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Only in Hollywood
Johnny Depp on critics thrashing ‘The Tourist’

By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:20:00 02/19/2011

Filed Under: Celebrities, Cinema, Entertainment (general)

LOS ANGELES?Asked in a recent interview about critics thrashing ?The Tourist,? his recent film with Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp answered: ?You go into a film and do the best work you can do. The second they tell you, ?It?s a wrap,? it?s really no longer any of your business. I always walk away, thank everyone and it?s done.?

The 47-year-old actor couldn?t imagine that the overall reaction to the film has been that unpleasant. ?Florian (Henckel von Donnersmarck) is a terrific filmmaker. Angie is obviously a great talent ... The cinematography is great,? he pointed out.

?Maybe I?m the one who messed it up,? he added, ?but I don?t know because I haven?t seen the film.?

Johnny also discussed another film he has finished shooting, ?The Rum Diary,? an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson?s first novel. It was shot in 2009 but its release date has been in limbo. ?We?re hoping to bring the movie out in the fall this year,? Johnny said. ?It?s one of those films you want to be really right on the money, when to put it out.?

?Slow down, kid?

On the question of how he approaches his movie roles?especially when they are as disparate as his Captain Jack character in the ?Pirates? blockbusters and Paul Kemp, a Doppelganger for the late Thompson, credited as the creator of gonzo journalism?Johnny said: ?An actor?s main responsibility is to never bore the audience, to really try to give them something they don?t expect from you.?

He recounted what Marlon Brando told him a few years ago. ?He asked me how many films I did a year at that time. I think I said, ?Maybe two or three.? Then Marlon said, ?Oh, you have to slow down, kid, because we only have so many faces in our pocket.? I thought it was a brilliant thing to say. So yes, each time, there?s pressure for me to do something that hopefully could entertain.?

In 1997, when Johnny had not yet landed his ?Pirates? franchise, he told Vanity Fair: ?I?m not a ?Blockbuster Boy.? I never wanted to be. I mean, it would be nice to get a s--tpile of money so you can throw it at your family and friends.?

When reminded about this quote and asked what money means in his life now, he replied: ?Money has given me freedom to be able to make sure that everybody?s taken care of?kids, family and extended family. I have certain things that can be construed as extravagance in one?s life. To have a hamlet in the South of France ... but it?s actually the first house that I?ve ever had that I could call home. It?s a place where I know that, in 50 years, my kids are going to have their kids there.?

Anonymity, simplicity

As for his haven in the Bahamas, Johnny remarked: ?Things like an island ? ironically, it took a pirate film for me to be able to achieve my dream and buy an island. Basically, what the island represents is simplicity. Unfortunately, when you?re wandering around Hollywood or New York or various places, anonymity is gone. So you search for these places where you can get anonymity and simplicity. That?s pretty much what I?ve done with money.? Laughing, he added, ?That?s the only time I see the dough anyway.?

Complimented about ?Rango,? the new animated comedy-adventure where he voices the title character, a pet lizard, Johnny said: ?Clearly, I had nothing much to do with it if it?s smart, witty and unusual.?

Directed and cowritten by Gore Verbinski, who also helmed the ?Pirates? trilogy, ?Rango? features the voices of Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina and others in the story about a chameleon who dreams of being a hero in a Western town.

??Rango? was one of those things that Gore came to me from out of nowhere,? Johnny explained. ?It was sometime around the end of ?Pirates 3.? He said, ?I?ve got this idea.? It sounded so strange because the only element that existed at that time was his idea of a lizard who is on an existential, spiritual sojourn. I only knew that it?s going to take place in the Wild West ... It made so little sense then that I thought, I want to see this. I told Gore, ?Just say when you want me to do it.? And that?s what we did.?

When the subject of his daughter, Lily Rose, came up, Johnny narrated: ?We were doing a press conference the other day and Justin Bieber popped in just to say hi.? Apparently, Justin is a big fan of Johnny. ?When I told Lily Rose about it, she turned into this thermometer, all kinds of colors.? Laughing, Johnny said, ?That?s upsetting. No, she?s a very sharp, sensitive kid who?s starting to write bits of poetry that I assume will eventually turn into songs. She has the voice of her Mama.?

Johnny has always been known as the loving dad of Lily Rose, 11, and Jack, 8, his ?kiddies? with French singer-actress Vanessa Paradis. He pointed out: ?Our friends who haven?t seen the kids in a while are always completely shocked, especially by Lily Rose because she?s so far beyond her years. She is a very sophisticated kid, frighteningly so. She has crushes on boys.?

?At the moment, Jack is very much like me when I was a kid,? he said of his son. ?He?s absolutely obsessed with World War II. I was, too, for some reason.?

On ?The American Lover,? the much-awaited onscreen pairing of Vanessa (as French feminist Simone de Beauvoir) and Johnny (as the American writer Nelson Algren) to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom, he revealed: ?Lasse has been e-mailing Vanessa and me. We?ve been back and forth with various ideas, talking to the writers ... It will be something that we can hopefully try to do sometime next year.?

Same spot

?It would be really nice for us to be in the same spot for a good chunk of time, especially with the kiddies,? Johnny said of finally starring opposite Vanessa in a movie. ?Chicago and Paris are not bad locations. Also it will be great to tackle the subject matter and those characters, Simone de Beauvoir who was this very strong woman with a wonderful sense of humor, and Nelson Algren who was a writer and someone that I?ve always been fascinated with.?

When the conversation reverted back to ?Rango? and how this character?s journey to find his true identity resonates with Johnny?s own life, the actor said: ?It?s a day-to-day issue. I?m still pondering it. I know what I?m supposed to be in the very big picture. The two things that really matter is you get to be a good man and a good dad. That?s really it for me. If, in the interim, in this little journey of life, I can do some good or interesting work, or do something that?s a little outside of what others are doing, then boy, I?m blessed. But in terms of the philosophical and spiritual quest, I just keep moving forward.?

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com.

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