You know what I really miss? Johnny Depp as recognizably human characters.
I feel this pang every time I see a commercial for Alice in Wonderland with that orange fright wig. I fell for Johnny as Crybaby and Edward Scissorhands and I was thrilled when the whole planet fell hard for him (finally!) when Captain Jack Sparrow arrived on a sinking ship. But over the years Cartoon Johnny has become the brand. Seeing Johnny work his dramatic muscles? Fuhgeddaboudit. I thought we'd go there last year with Public Enemies but something didn't quite take.
It's not that I don't love the stylized cartoons. Nobody does that better... but I think some grounded stretching might be artistically rejuvenating. Lately my mind keeps drifting back to Donnie Brasco (1997) one of his best and least discussed performances. I'd love to see him do something like that soon.
It'd be especially thrilling if he was paired with an actress as fiercely individualistic as himself again. Anne Heche is absolutely special in that movie. The multitude of beats and backstory grudges and thorny specificity and sexual attraction she works into that performed relationship is quite a feat. She so deserved an Oscar nomination that year. And deserved more from Hollywood in general.
Where was I? Heche stole the movie from everyone and now she's stealing this post from Johnny! I would have nominated them both that year. My lists woulda looked like so...
1997 Best Actor
Russell Crowe, LA Confidential
Johnny Depp, Donnie Brasco
Christopher Guest, Waiting For Guffman*
Ian Holm, The Sweet Hereafter
and I'll leave one spot open since I somehow have still never seen Robert Duvall in The Apostle
1997 Best Supporting Actress
Kim Basinger, LA Confidential
Anne Heche, Donnie Brasco
Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights
Parker Posey, Waiting For Guffman
Christina Ricci, The Ice Storm
Are you looking forward to Mad Hatter Johnny or do you want something less Mad sometime real soon?
*Yes, that's a 1997 movie. IMDb confuses people. It was released in 1997