Johnny Depp: Reality TV “Is Like Watching A Fire”
Johnny Depp talks to longtime friend Iggy Pop for Interview magazine’s April cover story, opening up about everything from reality TV to his smoking habit.
“People get famous now for I-don’t-know-what. People have reality shows because they’re a Hollywood socialite, and these things become very successful and they generate a sh*tload of money for the company,” the actor tells Pop. Depp continues, “And it’s multiplying, to where you’re literally looking into your next door neighbor’s bathroom with reckless abandon. It is like watching a fire. You can’t take your eyes off of it.” “Everything can be a reality show now. Imagine what’s it going to be in 20 f*cking years, man,” he adds.
Depp’s upcoming movie Transcendence is also concerned with the future, featuring the movie star as a doctor obsessed with artificial intelligence. He tells Pop, “What fascinated me more than anything is the correlation between technology and power — the idea that a guy who is able to download his sentient being into a machine can become god, or a version of god. Religion is a fascinating black hole to me.”
Unlike many of his other roles, the part didn’t require any outrageous makeup or hairstyling, but Depp admits, “I love the idea of changing my look.” “I think one owes it to the audience, to go out there and give them something different each time, so as not to bore them to death,” he explains. “And I always felt that if you’re not trying something different each time out of the gate, you’re being safe, and you don’t ever want to find that place of safety.”
Depp notes, “I like that, each time, before I even go in front of the cameras, the studio’s reaction will be fear.” “They have those hideous pangs of fear where they go, ‘He’s f*cking killing the movie,'” he says laughingly, admitting, “And I can’t argue with them, because I might be.”
“But I just know for the character that this is the right thing to do,” says Depp. “And I’ve always enjoyed hiding behind these characters.” He continues, “It’s a strange thing, you’re more comfortable as a character than you are in life. You know what I mean? I could stand up in front of, it doesn’t matter how many people, as a character. But if I had to do it as myself and give a speech, I would be liquid.”
Pop says that being an actor is “hard” and “grueling,” and Depp agrees to an extent. “It is hard work,” he replies. “But certainly I’ve heard of far worse gigs.” Besides acting, Depp is still exploring his love of music (and says he’s currently working with Ryan Adams, Alice Cooper, and Marcus Mumford).
He’s also still chain-smoking. Asked how many cigarettes he smokes each day, the movie star says, “I’ll bet a thousand… I’m working my way up to ten thousand.” And what does that mean for his future, wonders Pop? “It’s questionable at best,” laughs Depp.