Johnny Depp Talks About Himself

About His Views | About Ageing | About Turning 50

Updated November 16, 2014

I feel like the same person I was when I was seventeen when I worked construction or pumped gas. For me, ambition has become a dirty word. I prefer hunger. To be hungry great. To have hopes, dreams great. But ambition? It means that somebody wants to be famous. Why would you need that? Basically, I stepped in shit and it worked out. (Source: Rolling Stone, 1988)

My face - I see it in the mirror when I wash it every morning. It's an okay face. (1988)

Some people, when they get attention in the public eye, stand a bit taller. But I went the complete opposite - lower. I shrink and kind of hide. (Source: LA Times 1993)

My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it to yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist. (Source: Details Magazine, 1993)

I have a lot of love inside me and a lot of anger inside as well. If I love somebody, then I'm gonna love 'em. If I'm angry and I've got to lash out or hit somebody, I'm going to do it, and I don't care what the repercussions are. Anger doesn't pay rent, it's gotta go. It's gotta be evicted. (1995)

It scares the shit out of me because I see my nieces and nephews growing up and it's fucking hard. It was hard for me to grow up and it's even harder now with all the scary, spooky shit that's out there. (1995)

When I was a kid I used to have these dreams. But they weren't dreams. I was awake, but I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. And a face would come to me. Someone told me it was the spirit of someone who died that was very close and never got to say something that they wanted to say. And I believe it. (1995)

I've stayed at this little hotel in Paris, in the room where Oscar Wilde died. I slept in the room that Oscar Wilde died in and I thought that quite possibly, if I fell asleep too deeply, somewhere about 4 a.m. I might be abused in some obtuse way. Get taken advantage of. At least he had a good sense of humor. (1995)

I would hope to think that this is maybe hell. Maybe this is hell because then we could go on to something else. Because this ain't so bad. (1995)

I've been with some great girls and I certainly thought I loved them, though now I have my doubts. I felt something intense, but was it love? I don't know. So now I can't say I can love someone forever, or if anybody can. (1998)

I'm an old-fashioned guy. I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch looking at a lake or something. (1999)

I'm as real as I can be. My opinions are sincere. If I'm nice, I'm nice, but when I'm an asshole, then I really am an asshole. No, I'm not proud of that. Being an asshole is not something you have to rely on. That wouldn't be sincere, that would look a lot like an attitude. (Source: Avantgarde, Dutch issue, September 1999)

I like the idea that I can make a drawing or I can make a painting or I can write notes, write my sort of journal thing, and someday my kid will have that. (1999)

I'm attracted to the people who are considered freaks. Since I was young, I've identified with characters considered by "normal" society to be outcasts and oddballs. (1999)

What do I want for my future? I want to continue being able to do the things that I want to do in terms of the business. Really, the main thing is that I just want to continue to be a good be a good dad, you know, a good father, a good family man and live life. (Source: unknown French interview, 2003)

Pretty much every dream that I have had has come true. I mean, there has been quite a few bumps along the road, certainly, but my dreams for the most part, have all come true. I feel very, very fortunate in that. My dream for the future is that my children have a beautiful life. Thats for all children really. Certainly as a parent you wish for your children a life without fear, a life without hate, just a beautiful future. (Source: unknown French interview, 2003)

I do have an affinity for damaged people, in life, in roles. I don't know why. We're all damaged in our own way. Nobody's perfect. I think we are all somewhat screwy, every single one of us. (2004)

I have a few quirks like being interested in insects and odd smells and stuff like that. (2004)

I mean, if somebody actually believes [I'm the Sexiest Man Alive], I'm deeply flattered, but I don't get it myself. It's mortifying. (2004)

We over complicate things, if you get down to the real base needs of a human being. We don't wake up every morning and go, "Thank God, another day." Yet every time we take in a breath, it's a gift. (2004)

The thing that fascinates me is: who cares what an actor thinks? -on his reluctance to give interviews (2004)

For many years they said I was a wild man. Now they say I'm a former wild man, former bad boy, former rebel. I guess 'former' because now I'm a dad. The media tries to stuff you into a mold. It happens to everybody. (2004)

Someone asked me the other day, "Where's your Neverland?" Well, I got it. I got everything. My girl, my kids, my family. Pure happiness. (Source: Woolworths Fresh - Australia, January 10, 2005)

[My favorite movie is] an old one [1944] called The Mask of Demitrios, with Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. I watched it about five times in a row. Brilliant. I don't see new movies that much. If I do see a new movie, it's a kid's movie. The Incredibles was really, really great. My son, Jack, now runs around with his little Mr. Incredible doll. The beauty is, Jack calls Mr. Incredible "Mr. Credible," which really killed me. Mr. Credible. Ha ha. (Source: Rolling Stone, January 2005)

My biggest stage-fright moment is anything where you have to go and talk in front of people. Doing the work on set, that's fine. But an appearance, anything where there are a lot of people, especially if you have to say something. Even just standing there I feel like an idiot. (Source: Entertainment Weekly, January 14, 2005)

Film is the greatest tranquilizer in the world for me, I fall asleep during opening credits. I go right out. Any film. Cartoons, I'm up for days. Movies, it's over within seconds. (Source: Entertainment Weekly, January 14, 2005)

My gosh, I have no idea [why I appeal to women]. Maybe it's because they feel sorry for me. Maybe they saw Ed Wood or a snippet of Before Night Falls and they saw me in drag and they want to give me tips on how to dress as a woman. (Source: The London Times, July 9, 2005)

I don't like to stay in one spot. My childhood was spent moving around and that's kind of ingrained into my psyche. I like keeping a distance from Hollywood and the social expectations because I'm not good at it. I find great comfort in having that kind of distance because I don't have the pressure of knowing who's the top dog this week. (Source: The London Times, July 9, 2005)

The best way to relax on a set is to read. I just read and read and read, book after book. (Source: Nickelodeon Magazine, August 2005)

No, it's not hard to [balance life and work] because you [are]either... ready to play the game or you don't want to play the game. Or if you're gonna play the game, you play it when you want on your own terms. So, I've been very lucky in that I've been able to kind of run between the raindrops for a number of years and, yeah, confused the issue. It's been okay. It was kind of difficult at first, when I was coming up the ranks. But it's been pretty easy to just sort of be who you are. (2005)

The fact that Pirates did as well as it did and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory did as well as it did is kind of great, but it's not going to make me change my approach to the choices and to the work. I still do exactly the same thing that I've always done. I've still got a couple of failures under my belt! (Source: The Toronto Star, June 23, 2006)

Marlon was a pioneer. So I wouldn't even put myself in the same thought bubble with him, but he understood a lot of things about me, and was incredibly generous and helpful and caring. Very rarely did we talk about movies or acting, so it wasn't that. He saw me going through stuff that he had been through - my weird hillbilly rage - so yeah, the connection was strong and deep. (Source: Newsweek, June 26, 2006)

I think everything happened the way it was meant to happen, but I don't know why. I remember every bump in the road, and I still don't know how I got here. But who am I to ask why? The fact is, this is where I am. So I enjoy it, salute it and keep moving forward. None of it makes any sense to me, but then, why should it? (Source: Newsweek, June 26, 2006)

I was given the 'weird' badge but I think everybody's weird and that's the key to it. We should celebrate our individuality, not be embarrassed or ashamed of it. We all have idiosyncrasies, tics that are obsessive-compulsive. People do themselves a great disservice by not allowing themselves to see who they really are because they are afraid. (Source: The Guardian, July 3, 2006)

Well, as I said, having kids changed that a lot. It revealed a lot. But I still have that stuff in me, the hillbilly rage as it's been called. I may even break a television set here and there; it just doesn't get written about because I'm not doing it in a hotel. I basically wrote off all spirits because they get me into trouble, although a good bottle of rum can be pretty spectacular. But there are endless files in the human body that I can access. The hillbilly rage is somewhere in there - it's genetic, it's part of your conditioning and your upbringing. Playing these kind of characters in films just gives me the opportunity to relieve myself of this kind of stuff. Captain Jack does that for me in a weird kind of way. It's given me the key to fun. (Source: The Guardian, July 3, 2006)

Sorry I'm late - yet again. It's pathological. (Source:The Independent, July 7, 2006)

The things that don't matter just don't matter any more, so I can wave them away and keep moving. Actually I was never as wild as they said. But I still have the rage, the rage is built in, it's part of your upbringing, part of your conditioning. I guess it's even genetic, but it's not as prominent these days as it was 10, 12 years ago. (Source: The Independent, July 7, 2006)

I never considered myself an outsider. But I definitely didn't consider myself an insider. (Source: USA Today, June 25, 2006)

What do I want for the future? I know exactly what I want, everything: calm, peace, tranquility, freedom, fun, happiness. If I could make all that one word, I would - a many-syllabled word. (Source: The Independent, July 7, 2006)

I just don't see myself in that way, you know. I have an aversion to lies. The truth is, you know, I have a very good job and I'm lucky to have it and it's kind of a privileged position at times. I don't take things in some other way. Just because I do movies doesn't make me more important or less important than anyone else. -on his aversion to stardom (Source: The Philippine Star, July 9, 2006)

Oh, that's a good question. It's very simple and a little embarrassing because if I shave, it would take me months and months and months, like a half year, to grow it back. What I have is like a full beard for me. Seven hairs here, three over there, all this kind of patchy stuff, and that's it. That's all I get. So if I shaved, they'd have to glue something on, and that wouldn't work. So that's the answer. -on sporting his scruffy beard for two years (Source: FilmInk Magazine, June 2006)

I've had some very good situations as different Barbies: female Barbies, used even Ken's and stuff like that. Yeah, no I have played a lot of Barbies over the years. (Source:, May 2007)

I don't think of myself as being a celebrity, it's too mortifying. I have a hard time watching myself on screen and it's getting worse. I can't tell whether my work is good or not. (Source: The Boston Globe, December 24, 2008)

Little Hall's Pond is my decompression. It's my way of trying to return to normalcy. There is a period once you finish a guy - a character - when you're looking to go back to go back to yourself, and sometimes it can manifest illness. I mean, after I Made The Libertine, I was in bed for two weeks. When you are working, you don't get sick, then suddenly it hits youlike a two-by-four. (Source: Vanity Fair, July 2009)

When I can focus on something like guitar or painting, I do. I started painting people I admire, like Kerouac, Bob Dylan, Nelson Algren, Marlon Brando, Patti Smith, my girl, my kids. I painted Hunter a couple of times. Keith Richards. What I love to do is paint people's faces, y'know, their eyes. Because you want to find the emotion, see what's going on behind their eyes. (Source: Vanity Fair, July 2009)

I was more at war with myself. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted and then I met the woman who made me see what I was missing. But raising a family and spending so much time with our kids is what has really had the most calming influence on me. They became my focus and it put things into perspective. Nothing makes me happier than watching Vanessa and my kids and just realising that they're my world. It's pure joy. (Source: The Sun, November 27, 2010)

When I'm at our house in France I totally cut myself off from the rest of the world. I never have to listen to phones ringing and that's because - and Vanessa would confirm this - phones are banned from the house. We have a beautiful life and I feel that spending time in France has just calmed me down and made me stop worrying about things which aren't really important. (Source: The Sun, November 27, 2010)

Someone asked me recently if I feel I've matured into a man, and I started thinking about what it means to be a man. For me, being a man is being someone who has kept the child inside him. I think most of us have long childhoods and adolescences and we're only really men for a short period in middle age and then we're grandfathers for a long time. At least that's what I hope is in store for me. (Source: The Sun, November 27, 2010)

It's just what I need to do. It's just how I need to venture forth because I'm not an entertainer per se. I'm not a salesman of any sort. I can only do what I can do, and I enjoy that process. so I sort of stick with what I know. Anything outside of that, I go into what sort of feels like showboating for me. I'd be so lost. I'd feel like such an idiot. -- on being reticent (Source: Access Hollywood, December 2010)

[Being a father] is the one thing that I will step out of the box and say I am very good at. I think I am very good at being a dad, and I am proud to say it, because as parents do, I worship my kids. And I learn from my kids. It's the only thing I want to be good at in my life. Really, everything else pales. (Source:, December 8, 2010)

It's a day-to-day issue. I'm still pondering it. I know what I'm supposed to be in the very big picture. The two things that really matter is you get to be a good man and a good dad. That's really it for me. If, in the interim, in this little journey of life, I can do some good or interesting work, or do something that's a little outside of what others are doing, then boy, I'm blessed. But in terms of the philosophical and spiritual quest, I just keep moving forward. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 19, 2011)

I've been accused of very bad things stylistically. I feel like [my layered clothing] is, in a way, it's like a suit of armor - a bit of protection. (Source: E, February 2011)

There was a guy who I worked with many years ago. We were talking about success and money and all that stuff. He told me this one thing. He said, you know, money doesn't change anybody. Money reveals them. Same thing with success. And I believe that wholeheartedly. I've been revealed. I don't think I haven't changed, I'm still exactly the guy that used to pump gas. I'm still the guy that was a mechanic for a minute. I just happen to have a weird - weirder - job at the moment. (Source: Larry King Live, October 16, 2011)

I have been seduced by dough. For me, the seduction started with Jump Street in 1986. People started offering me movies where you kiss the girl, carry a gun, get in a fight, and things blow up. I figured, if I had taken the fast cars, money and all that stuff, it would have been over in a few years, because I'd just be like everybody else. I thought, 'why not be patient?' I swore I would only do what I felt was right for me! Somehow, I'm still here. (Source: October 21, 2011)

[The painted nails] is my daughter revenge. This is a 14 year old going, “Dad I'm going to paint your nails now and there's nothing you can do about it” is basically what it is. (Source: BBC1 News, July 29, 2013)

Everything [intrigues me] really. It doesn't take much for me - I'm a pretty cheap date. (Source: The Vancouver Sun, June 25, 2013)

Well, don't we all play with makeup at home? (jesting) Should we just admit it? We all do - boys and girls. (Source: Inquirer Entertainment, June 22, 2013)

If I was given the news that I was going to be smoke in about five weeks, I would celebrate every day. I would celebrate with the people that I love. I would hope that it won't be some monstrous, maudlin affair but [one] that we could celebrate and laugh about. The fact that you get another morning to take a breath, walk and live - that's plenty to appreciate. Actually, when it really comes down to it, if one was offered some sliver of immortality, I don't think I would want that. I would much rather just slowly, simply fade away into the air. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, April 11,2014)

If there's a text and I have to answer it, it's such a foreign thing (to me), crisscrossing thumbs and what not. I feel ridiculous doing it. It's not anything I grew up knowing, nor did any of us. I am very feeble in the world of technology. All things electrical, I have a tendency to break them. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, April 11,2014)

About His Views:

I see kids who are complete cynics. They're not dreaming. They're out there with high-powered weapons, smoking crack behind the 7-Eleven. They've seen it all. These kids are going to take us into 2000 and beyond. That's scary, man. I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic or optimistic. I'm more realistic, I guess. But not cynical. I look. I watch. (Source: Rolling Stone, 1988)

Fidelity is important as long as it's pure. But the moment it goes against your insides - if you want to be somewhere else, if she wants to dabble - then you need to make a change. (1998)

I'm not sure any human being is made to be with one person forever and ever, amen. (1998)

The only bit of culture we have in this town is Old Hollywood, and it's being destroyed. I thought maybe I could turn this into a 1930s be-bop speak-easy with viper music - Fats Waller and Cab Calloway - good music which nobody else is playing. -in reference to the Viper Room (Source: LA Times 1993)

I'm interested in all religion. (2004)

[Facially-expressive, silent acting is] almost a lost art.[John] Barrymore was a master, but the king for me was Lon Chaney. You go back and watch films like The Penalty and see this rage and sadness, this huge range of emotions, without the luxury of dialogue. (Source: The Envelope - Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2008)

I think if you love, you have to love beyond what you think is love or what you've experienced love to be. When, let's say, the shit hits the fan, keep loving. I know it sounds like some sort of a Hallmark card but I don't mean it to. You cannot abandon ship. You got a couple of kids. You got a woman who's been good to you. Keep loving, no matter what.(Source: Inquirer Entertainment, June 22, 2013)

Redemption might exist in some ways for some people. I've never had redemption. I'm still that child (who feels like an outcast). I don't watch the movies. I don't want to know about (box office) numbers and things like that. I really don't want to know. I'm happy being as ignorant as I can allow myself to be. (Source: Inquirer Entertainment, June 22, 2013)

History is in the hands of those who get to write the books, as they say. And until you grow up and read about the true facts that's the stuff they teach you in school. (Source: Mail Online, July 6, 2013)

About Ageing:

You start getting cracks in your face, and fuck it, why not? I earned it. (2003)

In your teens and your 20s, you're immortal, you're untouchable. It's only later that you begin to realize you are mortal. (2004)

It's amazing when you get to a certain age, and you talk about sleep in the same way you spoke about inebriates 20 or 25 years before. "Man, I got eight hours last night - it was fantastic." Happily, I haven't found golf yet, but I'm sure that's just around the corner. (2004)

Growing old is unavoidable, but never growing up is possible. I believe you can retain certain things from your childhood if you protect them - certain traits, certain places where you don't let the world go. (2004)

When you hit 40, it's like - it's okay to go to sleep at 9:30 at night; why not? (Source: The Independent, July 7, 2006)

I welcome getting older, it's great. I know at a certain point, your back starts to go out on you every day, you start to walk funny, who knows, your ear lobe falls off. But it doesn't worry me. I remember being 37, 38 years old and thinking: "This feels a little bit nowhere, a little bit non-specific", and then when 40 came it was like: "Ah, I'm 40" And with that came freedom from certain responsibilities - to be the guy who goes out with all his friends and stays out all night, I never really had any great interest in that anyway. (Source:Independent, July 7, 2006)

About Turning 50:

We kept the birthday celebration very simple, I spent it with my kids. We went to dinner. To me, the whole idea of celebrating one's birthday is just a bit like clinging to some sort of vanity, something that I'd rather not cling to. So hitting 50 was like hitting 40 or 30. It's one of those. I've had a decade. Cool. (Source: Inquirer Entertainment, June 22, 2013)

Any time you can wake up and take a breath is a good place to be at any age. 50 feels great... I guess the one thing that you have to look forward to at 50 is the older that you get the more reverent you can become and get away with it. (Source:, August 5, 2013)

Well, it would be worse not turning 50 - that would be a real drag. (Source: Mail Online, July 6, 2013)

I didn't suddenly wake up and go, "God, my back is just killing me." (on turning 50, Source: Inquirer Entertainment, June 22, 2013)