Oh yummy. Johnny Depp has got to be by far one of the most intriguing Hollywood heartthrobs out there. I loved him in everything from 21 Jump Street to to The Pirates of the Caribbean series (I mean, how cute was he in Edward Scissorhands?!) I am also really looking forward to his item song in Mira Nair’s Shantaram (in which Amitabh Bachchan is playing the lead btw.) In fact, I have it on good authority that Mr. Depp may be in Goa this weekend staying at a secluded spot called “Elsewhere” in Goa. Here are a few excerpts from his interview. Any time I’ve seen you – in a trailer, at your home, in a hotel room – you always have at least one guitar with you. You sometimes talk while strumming a guitar. How connected are you with music?
It’s still my first love as much as it ever was, since I was a little kid and first picked up a guitar and tried to figure out how to make the thing go. Going into acting was an odd deviation from a particular road that I was on in my late teens, early twenties, because I had no desire, no interest, really, in it at all. I was a musician and I was a guitarist, and that’s what I wanted to do. But because of that deviation, and because I don’t do it for a living, maybe I still have been able to maintain that kind of innocent love for it. The weird thing is, I think I approach my work the same way I approached guitar-playing – looking at a character like a song. If you think of expression musically – it goes from wherever it comes from inside to your fingers, and on to that fretboard, and then on to the amplifier, through whatever. It’s the same kind of thing that’s required here, with acting: What was the author’s intent? What can I add to it that maybe someone else won’t add to it? It’s not necessarily a question of how many notes but a question of what do the notes express and what does a slight bend do.
What were you reading to inform yourself about Captain Jack’s life or his lifestyle?
I was reading a lot of books about early pirates. There was one book in particular that was really helpful, called Under The Black Flag. You realize that those guys were – you either loved it or you were press-ganged and you didn’t. One of the things that helped me most with Captain Jack was a book by Bernard Moitessier, and it’s where I found the last line for the first Pirates movie. The writers were stumped, and they’d say, “Well, what about this?” And nothing seemed to click. I was reading this Moitessier book on sailing the Earth, and he had written about how the ultimate for a sailor was the horizon and to be able to attain that horizon, which you never get to, which is why it keeps pushing you forward. I thought, That’s it! That’s it! So I went to them and said, “I’ve got a line for you: ‘Bring me that horizon.’” And they looked at it and went, “Nah, that’s not it.” But about 45 minutes later, they came to me and went, “That’s the line.”
Is it your grandfather you have tattooed on your arm?
Yeah, Jim. He was a wonderful model. He drove a bus during the day and ran moonshine at night. He was a Robert Mitchum type, a man’s man. He just said things as they were. He’d call a spade a spade – and piss on you if you don’t like it. He was also of a different era – I mean, a radically different era, as were some of the other guys that we’ve talked about, like Marlon and Hunter, and even Keith [Richards] to some degree, and Allen certainly. I really believe it was a better time. I really believe that, at a certain point, if you’re born in Sixty-something or whatever, you got ripped off – you know what I mean? I always felt like I was meant to have been born in another era, another time.