Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Johnny Depp: push-up bra, angora sweater and swell pumps

     Okay I saw Ed Wood  finally.  A lot of them were of Johnny Depp in drag (a favorite for trailers and previews). He is one brave guy. And not bad in angora sweaters, wool skirts and kitten heels. But it was the push up bra that made the outfit. 
      I have to admire an actor willing to take such chances. Especially those who pulled it off. The only others I can recall right off-hand are Patrick Swayze (RIP, glorious dancer), Nathan Lane (Birdcage), Guy Pearce (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) All three of those actors looked pretty good. It's depressing.....
     This isn't about parading around on Cinemascope in drag. It's about taking on roles that are so daring and then pulling them off. I recently watched a bio on Johnny Depp, part of a two-disk set put out by Biography called Silver Screen Mavericks. It is 300 wonderful minutes of interviews and footage of four actors labeled mavericks. I don't think Steve McQueen, one of them, was a maverick. He actually was quite conventional in his role choices. The essence of cool. The segment on him was still quite good, though. The other two were James Dean and Marlon Brando (buy that great TCM Leslie Greif bio two hours of Brando). I did not see Dean's segment, but he was not around long enough to have established  himself. Brando marched to his own drummer.
    But I love that Johnny Depp, the only one still among us, got the label. It is fitting. His role choices have been off-beat, like Cry Baby (a musical, almost?) I give him points for what he turned down, like the role that went to Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise. First it was offered to Depp.  He wants to do not just interesting and off-beat (Edward Scissorhand) but what also pleased him, what satisfied the artist him, even if it meant getting raked apart at Cannes (The Brave). The Brave, produced and written by Depp was so bad, it only got play in Europe. Better to try and fail than never to try at all.
   All in all, not bad for a kid who grew up in Miramar. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, just a few miles north of the sleepy Miramar a few years ahead of him. It was real easy in those days to get lost among the worthless Broward County school system growing so fast it couldn't possibly cope with the multitudes.
  Depp turned out a fine actor (loved Blow, Scissorhands, From Hell and that great Pirate franchise.
  See a scene from Depp's Silver Screen segment:

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