Johnny Depp will be remembered as the greatest star of his time and history will rank him with celluloid legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Rudolph Valentino and Clark Gable, according to Rob Marshall, the director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the Disney seafaring adventure that (for now) stands as the biggest international box office hit of 2011.
“He’s as vivid as those great stars of the past, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable and Errol Flynn,” Marshall said. “Many, many, many years from now, when people look at this generation of Hollywood, he will be considered the great star of this era. He’s his own thing and he takes major chances every single time he makes a film.”
Marshall, the 50-year-old filmmaker who was nominated for an Oscar for “Chicago,” said he had been told by “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer to expect something special from Depp once the cameras began rolling and that’s precisely what happened.
“I remember Jerry saying to me once that Johnny could have been a silent film star — and it’s true,” Marshall said. “He’s like a Rudolph Valentino. He has such a command of expression without words. The humor and the feelings he can convey with his face alone is extraordinary. He’s this consummate artist who is also like the nicest, most generous man. The comparisons that come to mind with him are Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn. He’s a throwback to another time. To me he is, honestly, a star from another time. He is that unique.”
Depp will be seen in “The Rum Diary,” due in October, which reconnects him to the legacy of the late Hunter S. Thompson. This summer he will be in England filming a big-screen remake of “Dark Shadows,” which will be his eighth film with director Tim Burton, and his crowded list of upcoming projects includes a reunion with director Gore Verbinski to make a “Lone Ranger” film and, perhaps, a fifth “Pirates” voyage.
— Geoff Boucher
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