Johnny Depp: How Pirates of the Caribbean star inspired actor to become Hollywood director | Films | Entertainment

Back in the late 1980s, Johnny Depp starred in the original 21 Jump Street TV series as Officer Tom Hanson. During one episode called Awomp-Bomp-Aloobomb, Aloop Bamboom, he acted opposite Shawn Levy as Lance. The latter would go on to be a Hollywood director, most recently working with Ryan Reynolds on Free Guy and The Adam Project, and he thanks the Pirates of the Caribbean star for inspiring him in his filmmaking career.

When Levy first moved to Los Angeles to pursue working in Hollywood, he was unsure whether he wanted to focus on acting or director.

After landing a role in 21 Jump Street opposite Depp, he recalled greeting the star on set.

Speaking with WSJ magazine, Levy remembered saying to him: “Hi, Mr Depp. My name’s Shawn Levy. I’m so excited to be here.”

How the future Captain Jack Sparrow star responded would go on to influence him significantly.

Depp, pretending to be a marionette, replied to Levy: “Welcome to the puppet show. You like to dance, puppet? Because that’s what you do for a living now. Dance, puppet, dance.” 

This made Levy think: “Maybe I want to direct and hold the strings.”

By 1997, he was directing his own movies, which would include films like Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther and the Night at the Museum trilogy.

Meanwhile, the creatively frustrated Depp wanted to get away from being the bland handsome lead and took on some more interesting character parts.

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This saw Depp star in films like Edward Scissorhands and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

He may have said he wasn’t “blockbuster boy”, but the star would go to make five Pirates of the Caribbean movies, being Oscar-nominated for the first.

The 58-year-old was briefly playing Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movies being asked to resign by Warner Bros after losing his libel case in the UK courts.

He will next be portraying King Louis XV in a currently untitled movie by French filmmaker Maïwenn.


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