Benny & Joon

1993

Sam

PHOTO GALLERY

SOUND CLIPS

MOVIE TRAILER


GENERAL INFORMATION

Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) is a little unbalanced. Sometimes, without warning, her sweet nature gives way to odd behavior - including a penchant for setting fires. She lives with her older brother Benny (Aidan Quinn), who has spent his life taking care of her since their parents died. One night, while playing a poker game with unusual stakes, Joon loses her hand... and wins Sam (Johnny Depp), a whimsical misfit who soon charms his way into Joon's heart. Now if they can only find the perfect mate for her overprotective brother...

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Cast: Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn, Julianne Moore, Oliver Platt, Dan Hedaya, CCH Pounder, Joe Grifasi, William H. Macy

Awards & Nominations:

1994 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical: Johnny Depp (Nominated)

1994 MTV MOVIE AWARDS:
Best Comedic Performance: Johnny Depp (Nominated)

Best Movie Song: The Proclaimers, "I Would Walk 500 Miles" (Nominated)

Best On-Screen Duo: Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson (Nominated)


ABOUT THIS MOVIE

(Compiled by Lucy)

Quotes from Johnny Depp:

"I'd gone through the whole mess I usually go through when I'm about to start a movie, and then there was this strange thing with Woody [Harrelson], who actually lives down the road from me. To be honest, I wasn't familiar with his work. I'd never seen 'Cheers.' I was in France doing voice-overs for Emir [Kusturica] and I'm hearing all this kind of weirdness, like, 'Woody's out,' then, 'Laura Dern's out because Woody's out,' then, 'Woody's in.' On and on. I was shocked by the whole thing."
--Johnny Depp
Movieline Magazine
April 1993

"Hearing it was to be Aidan Quinn in the part, not Woody [Harrelson], really made me happy; I didn't know how happy until I started hanging out with the guy, who's so strong, smart, centered. The movie's kind of a weird triangle, so I'm falling in love with her and, in a way, I'm also falling in love with him, because he's this guy I can never be like."
--Johnny Depp
Movieline Magazine
April 1993

"[Jeremiah Chechik was] like a guy who jumps behind the wheel of a semi truck with bombs strapped to the sides, who says, 'I think I'll drive this thing cross-country 'cause it might be fun!'"
--Johnny Depp
Movieline Magazine
April 1993

"[I'm playing a character] who's Buster Keaton-like, and Keaton is truly one of my all-time heroes."
--Johnny Depp
Movieline Magazine
April 1993

"Stuff that Keaton did in movies 60-odd years ago is shocking, so brilliant. He did stunts without wires and head spins that - and man, I know, because I've tried to do them again and again - cannot be done by a human being. Unless you're Keaton. Or, maybe, a 12-year-old Russian gymnast."
--Johnny Depp
Movieline Magazine
April 1993

"I liked the way [Buster Keaton] could communicate without using words. It's simple to say to someone that you love them, it's harder to express it without words. I'm fascinated with the idea of speaking without speaking, and I'm more fascinated with silence than with noise. A growling dog scares me more than a barking dog."
--Johnny Depp
Smash Hits
1993

[On the line, "What are you having -- a Boo Radley moment?"] "That is my favorite line, but there was another line I begged them to include. Do you remember the scene when I tell Joon that I love her? Everyone was expecting that, 'I love you.' Instead, I thought it would be great if Sam was to reveal his deepest, darkest secret. I wanted to be the first person to say, 'I am a bed wetter,' in a major motion picture. I know that someday I'll get to work that bed-wetter line into a script."
--Johnny Depp
Harper's Bazaar
1993

"I like [Charlie] Chaplin, but [Buster] Keaton was something else, almost surrealistic in what he could say with his face -- the subtlest of looks, just tilting his head."
--Johnny Depp
L.A. Times
1993

"For me, [Buster] Keaton is the one. I mean, Keaton was never recognised fully for... his contribution, for the stuff that he did. The stunts that he did, the camera stuff that he did, the choices he made, and what he was able to do as an actor without saying anything. For me, [he] is beyond Chaplin."
--Johnny Depp
Jonathan Ross Interview
1993

"For me it was... kind of selfishly... it was about [Buster] Keaton. It was my way of being able to salute him. I watched tons of Keaton; I... got hold of some really rare short films by Keaton, and I just watched them. You know, hundreds and hundreds of hours of stuff..."
--Johnny Depp
Jonathan Ross interview
1993

"When I saw the script for the first time, I was far from carried away. I thought that Sam, the character I play, seemed very unsympathetic. He imitates scenes from old movies only to attract attention. I changed it in a way so that he really needs the attention. I like the idea, that someone is alone and deserted - like a little dog."
--Johnny Depp
Jonathan Ross Interview
1993

"I saw the movie at the premiere. I did unfortunately see some faults that I made. They made me really start sometimes. But all in all I think it is a good movie. Unfortunately, it cures no diseases, but it makes you feel good and cheerful."
--Johnny Depp
Jonathan Ross Interview
1993

"There is a scene where Sam is swinging in front of a window several stories up. The scene was filmed twice; once with a stuntman and once with me. They filmed it with the stuntman in case I should fall down, I think."
--Johnny Depp
Jonathan Ross Interview
1993

"Well, that was really the most difficult scene for me... the scene with the dancing bread loaves. You see, I did not want to copy Charlie Chaplin, because no one can do this kind of thing as good as the master himself."
--Johnny Depp
Hit Magazine
1993

Quotes from others:

"I did a movie with Johnny Depp, Benny and Joon. I was hardly in it. Had a great scene with him that was cut."
--William H. Macy
(brainyquote.com)

"The kind of attention Johnny's gotten, I'd feel like a freak, too. When you get a disproportionate amount of praise, there's nothing you can feel inside yourself that matches up. You want to say, 'Please, blow out that candle on your altar for me and just take care of yourself.' That's why he's rebellious."
--Mary Stuart Masterson
Cosmopolitan
1993

"I think [Johnny's] about fourteen, but then he can be really old and wise."
--Mary Stuart Masterson
Cosmopolitan
1993

"For Benny & Joon, I needed someone who could play a character who is, metaphorically, an angel. Someone who could achieve a real naive innocence that would not come off as foolish."
--Jeremiah Chechik
Australian Cosmopolitan
July, 1993

"I define a movie star as someone who makes it hard for the viewer to turn away. Johnny is a star. But he chooses parts based on personal and artistic considerations, not 'What would the public say?'..."
--Jeremiah Chechik
Australian Cosmopolitan
July, 1993

"The first day on Benny, my husband and I had just split up, and I was in the hysterical funk you get in when you're trying to be pulled-together. But when Johnny walked in, the energy in the room changed. There's something really amazing about him, his generosity of spirit."
--Mary Stuart Masterson
GQ
October, 1993

"Johnny practised for hours with this circus performer. He knew how to do a lot more tricks than what we shot."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"This was Johnny's most difficult scene, in terms of doing the roll dance, of doing something Charlie Chaplin had done so well. Putting his own personal spin on it, setting the character in a way that was charming and irreverent and light, but it's a highly skilled routine."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"[Tasting the paint] is something Johnny just did during a take... so I loved it. Thought maybe eating paint was something he did when he was a kid before he turned out so dyslexic."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"The subtlety of the acting in order to kind of clue the audience in on Sam's character with so little said, so much expressed -- a tribute to Johnny Depp's work here."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"Johnny loved that apron."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"It was actually Johnny that suggested they kiss but never actually touch lips."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"We worked on a great many different routines, and again it was very hot and he's dressed all in wool. It was very tough for him. He did all his own stunts. Some of these little things seem very simple but they're actually not. Johnny and I watched hours and hours and hours of Keaton films at various speeds and we really studied these wonderful moves that Buster made and Johnny was very inspired to really see what he could do with that kind of physical comedy and grace, and I think he did him proud."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"To flip around like that and then sit still is no easy feat. Try it sometime."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"The actors really loved each other on the set, they hung out together and Johnny found it very difficult to confront Aidan. He really loved Aidan and felt bad about saying that to him. I feel it really works."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"That's really Johnny up there swinging. We put him up there and swung him around."
--Jeremiah Chechik
DVD Director's Commentary

"He was so talented and his movements were so believable and so fluid that we didn't have to really go ahead and screw around with the camera speeds."
--John Schwartzman, Director of Photography
DVD Special Features