Golden Globe-winning actor Johnny Depp spoke at Arizona State University this past saturday, March 12. The discussion was with professor Lawrence Krauss, well known in the field of theoretical physics and Foundation Professor in the school of Earth and Space exploration, as well as the physics department at ASU. Krauss knew that Depp would be the best to speak on the concept of finding creativity in madness, a segment of ASU’s origins project dialogue series.
“There is no one better in the world to talk about that with than Johnny Depp.”
“… the humanity of madness, revealing Depp’s experience and creative method as an actor… while exploring and unraveling the intricate links between creativity and madness…”
Depp is well known for his roles as characters that could easily be classified as mad. Some of these characters include Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Edward Scissorhands, and even the Mad Hatter himself in the 2010 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
Johnny Depp has admitted that he knew from his early life that there was something odd about him.
“[I] knew there was something abnormal in me or of me…”
Depp expressed his relief in the fact that he found an outlet to express his “madness” in art. Depp also went on to say that he hoped that anyone that might be struggling to come to terms with their own particular brand of madness would also find an outlet similar to the way he has.
This is not the first time that Johnny Depp and Lawrence Krauss have come in contact. In fact, they have become rather good friends ever since the Talk given by Krauss in Los Angeles. Depp attended this talk with his wife, Amber Heard. At some point during the event Depp, introduced himself to Krauss, and from there the friendship grew.
“I walked right up to him and said, ‘My name is Johnny Depp, and you’re my hero.’ “
Depp also mentioned that he had somewhat of an addiction to YouTube and how he would consistently watch talks by Prof. Krauss.
An important concept to take from Depp’s discussion on his experience with madness in his acting life is that you must have a sense of humor. Depp, being someone who was capable of owning every one of his flaws and mishaps along the journey of his career, shared a number of hilarious anecdotes about the creation of some of his characters. Specifically, Depp shared a tidbit about the time during the filming of Edward Scissorhands, in which he attempted to make coffee while under the effects of ecstasy and encumbered by his scissor hands. In line with this concept of being able to laugh at yourself is the ability to look at the small things in life. Krauss showed a clip from Pirates of the Caribbean, in which Depp’s character, Jack Sparrow, was having a conversation with himself. While in the midst of a huge crisis, this scene shows Captain Jack more concerned of the well-being of his peanut than anything else. It’s these small quirks in his characters that have made many of them the successes that they are — whether it be Captain Jack’s focus on less than important details in a situation, or the Mad Hatter’s habit of speaking with his eyes closed (a trait that was inspired by one of his child’s tutors). While patiently awaiting the release of Alice: Through the Looking Glass to see what kind of madness Johnny Depp has in store for us now, why not check out the full interview with Depp here?