Movie Art  ( Biographies, Genres, Directors, Actors...etc. )

  Back to SHUNGA Main Page.

  Back to INDEX Page.

  For free publication of this article see INDEX Page !

Johnny Depp Vs Tom Cruise: What is Good Acting?


When you see an actor work, it is quite unpleasant. It is the guts and the delight that is so admiring in > Johnny Depp (1963) and what makes him so distinguishing from an actor like > Tom Cruise (1962). This article will focus on their various approaches to acting.

Short Introduction to Johnny Depp

Depp, born in Florida, actually wanted to be a rockstar as a teenager but became heading towards it (and without an education) actor. In 1984 he started this career with A Nightmare on Elm Street, he became famous when he appeared in the television series 21 Jump Street (1987).

He played in many > Tim Burton films, first in Edward Scissorhands (1990), then Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), with his voice in Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and recently in Alice in Wonderland (2010). Depp often portrays the almost idiotic, unconciously obscure man. Or he is completely over the top as in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam, 1998) and the Pirates of the Caribbean-series (Gore Verbinski). He is more serious in Dead Man (Jim Jarmursch, 1995) although he also creates a crazy edge to this character. Typical Johnny Depp films: Cry Baby (John Waters, 1990) and What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Lass hallström, 1993).


 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Gore Verbinski, 2003)

  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Gore Verbinski, 2003)


As it will be apparent from the foregoing introduction a discussion on Johnny Depp's acting style is almost inevitable without talking about the 
Tim Burton movies he appeared in. We will do so, using his Edward Scissorhands, later on. First we'll take a look at Jarmusch's Dead Man.

In one of the first scenes of this film Johnny Depp enters an office in the belief of finding work. But everything in Dead Man is completely different, nothing is what it seems. Depp plays a man who perhaps, against all odds, maintains. He is persistent to achieve his goal. That this not will happen, is very obvious. Depp takes his time, almost identical to his character William Blake. The wonder and amazement he shows in that scene, followed by an odd persistence, is played by Depp with an incredible peace. He has the courage to do that. He stays, so to speak, on his own track.


Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)

            Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995)


Depp often played the eccentric stranger, the man who enters a world unknown to him. Depp's physical presence is often enough already, in advance he gives something extra to a film. The face that often remains unmoved, the peculiar features, the astonishment with at the same time the mocking, lends itself well to the innocence in his roles.

This specific talent of Depp is particularly noticeable in Edward Scissorhands. The boy with the scissors-fingers moves stiffly, unfinished. When he enters dowdy America, he is like a young child, astonished. Depp often looks incredibly sad but that's not because he lays it on thick. Director Burton has avoided that trap by making up Depp's face with a 'sad' expression. It gives Depp the opportunity to keep to himself, to act pure.


Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)

Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)

Tom Cruise

Opposite to the Scissorhands character is Depp's portrayal of the idiotic captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean -series. In the press it was suggested that Depp was inspired by the Rolling Stones-guitarist Keith Richards. With pulled up eyebrows, always slightly drifting, Sparrow walks through his pirate life. No one else like Johnny Depp can exude so much pleasure in portraying the role of an implausible sucker hero. Depp does want he wants to do. He is not trying to be liked. It's like he says: this is what I am and this is what I do. Nothing more, nothing less.

In interviews in the past Depp often told that he chooses his roles because he believes in the film, not because he can stand out himself. While someone like Tom Cruise, for instance, wants to seem sexy all the time. Well, that has to be the choice of the viewer himself off course, not of 
Tom Cruise. Cruise almost tries to get to the viewer on a physical level. And so he leaves us, as a viewer, no room for our imagination.


With an actor like Johnny Depp you, as the viewer, move towards him. He is aware of the interpretative role of the viewer. Cruise is so aware of how he plays that's why he is only focused on the effect he wants to create pulling out all the stops. He decides for the viewer. Off course, Depp also prepares for his roles but he remains close to himself. He really dares. There is no shyness or shame but also no arrogance. He uses no tricks. 
To use a 'tedious' word: Johnny Depp is authentic!

Click here for more articles on > the art of film


Contact Us   or    Info Phone etc.


 Coevorden  ( The Netherlands )


  Back to SHUNGA Main Page.

For free publication of this article see Index Page 45

  Back to INDEX Page.

© 2009 - - All rights reserved - 02-12-2009