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Actor Johnny Depp Finds Substance in Film Platoon

By Debbie Blaylock, Staff Writer
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
February 4, 1987

In the spring of 1985 after filming Nightmare on Elm Street and Private Resort, actor Johnny Depp said he was "ready for something with more substance than chasing girls and running down hallways."

Today, the Miramar High School graduate is being watched by millions of movie-goers in the highly acclaimed movie Platoon.

Some critics describe as the first realistic depiction of the Vietnam War. Director and writer Oliver Stone drops Depp and the rest of the dirty, sweat-soaked platoon into a jungle heavy with the stench of death.

To describe it in one word: intense.

"For the first week or so, he didn't know if he would make it," said John Depp of Hallandale, Johnny's father. "For two weeks before they started filming, they made Johnny and the others live in the jungle.

"It was 115 degrees by eight in the morning. It was just mud and swarms of ants. They slept in two-man foxholes and didn't get much sleep, and they ate out of cans."

Johnny is currently filming a series for TV in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was unavailable for comment.

In 1983, Depp, the lead guitarist in The Kids rock band, left south Broward for Hollywood, Calif., looking for a record deal.

How Depp broke into acting sounds like a movie script itself. A woman who worked at a recording studio saw The Kids perform at some no-name bar. She convinced Depp to audition for a role in the television series Fame. Depp was one of the final four auditioners before the producer showed him the door. He decided to pursue music instead of fame on the silver screen.

However, playing at out-of-the-way bars for $25 a night didn't pay the bills, so Depp sold T-shirts and worked at telephone solicitation.

Meanwhile, a friend, actor Nicolas Cage, introduced Depp to his agent and persuaded the musician to give acting another chance.

That's when Depp auditioned and earned a role in writer and director Wes Craven's thriller Nightmare on Elm Street.

Since then, Depp has worked on a now-defunct television series, Lady Blue, and starred in a Showtime-produced show and other programs.

-- donated by Emma

-- Photos added by Zone editors