has played a variety of different characters in his . But there were certain roles he picked that he admitted could be a bit risky.
However, Depp’s choice in film roles was by design.
Depp’s filmography is filled with a diverse roster of characters with each having their own memorable traits. to , his range of roles has often been wide and unique. But on some level, there’s something that all of his characters have in common. And it’s this specific quality he targets when picking his films.
“You look for something that’s not necessarily based on something, something that’s not altogether formulaic,” Depp once said in an interview with . “You look for a character that someone has painstakingly written and offered you to play. What I get from it is the actual work, locating and building a character and trying to do something that hasn’t been done to death, that’s maybe a bit different.”
Depp also felt he owed it to his fans to make sure there was an element of risk in his roles.
“If you don’t explore fully, commit yourself fully to the character, to the director’s vision and to your vision and to the author’s vision I feel that I owe it to the people to try something because I’d hate to bore you, so if I don’t try something that could be potentially disastrous I don’t feel like I’m doing my work. I prefer when studios are scared,” he said.
Depp once revealed that he occasionally becomes so attached to his characters that leaving them behind could be emotionally distressing. It was one of the reasons why he appreciated playing a character like Jack Sparrow in
Because Jack is a part of a franchise, he didn’t have to say goodbye to his pirate alter-ego so soon. Which was ironic because originally he didn’t get the idea of sequels.
“I never quite understood the idea of doing sequels until . As an actor you think, ‘I’ve played this character for months and I’ve really gotten to love the guy,’ and then the clock starts ticking and you know the end is coming, which means you’ll never see him again,” Depp once told . “So you start to get depressed. With Jack Sparrow, though, I had a sneaking suspicion that I might see him again.”
Upon reflecting on his situation, he quipped that his attachment to his characters could be a little concerning.
“Selfishly, I was so excited to come back for 2 and 3 because I wanted to meet up with him again. It’s a very strange situation when, as a grown man, you start having separation anxiety with an imaginary character. It’s worrisome,” he said.
Depp isn’t just inspired to take a role by the possible challenges it might bring. The alum revealed he also takes on a role based on images he sees of other celebrities. In many instances, he would picture another actor while reading about a character.
“When I read a script, I get these images and ideas that come to me, and sometimes images of people come to me. Like , where I kept seeing Roddy McDowall and Angela Lansbury. With Captain Jack, Keith Richards became the inspiration because I started thinking of pirates as rock stars of the time,” he added.