Johnny Depp As Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow: Highlights Of A 33-Year Career [Opinion]

Johnny Depp has given the world so much, not just with entertaining movies, but creative films that provoke thought. The Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands actor has been choosy about the films he made and avoided anything without great meaning.

Johnny Depp movies don’t moralize or push an agenda. What they do is encourage a free thinking process. Though Johnny has made many different types of movies, there is no universal mood to them or overarching statement. Characters like Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow capture the imagination in a powerful way. The films are strongly creative, open-ended and don’t wrap up a single opinion at the end.

After Johnny Depp got his start in A Nightmare on Elm Street, in 1984, he began a slow rise to the top. Dummies, Lady Blue, and Private Resort in 1985 were followed by R.P.G, RPG II, Slow Burn, Platoon, Hotel, and Cry-Baby. These Johnny Depp films began drawing some public attention according to IMBd, but it was Johnny’s 1987 – 1990 role in 21 Jump Street gave him heartthrob status.

Johnny Depp’s 1990 breakout title role in Edward Scissorhands put him on the map as a fledgling superstar, but his script was minimal. Edward Scissorhands touched hearts in a powerful way, but spoke only 169 words in the entire film according to the Telegraph.

Johnny Depp met with fierce competition for the title role in Edward Scissorhands. Many Hollywood superstars were rejected so that Depp could become Edward Scissorhands.

Michael Jackson wanted the Edward Scissorhands role, and so did Tom Cruise, Jim Carry, William Hurt and Robert Downey Jr. Only Johnny Depp met Tim Burton’s vision for Edward Scissorhands. Tim Burton didn’t know Johnny well at all when he cast him, but Johnny’s audition must have been exactly what Burton wanted.

Johnny Depp’s role as Edward Scissorhands spoke about materialism, conformity, and the unfair consequences of nonconformity, but it was presented in a way that cast a fair light on both sides. The movie touches on a number of issues, but suffering for uniqueness, and perhaps also for the lack of it, is perhaps the biggest theme.

Johnny Depp, then at age 27, didn’t know where his career was going when he took the role of Edward Scissorhands. At the time, he spoke frankly about the projected length of his career, according to the Telegraph.

“I may be around for 20 or 30 years, or 20 or 30 minutes. Who knows?”

Johnny Depp was so uncertain of his future in 1990 that he kept his Edward Scissorhands costume just in case according to the Telegraph.

“I still have the leather suit and the hands. At least I have something to fall back on. If things don’t work out, in a couple of years I may be doing birthday parties at McDonald’s – as Edward. You know, 200 bucks a party.”

Johnny Depp AKA Jack Sparrow and Hollywood Vampires member
Johnny Depp AKA Jack Sparrow and Hollywood Vampires member [Image by Matt Sayles/AP Images]

If Johnny Depp was unsure of himself in those days, it certainly didn’t show. J0hnny Depp was a master of an actor who chose edgy roles, and cerebral movies that were frankly risky.

Pirates of the Caribbean was perhaps Johnny Depp’s most well-received film. By 2003, The actor was a well-established superstar, known for far more than his role in Edward Scissorhands, though Edward Scissorhands remained Johnny’s most memorable role until he portrayed Jack Sparrow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and especially his Jack Sparrow role re-established Johnny’s heartthrob image powerfully. Depp was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2003.

Johnny Depp becoming People’s Sexiest Man Alive due to a Disney Movie is pretty amazing. Reaction to Jack Sparrow must have been a tremendous surprise, considering Jack Sparrow was portraying a friend of Orlando Bloom’s father, yet the much older Depp, strangely overshadowed Bloom as the leading man.

Becoming a heartthrob was never one of Johnny’s goals though. Instead, Johnny always sought artistic quality in film making.


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Pirates of the Caribbean was certainly one of those unforgettable, and haunting Johnny Depp masterpieces. Something about that film seemed to tap into a Jungian subconscious theory of archetypes. The vision of the film dove into the subconscious mind of the viewers.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, and also Edward Scissorhands are Depp’s two best-known roles.

[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision AP Images]