Johnny Depp’s representatives have recently shut down talk about his return as Jack Sparrow (per CNN). While the actor is preparing to film his latest movie, the catalog of his roles remains vast spanning from television to, in later decades, film.
Every time he appears on screen, he steals the show, and it is no mystery why he has become such a household name. Since his first appearance in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, Depp has played a wide array of interesting and lovable characters. Over at Ranker, fans have helped decide the most popular and influential roles of his entire career.
J.M. Barrie (Finding Neverland)
Perhaps an underrated role, how Johnny Depp portrays playwright J.M. Barrie and demonstrates the character’s relationship with a family that will later inspire him to write Peter Pan is done so so sincerely that it is truly a welcome departure from his usual characters. His performance in the film even secured him a nomination for an Academy Award.
Finding Neverland allows fans of Depp to see him in a more heartfelt and realistic role, as it is one of the few roles in which he plays a real person. Depp was drawn to the role because he could identify with Barrie’s instinct for staying in touch with his childlike imagination [via NPR]. Depp was allowed to delve deep into a unique and interesting perspective unlike many of his previous characters.
Victor Van Dort (Corpse Bride)
Johnny Depp lends his voice to Victor Van Dort in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and uses the unique blend of awkwardness and confidence he often brings to many of his roles. Victor works hard to balance the two worlds he is thrown into and tries to keep everyone in his life happy. Johnny Depp easily makes Victor Van Dort one of the most memorable characters in the film.
As Victor Van Dort Johnny Depp manages to lead the audience into a new world and get them to fully immerse themselves into the gothic claymation world that is the Corpse Bride. Depp is hailed for consistently throwing himself deep into whatever role he lands including animated ones. As one of the classic Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaborations, Depp’s performance as Victor was destined to leave its mark on fans.
Sam (Benny & Joon)
Benny & Joon is the closest thing Johnny Depp has come to a rom-com and the quirky and eccentric way in which his character Sam interacts with Joon charms not only her but the entire audience as well. How Depp manages to display immense chemistry with all of his female costars is part of the reason his characters become so likable.
The physical comedy Depp shows as he portrays Sam is some of the best moments of the entire film. It fits the character of Sam, who is illiterate, so much because the unique form of physical comedy lends itself to this unique character who otherwise does not communicate too well.
Willy Wonka (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)
As the wacky chocolatier in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Depp manages to completely disappear into the role with an utterly unrecognizable voice and mannerisms. Depp becomes a whole different person in the film as he leads the children around his fantastical shop, and his childlike characteristics make him one of the most likable characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The 2005 film is often praised for embracing the darker undertones of the character, and many fans feel that it is because of Johnny Depp’s incredible performance . Throughout his career, Depp has always managed to stay in touch with his eccentric personality and bring a part of him to every role.
Gilbert Grape (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape)
This coming-of-age tale features a young Johnny Depp as Gilbert who alongside Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie has to take care of their mother. Depps’ portrayal of Gilbert, like many of his roles, was very well received by critics and fans alike. He had great on-screen chemistry with young Leonardo and was able to allow his co-star receive a lot of attention from critics for the film.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was a turning point for Johnny Depp and placed him as a serious romantic leading man and dramatic actor. His portrayal of Gilbert as a family-oriented young man who was struggling to balance his obligation to his family and desire to do more is one of his most mature performances to date.
Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street)
Johnny Depp has an eccentric rockstar-like personality that lends itself to roles like Sweeney Todd. A heartbroken barber in Victorian-era London who is set out for revenge almost seems like it was written for Johnny Depp. Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street partners Depp with Helena Bohnam-Carter in an encapsulating performance and together they create an experience that is unforgettable for audiences.
Being based on a broadway musical, Depp had some big shoes to fill, and even though he is not necessarily known for his vocals he was able to hold his own amongst a talented cast. The subtle way in which Depp portrays the heartbreak of Sweeney Todd as well as his anger puts the audience on edge throughout Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow)
Johnny Depp solidified his role as an A-list actor and partnered yet again with Tim Burton to bring to life the iconic Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. Depp delivers a nearly perfect performance as the police constable because he was able to completely immerse himself into the role and leave audiences amazed at how he was able to mix small amounts of humor in an otherwise spooky tale.
Sleepy Hollow, like many movies in Depp’s filmography, feature dark or quirky storylines and often features a gothic aesthetic. Despite this, Johnny Depp manages to make each role feel distinctly different from one another, and Ichabod Crane is a perfect example of how Johnny Depp is and will remain a very talented character actor.
The Hatter (Alice In Wonderland)
Johnny Depp delivers an incredibly compelling and entertaining performance as the Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland. Depp brings his signature aesthetic and wit to the classic fairy tale and breathes new light into the beloved and well-known character. The Mad Hatter is a more energetic character than in some of his earlier roles, and it shows the range he has as an actor.
Depp’s charisma and charm have grabbed the heart of many fans leading some to continue to cosplay Depp’s Mad Hatter years after the film. Johnny Depp is unforgettable in the film and proves that he can truly play any character. Fans can all agree that this has quickly become one of his most influential and memorable roles of all time.
Edward Scissorhands (Edward Scissorhands)
Nothing but pure perfection can be expected when Johnny Depp and Tim Burton work together, and this is perhaps most true with 1990’s classic Edward Scissorhands. Johnny Depp’s timid and soft-spoken characterizations led audiences to instantly fall in love with this character and make Edward Scissorhands Tim Burton’s most iconic character.
Since being released, this film has largely been hailed as one of Depp’s best performances of all time. Johnny Depp draws inspiration from his own life for many of his roles and he recently revealed that his inspiration for Edward Scissorhands was based on a cross between a baby and one of his dogs, which could also be why many fans feel so much for this character.
Jack Sparrow (Pirates Of The Caribbean)
Johnny Depp’s performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean was so compelling and likable that it helped launch one of the biggest film franchises in Disney’s history. Who would have guessed a movie based on a theme park ride would become successful enough to produce five films. This success is heavily reliant on Depp and his portrayal of Jack Sparrow.
Depp’s most popular role, Captain Jack Sparrow is beloved by many, not just fans of the actor. Because of the way Depp perfectly displays the pirate’s unique and quirky personality the role is regarded as the best character Depp has played thus far in his illustrious career. Even if Pirates of the Caribbean continues, fans all agree that no other actor could play this iconic role.