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Why Depp Plays With Barbie Dolls

by Evelyn Moore and Corrine Barraclough
3AM Magazine
October 13, 2004

‘I love playing with Barbie dolls’

Hollywood’s finest export, Johnny Depp, talks about shunning celebrity, his love affair with France and why playing with Barbie dolls keeps him sane.

He’s one of the sexiest stars in Hollywood but Johnny Depp couldn’t be less bothered about his A-List Hollywood heart-throb status. The 41-year-old hunk prefers the simple life with his family in France to the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown.

But don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of those smouldering come-to-bed eyes, girls. Johnny’s back in two films this month. Starring along side him in The Libertine is Samantha Morton and funny man Johnny Vegas, in which Johnny D plays the lead as a drunken 17th-century poet. Dreamy Depp also shares a screen with Kate Winslet in Finding Neverland, the story of JM Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

And if that isn’t enough to keep Deppfans happy, you can also start fantasizing about his return as Jack Sparrow in the sequel to box-office smash Pirates of the Caribbean . . .

You’ve always been labeled as a bit of a rebel in Hollywood—is that true?

Well, I’ve never thought of myself that way! I never got that whole rebel thing, you know, the rebellious image. It was something they slapped on me just to have a name for the product, I think!

Maybe it’s also because you’re no pushover?

Well, my mum told me never to take any shit from anybody. That’s probably the best advice I’ve ever been given.

Fair enough. You’ve always done such different roles, we couldn’t pigeonhole you even if we wanted to.

I think the second you get pigeonholed, one of two things happens. You either become rich and successful, or it’s game over. If you find something that you’re good at and stick to it, your life as an actor becomes unfulfilling and I think that’s unfair to the audience.

So you like to surprise yourself?

Yeah. Every time I start on a new movie I say to myself: "This may be the one where I lose big time. This may be the one where it’s too much or not enough." I think that’s essential as an actor.

Have you changed since you’ve had kids?

Oh, definitely. I would say that kiddies give you strength and perspective. There are things that would have made me upset or angry before, but now I can just go, "Oh, piss off. I’m going to play Barbies with my daughter!"

Does your daughter, Lily-Rose, understand what you do for a living?

No, not yet. She has seen a couple of my films, such as Edward Scissorhands, but it hasn’t really registered with her that Daddy is an actor. In fact, she thinks Daddy’s a pirate.

A pirate?

Yeah . . . There was a woman in a restaurant who asked Lily-Rose what her parents did, and she said: "Well, my mummy’s a singer." And the woman said, "Oh yeah? What does your daddy do?" And she replied: “My daddy’s a pirate."

How funny. And your son’s still too young to understand about your career?

Yeah, Jack has a primitive vocabulary at this point.

Do you like having both a boy and a girl?

The differences between a little girl and a little boy are incredible. She’s very elegant and everything around her has to be perfect, whereas my boy stands up and screams like some god-awful warrior and then runs straight into the wall. He falls down, shakes it off and does it again!

Lily-Rose will be pleased that you’re doing a sequel to Pirates. You must have really enjoyed the first one . . .

Oh yeah. The amount of fun that I had on the first one was criminal. There were moments where the director and I would look at each other and just go: "Do you actually believe we’re getting paid for doing this? This isn’t a job!" So with the original team coming back, it’s a no-brainer, really.

Who inspired those crazy rings in Pirates?

Oh, I’ve been wearing these skulls for a long, long time!

Is it true that you’ve never watched What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

I don’t watch most of my films. I always figured that once my job is done then anything beyond that is none of my business. So if I can avoid seeing the final product I will, because then all I have in my head is the good experience, and I feel very good about the experience.

Do you miss Hollywood at all now that you live in France?

Oh, being in France has done wonders for my relationship with Hollywood! I’m so removed from it I don’t know anything any more—I don’t know who anybody is, who’s rich, who’s poor, who’s successful, who’s a drag. I don’t know anyone. So it’s great, I come in, and I don’t have to think about anything but my work.

Would you ever move back to Hollywood?

I still live there sometimes; well, I go back and forth. But I wouldn’t move back full-time, no. I certainly don’t want to raise my kids there.

So what is it about France you love so much?

I’ve been drawn to France for years. I’ve never really understood why, and then I went over there in 1998 to do a movie with the director Roman Polanski. I met my girl and never left! She got pregnant, had a baby, and it’s really refreshing to be away from America.

Johnny stars in The Libertine, which opens on 22 October, and Neverland, out in cinemas from 29 October.

10 things you never knew about Johnny . . .

-- donated by DeepinDepp