—Sauvage campaign was hugely succesful all over the world. What was it like working on set?
It was an interesting experience and I had the most beautiful impression. It’s been a little odd though - seeing billboards with my pictures - almost like an hallucination.
—In the image created by Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Dior Sauvage - is there anything from the real Johnny Depp?
When Jean-Baptiste looks at you he sort of dissects you: he removes layer by layer until he finds something interesting. This is how he discover the essence of a person.
The wolf, for example, is in there on purpose. The wolf is a loner, and a part of me is keep on seeking solitude. I always try to avoid crowds.
—So, are you a loner too?
I just like being in the shadow. I’m very shy and Jean-Baptiste got that. I feel more comfortable being in to a character than just being myself. If I have to stand up and purpose a toast, I’m just a disaster, but when a director says “ACTION” , the world is at my feet. I can do whatever I want behind the camera.
—Who would you also like to play? Are there any historical or contemporary heroes who inspires you?
There are people who inspire me, there are books that drive me crazy. “The Catcher In The Rye”, for instance. But no one should ever see Holden Caulfield on the screen. Just let him live within the readers’ imagination and be the character Salinger created. There are just great people they need to remain the same. Picasso, for example is one of them. You can’t show his greatness in a movie. Or, “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac. That book was my bible in my childhood and still means a lot to me, but I’ve never though it could be made into a movie. I have never seen the one has been made, although I know the director, Walter Salles, and he’s a wonderful man. The protagonist Sal Paradise is Jack Kerouac himself, and you can’t picture anybody on his place. In other words, there are people and books that should better not to be touched.
—How do you choose the movie you want to star in?
I usually get a picture of the script after the first ten pages. Actually, for me, three or four pages are enough to understand if I’m right for the part. I choose movies in which I can bring something new and original in terms of acting and character interpretation. If something touches me or if the plot thrills me, then I already visualize pictures in my mind, and in nine out of ten cases, the first ideas turn out to be the right ones. Kerouac Says: “First thought, best thought”. Hemingway thought so too. When he was asked how to become a great writer, he replied: “Write one true sentence”. Sounds easy but come to try it.
—Have you ever written anything for your own characters?
I’ve been rewriting my own lines for years now. Sometimes the script is perfect on the paper but then, once on the set, it turns out to be inappropriate as people in real life don’t talk or interact like that. So, I often change some bits, and for Jack Sparrow I basically rewrite it all. I gave up reading notes form the scripts. I don’t want to know in advance where I should stand or what I should do in a scene. Everything on the set should come naturally.
—You often are described as “cool”. What does this word mean to you?
I’ve always thought the coolest thing was to be yourself. Patti Smith is cool because she is honest and real. Iggy Pop is cool and real, as were Jim Morrison, Marlon Brando, Hunter S.Thompson.
Today a guy has told me that he volunteered for kids with HIV. This is what true courage is. His story touched me so deeply that we shared a hug. I worked a lot with the Make-A-Wish organization, a charity fund that helps to fulfill terminally ill kid’s wishes. They are in a horrible situation, they suffer acutely, but there’s no fear in their eyes, you can see only bravery and courage. And yes, that’s really cool for me.
[Johnny DEPP in InStyle Russia February Issue for DIOR]
(Photo credit; Photography Jean-Baptiste Mondino for Parfums Christian Dior