When they were first courting but making films at separate locations, Johnny Depp sent Winona Ryder two hundred helium balloons one night.
"She could barely walk to the phone to say thank you, they took up so much room," he says, still pleased with himself.
Winona, as in "Winona Forever," as the tattoo on his arm proclaims, is currently filming The Age of Innocence, Martin Scorsese's adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel, in upstate New York. Johnny, meanwhile, is writing a movie with his brother. "It's not about the child within," he jokes. "It's basically about good and evil and believing in something."
The star of John Water's Cry-Baby and Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, Johnny will next be seen in The Arrowtooth Waltz, due in the early fall. He plays the Eskimo-obsessed Axel Blackmar, whom he describes as "a more positive Holden Caulfield." Axel is living in his pickup truck in New York when his best friend arrives from Arizona, kidnaps him, and brings him home to work for his uncle, played by Jerry Lewis, who runs the local Cadillac dealership. Axel falls in love with a customer, portrayed by Faye Dunaway. "So we have a kind of love affair," he explains.
One day toward the end of shooting, Jerry Lewis came to Johnny's trailer carrying his good-luck patent leather boots in a bag and told him that they had been on stage with the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr., and that he had performed in them before the King of Sweden. "And then he hands them to me," Johnny recalls. "They have nice scuffs on the bottom. I have them up in my house, like a kind of shrine to him."