“That’s a bit too large!”
In person, he is charismatic and charged with nervous energy. His voice by contrast is careful, considered and, like Mann, he is enthralled by Dillinger. He was first hooked, at the age of nine or ten, by the mythology of the man and the “twinkle of mischief in his eye”. He doesn’t understand the moniker Public Enemy Number One insisting “he was never an enemy of the public“.
For Depp the concept of “the guy who won’t take any more“ is fascinating. In Manhattan Melodrama, the film Dillinger was watching moments before his death, Clark Gable speaks these words: “Die how you lived, all of a sudden.”
It’s an idea Johnny Depp seems to relish. He speaks of Dillinger with reverence and, when asked which parts he has found hard to say goodbye to, he acknowledges that Dillinger numbers among them. He found Mann’s fastidious sense of place and time invaluable:
“Michael was a stickler for reality and I love him for that. To walk the walk, outside The Biograph, and fall where he fell”¦to the millimetre. You almost feel him arriving”¦without being moony or spooky”¦I felt his approval.”
He is generous in his praise of his co-stars and calls a jailhouse exchange with Christian Bale “”¦a great sparring match”. In Brit Stephen Graham, who plays Baby Face Nelson, he believes he has met:
“”¦one of my favourite actors of all time! I saw This is England”¦ took me to my knees”¦Magnificent. I was absolutely destroyed. I will force him to be in all my films ““ even at gunpoint!”
There were the token daft questions too which he parried with aplomb. When asked about the secret to his Peter Pan good looks he pointedly turned to the poster once more (the face of a man not some eternal boy) and answered:
“If you can avoid wine I’d do it. I would. Don’t smoke”¦stay in your room and watch reality TV.” (Fortunately for all present the woman who asked the Michael Jackson question was cut off in mid gush!)
In closing, I’d like to leave you with my favourite answer and the film he would choose to see on the day of his own death: “Withnail and I. Without a doubt, no question, Withnail and I.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Johnny Depp!
[gplayer href=”https://www.heyuguys.com/audio/public_enemies/johnny depp press conference interview_edit.mp3″] Interview with Johnny Depp: [/gplayer]