Johnny Depp's 10 Most Outrageous Roles

In last year’s box-office flop The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp played a Wild West-taming Tonto, which stirred up a bit of controversy. Still, anyone who has followed Depp’s career over the last couple of decades would note that Tonto is no more contentious than a cockeyed swashbuckler in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, a tripped-out Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or a colorful Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, just to name a few. Depp has made a career out of bringing to life oddball personalities, some more honestly than others. In honor of his birthday on June 9th, here are 10 of his greatest onscreen manifestations:

Cry-Baby (1990)

Cry Baby Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp played the title character in John Waters’ 1950s parody, which successfully spoofed both Elvis Presley and the ’70s juvenile delinquent film Scared Straight! His character was named for his uncanny ability to shed a single tear whenever he became emotional.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands Edward Scissorhands Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

In his first collaboration with Tim Burton, Depp played a shy, artificial man named Edward, whose creator passed away before he was able to give him a set of human hands, leaving him with gigantic scissors instead. Luckily, Edward finds a career as a hedge trimmer and hair stylist.

Benny & Joon (1993)

Benny Benny and Joon Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Eccentric silent-screen icon Buster Keaton was the inspiration for Depp’s role as Sam in this charming story of an oddball drifter who falls for a woman emotionally detached from the world around her.

Ed Wood (1994)

Ed Wood Ed Wood Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp showed his comedic chops with his over-the-top portrayal of 1950s cult movie auteur and self-proclaimed transvestite Ed Wood, who many in Hollywood regard as the worst director of all time. Burton, Depp’s longtime partner in weird, directed the biopic for their second collaboration.

Don Juan DeMarco (1994)

johnny depp don juan demarco Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp charmed audiences with his portrayal of a young man convinced he’s actually the fabled Spanish lover Don Juan. Set in modern day New York, “Don Juan” finds himself instantly enamored with nearly everyone who crosses his path at a mental institution.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp continued to expand his horizons, taking audiences on a trippy, mescaline-laced walk on the wild side for this film, in which he played a high Hunter S. Thompson on an outrageous adventure in the desert.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Never one to embrace big-budget studio pictures, the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the film based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks allowed Depp to do just that. Though most would probably wager that the opportunity to tap into his inner Keith Richards is the real reason why Depp took the part.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp took a risk reprising the role of Willy Wonka made famous by Gene Wilder in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The reviews were mixed (Wilder panned it), as Depp straddled the line between affable and eerie.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Sweeney Todd Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

The dark Stephen Sondheim musical directed by (who else?) Burton centers on Depp as Sweeney Todd, a barber out for revenge against any and all who have wronged him.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Mad Hatter Alice in Wonderland Johnny Depps 10 Most Outrageous Roles

Depp’s version of the tea-guzzling, colorful carpetbagger known as Tarrant Hightopp (the Mad Hatter) is sneering and eccentric, and undoubtedly one of his most humorous onscreen creations to date.


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