The two sides of Johnny Depp are currently very much on display. On one hand, you have the restrained Depp, looking natty in a period-specific suit playing John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” The other side of Depp can be seen in the newly released promotional shots from his turn as The Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
“After doing something like John Dillinger, a performance where it’s so restrained because of the responsibility you have to that guy, the Mad Hatter was like being fired out of a cannon,” Depp tells reporters at the junket for “Public Enemies.” “The Hatter was great fun and, again, it’s one of those things where you’re just amazed that that I’m not fired. I truly am.”
In addition to his umpteenth collaboration with Burton, Depp has a schedule so busy even he doesn’t know which films are coming next. After “Public Enemies,” “Alice in Wonderland,” the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation “The Rum Diary” and “Rango,” an animated reunion with “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski, Depp’s possibilities are myriad.
The opinions include a turn as Tonto in a slowly gestating take on “The Lone Ranger.”
“We’re still in the super-beginning stages so there’s all kind of possibilities, but I feel like I have some good ideas for the characters that are interesting, that I don’t think have been done before,” he says.
But then there are the reports that Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney would rather get moving on “Pirates 4,” a project Depp sounds ready for, but only if he gets the right script.
“Obviously virtually no cinema’s perfect so “Pirates One” had its own thing, “Two” and “Three,” I suppose, had their own thing and it got a little confusing here and there in the story, not that I’ve seen the movies, but I hear tell,” Depp says. “I think, for me, because I love the character so much and I enjoy playing the character so much and people seem to like it, if there’s an opportunity to try again, you know, it’s like going up to bat. You want to get back out there and try and try and try and see what you can do. I enjoy playing Captain Jack very much.”
When a reporter suggested that by now, Jack Sparrow is such a beloved character that the actual story is secondary or tertiary, Depp laughs and adds, “Well, at this point, what I’m trying to do is change it into a Beckett play.”
Another potential vehicle that may be hovering on Depp’s horizon is Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” The first stab at “Don Quixote” was plagued by a Job-ian series of misfortunes and was eventually ditched, leaving only the documentary “Lost in La Mancha” behind. Recently, though, Gilliam has been saying he’d like to try again.
“I mean, I love Terry and I’d do, personally, anything the guy wants to do,” Depp says. “The thing is, with ‘Quixote,’ first, you know, my dance card is pretty nutty for the next couple of years, so I’d hate to have to put him in a position or ask him to be in a position to wait for me. That would be wrong. But, also, I don’t know, in a way. I feel like we went there and we tried something and whatever it was, the elements and all the things that got up underneath us were there and happened and were documented well and were documented well in the film “Lost in La Mancha,” so I don’t know if it’s, I hope it’s right for me to go back there. I don’t know if it’s right for Terry to, but if he wants to…”
For now, you can catch Depp in “Public Enemies,” which opens on Wednesday, July 1.