As far as horror maestros go, Wes Craven was among the best, first sharpening his dastardly dagger on shocking ’70s vehicles, before blasting away the sensibilities of moviegoers with 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. In 1996, Craven would cold water bathe the genre with Scream, but a battle with brain cancer eventually took the man from this Earth in August. Johnny Depp, who scored his first acting gig on Elm Street, participated in a Q&A at a screening of his new film Black Mass on Monday night during the TIFF, and he had nothing but kind words for the late auteur.
Wes Craven was the guy who gave me my start, from my perspective, for almost no reason in particular. I read scenes with his daughter when I auditioned for the part. At the time, I was a musician. I wasn’t really acting. It was not anything very near to my brain or my heart, which is pretty much how it remains to this day.
Depp went on to elaborate more on the process of getting casted for Craven’s breakout horror feature.
But Wes Craven was brave enough to give me the gig based on his daughter’s opinion. I guess she had read with a bunch of actors, and after the casting sessions, she said, ‘No, that’s the guy.’ I always think of her for putting me in this mess, and certainly Wes Craven for being very brave to give me this gig. But he was a good man — so rest in peace, old Wes.
Depp has since racked up more than 70 acting credits to his name, but it all started with a belly shirt and a bloody bed. Thanks, Wes.