Johnny Depp, The Anticipated Performance (Part 2).

Johnny Depp’s Performances


To study a star, viewers need to look deeply at their performance. Performance is looking through their facial expression, voice, gestures, body posture, and movement. It is when the action is done, and how the lines are said. The criteria above help viewer in understanding the movie and allow them to give an interpretation to the film. Film director have been making use of the star’s performance as part of the film’s mise en scene. Actor’s performance may define on how viewers understand and interpret the scene. So instead on looking at the mise en scene, this theory is telling the viewers to analyze it through the star performance. The theory of representational was when the performance separated between the fictional character and the actual actor. Star persona may have an effect with the stars in films. Richard Dyer divides casting into three types, selective use, ideal fit, and problematic fit. Selective casting is when aspects of the actors being used in the characters while the others are being ignored. Ideal fit is when the character of the film suits the character of the actor. Problematic fit is where there is a contradiction with the star’s image. Sometimes as the movie goes, some stars develop into their persona. When people mention Johnny Depp’s movie, people will immediately think about all animate characters movie that he was part of. Johnny Depp is an actor that fit to the three types of casting. But he is famous for being in a problematic fit casting. He tends to challenges himself by taking on a difficult role.  He played too many animated characters to the point where it is very unreal to see him playing a normal character. Despite that, many of his performances has a huge impact on the types of role that he will play in future films. This will be more explored through his performance in Edward Scissorhands and Finding Neverland.

Johnny Depp is famous for taking role in animated characters, characters that does not exist in real life. Edward Scissorhands is one of the many animated characters that he played. Edward Scissorhands is the protagonist in Tim Burton’s film of the same name. He might seem to be a normal human being, but unfortunately he has scissors as his hand. He his being presented as half human and half monster, normal and pathological. Edward Scissorhands is socially awkward due to his condition and minimum interaction with other human beings. Johnny Depp’s performance in Edward Scissorhands can be described as enchanting and even magical. Through his eyes glaze and awkwardness, it brings out the childlike innocence in Edward Scissorhands. One other distinct characteristic of him in this film was his voice. Although Johnny Depp only spoke 169 words in the movie but his voice brings out the misery of Edward Scissorhands. He recites each line with a straight face and very few amounts of emotions. His performance in this film may consider as a perfect fit casting. In many of the interviews, Tim Burton said that he knew that Johnny Depp was the perfect people to play this character. The way he carried his performance during the film will make viewers instantly fall in love and feel remorse for Edward.

Most actors are commonly known to have one distinct characteristic or gestures that are highlighted in their performance. James Naremore defines this as the star’s idiolect. For Johnny Depp, his childlike and innocence facial impression is his set of performing traits. These traits have been used by many another film that he is part of. Surprisingly, Johnny’s voice also changed depending on his role. Other than his real voice, Johnny has acted out almost more than thirty-five different accents in his film. His dark eyes and long eyelashes always represent the innocence of his characters. The quirkiness of his animated characters brings out the humor from his dark and gloomy characters. Even when Johnny is playing a normal human character, films use these character traits. To some extent his persona as the sexy and masculine guy are not being brought into the character that he is playing. Most of his roles are drawing upon his persona as being the mysterious and strange due to the cartoonish characterization of the role that he has taken upon. Although he is playing a normal human character, many performance traits from his fictional character being brought into the film. Example can be seen from his 2004 movie, Finding Neverland.

Finding Neverland is a semi-biographical film about J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. This movie talks about the relationship between Barrie and the Davies family, family who gave him the inspiration about Peter Pan. He was closed to Peter Davies, to which his name later on being use as Barrie fictional character Peter Pan. This film had received many praises and nominated for several awards. Through this film, Johnny Depp was nominated for best actor. Although J.M. Barrie was a real person but the character traits is just like any other role that Johnny Depp has taken on, innocence and childlike. J. M. Barrie is a person who is full of imagination and lives inside his imagination. Critics commented that Johnny did not play Barrie as a child but as a man who has a spirit of a child. In order to capture the essence, his voice changed to a more soft-spoken, gentle, and calming voice. To some extent his performance in this film could pass through as playing performance within a performance. It is when an actor is playing a character and that character is playing another character. In this case, Johnny Depp the actor is playing J.M. Barrie, and Barrie is playing a child, or as it was mention in the movie, he is Peter Pan himself. Because of the characters that have been played, Johnny has to some extent seems to be embodying the playfulness and adventurous J. M. Barrie.

Part 3


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