how the Oscar-nominated actor’s chameleon-like career choices inspired their trajectory as an actor.

When I think about careers, this person as an actor, his life as an actor only, it’s Johnny Depp. The amount of roles, from Willy Wonka, to Sweeney Todd, to all of the dramatic roles, [I want to do] whatever is the Janelle Monáe version of that, with those transformative characters that people are dressing up as on Halloween. I’m thinking that level. I’m ready to go there. Something grounded, but embedded in the hearts and minds of children.

While Depp’s personal life has been tabloid fodder in recent years, one thing that has never been questioned is his capabilities as an actor. The Pirates of the Caribbeans star could’ve cashed in on his good looks early on and headlined huge Hollywood films, but he chose to become a character actor. As Monáe pointed out, he’s never played the same role twice (outside franchises like Pirates and Fantastic Beasts). From Edward Scissorhands to Capt. Jack Sparrow to J.M. Barrie, Johnny Depp manages to disappear into those great roles while sprinkling in a bit of himself. So if Monáe wants to model her career after Depp’s, they couldn’t have picked a better choice.

The Grammy-nominated singer has seemingly followed that path so far. They’ve appeared in various genres, from coming-of-age drama to animated comedies.  They’ve played real-life cultural icons like Mary Jackson and Dorothy Pitman Hughes to Teresa in Moonlight and Mandy in UglyDolls. Time will only tell what other roles Monáe will add to her growing acting resume in the future.

Audiences will get to see another side of Janelle Monáe when they appear as Andi Brand in the murder-mystery sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. They are a part of an all-star ensemble, including Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, and David Bautista. The sequel will see Craig’s Benoit Blanc getting into detective mode after a murder occurs during a friendly getaway on a tech billionaire’s secluded island.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will have a limited-theatrical run on November 23 before premiering worldwide on December 23 on Netflix. The murder mystery has already received rave reviews before viewers see it. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out what upcoming movies will premiere for the remainder of 2022.

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).