Johnny Depp - MJ - Burton - Spielberg - Brando - etc

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Offline truthprevails

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I know some of you are interested in the link between Depp and MJ (as am I), and I decided to research that topic.  In doing that, I found a thread linking many people together... People who seemed to respect/admire MJ.

I'm going to discuss the parallels and links between Depp and MJ at the end of this post (there are quite a few!), but I'll start with the facts linking all those people.  BTW, Depp started off as a musician, and was introduced to acting by Nicolas Cage!  I think it's clear that he had great admiration for Michael, and most probably identified with him in some respects and understood where MJ was coming from.  (Depp is another shy, smart, and sensitive person who never identified with his "teen idol" image and disliked being turned into a product.  I think he and MJ had/have a very similar nature.)  

1. Film director Tim Burton, creator of "Alice in Wonderland" (and "Edward Scissorhands" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and long-time collaborator of Johnny Depp, was born on August 25, 1958, in Burbank, California.  He was introverted and unassuming as a child, and one of his heroes was actor Vincent Price (who performed a "rap" on Michael's "Thriller").  

After high school in 1976, Burton attended the California Institute of the Arts. Cal Arts had been founded by Disney as a "breeding ground" for new animators, though they did offer other courses of study. Burton entered the Disney animation program in his second year, thinking it would be a good way to make a living. In 1979, he was drafted to join the Disney animation ranks. Burton did not enjoy being an animator, and the studio recognized that Burton's talent was not being utilized. They made him a conceptual artist, one of those people who design the characters that appear in films.

The first film Burton ever made was a short, "Vincent", which had Vincent Price himself provide the narration.

Burton had a relationship with a woman named Lisa-Marie Smith between 1993-2001, and she appeared in several of Burton's movies - "Ed Wood", "Planet of the Apes", "Sleepy Hollow", "Mars Attacks!"


2. "Edward Scissorhands" (1990) was a story personal to Burton, who conceived the idea for Edward Scissorhands from his childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank, California.  The role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price.


3. Edward's scissorhands were created and designed by Stanley (Stan) Winston.  Winston, who died on June 15, 2008, was a visual effects supervisor, make-up artist, and film director.  He won 4 Academy Awards for his work, and was a frequent collaborator of James Cameron - the creator of "Avatar" (which Winston worked on) - and also worked with Steven Spielberg on "Jurassic Park". Like Burton, Winston started his career at the Disney studios.  In 1996 Winston co-produced and directed Michael's music video/short film "Ghosts".  The FB page for Winston displays a photo of him and MJ sitting next to each other and talking at the 50th International Cannes Film Festival.


4. Michael reportedly liked "Edward Scissorhands" very much, and bought/owned the scissorhands created by Winston, which were on display at the 2009 auction (which I believe did not go forward?): ... =343182737

5. In 1991 Steven Spielberg directed "Hook", a movie about a middle-aged Peter Pan, played by Robin Williams, who returns to Neverland.  Spielberg also appeared in Michael's "Liberian Girl" video (1989).

Now here are some statements made by Spielberg on Michael:
"'It's a nice place where MJ comes from. I wish we could all spend some time in his world."
"Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson. His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him legend.”
Rolling Stone calls Spielberg a "stalwart Jackson supporter".

Spielberg and Williams both knew Whoopi Goldberg, who said on "The View" that she would allow her children to spend time with Michael Jackson.

Sources: ... spielberg/ ... /biography ... 55.public2

6. Robin Williams was the voice of The Timekeeper (1992), a former attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort about a time-traveling robot who encounters Jules Verne and brings him to the future.  Check out the FB page for The Timekeeper... The image really reminds me of MJ's HIStory.
Michael's HIStory album was released on June 20, 1995, and the HIStory tour was between 1996-97.

Starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his standup comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). MJ's "Off the Wall" album was recorded between Dec. 1978 and June 1979, and released on August 10, 1979.  


7. "Alice in Wonderland" contains a scene toward the end where Depp's character (the Mad Hatter) does a cool "Futterwacken" dance that's hard to describe (not quite MJ-style, more like breakdancing).  The interesting bit: David Bernal, an "illusionary dancer" from California, acted as a dance double for Depp in that scene, AND collaborated with Michael Jackson on TII!
IMDB lists him as a "movement coach" for Michael.


8. "Alice in Wonderland" screenwriter Linda Woolverton was born in 1959.  I said above that Tim Burton was born in August 1958... I think it's likely that both were Michael Jackson fans, or at least grew up with Michael's music.  



I'll start with the videos:

Johnny Depp and his band singing a medley that includes a short segment of "I Want You Back" (J5):

Johnny Depp's version of "Beat It":

Depp responding to a question about Michael's passing:
"Well, [...] hearing of the sad passing of Michael Jackson's [...] I mean for all of us [...] it's very, very tragic. Some children lost a father, some parents lost a child, some brothers and sisters lost a sibling.  So that's obviously sad. And, um, I've great respect for what he's done in his work over the years, a real genius.  As far as playing him in a movie, that's such an obtuse rumor that I've never had the pleasure of cultivating. It's not my idea, you know."

A revealing interview with Johnny Depp at "Inside The Actor's Studio":
Part 1:
Part 2: ... re=related
Part 3: ... re=related
Part 4 (final): ... re=related

Depp's childhood, love for mom, respect for family, and early career as a musician:
His parents divorced when he was 15 and by that age he'd lived in about 20 houses or more.  "We were like gypsies, we just kept moving."  Depp lived with his mom (Betty Sue, who worked as a waitress) after the divorce, and said that "She's the greatest lady in the world, best friend, coolest thing."  Once Depp earned enough money he didn't allow his mom to work anymore. Here's what Depp said about family: "Family is the most important thing in the world. [...] The only unconditional love you'll ever get in your life."  Depp got his first guitar when he was around 12 and started playing in nightclubs at age 13. After a while he went to California with his band, and started selling ink pens over the telephone (doing tele-marketing, in effect) in order to support his musical activities.

Depp's introduction to acting:
Depp was friends with Nicolas Cage, who told him that acting is what he should really do and told him to meet with his (Cage's) agent, Annette Benson.  That's how Depp ended up in "Nightmare on Elm Street", though he said it was only with "Platoon" that he started thinking of himself as an actor.

Depp, his "teen idol" image, and being a "product":
"They wanted me to stay on that road.  It was so bizarre because I'd been turned into a product that had nothing to do with me at all."  Depp talked about being "turned into a product by a huge corporation that had their hands all over me."

Depp doesn't usually watch his movies!
This is something Depp said both in the Actor's Studio interview and on Letterman.
His explanation: "Once my job is done on the film, it's none of business [what they do with it]. I stay as far away as I possibly can [from the finished product]. I don't like watching myself."

Depp on Edward Scissorhands:
"I read the screenplay and I was devastated, just devastated. It was one of the most beautiful things, THINGS, I'd ever read. Not just screenplay. And I KNEW Edward when I read that, I just KNEW him, and it was just such a universal feeling, that feeling of, you know, not feeling quite like you fit in, you know."  On being asked whether there's some Depp in E.S.:
"Yeah, sure. [...] There's quite a lot of Edward in me and a lot of me in him."

Depp on playing the director Ed Wood, which involved dressing as a woman:
Three ingredients came to mind that helped him portray the character:
- the blind optimism of Ronald Reagan;
- the enthusiam of the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz;
- Casey Cassum (spelling?).

Depp developed even greater respect for women after playing Ed Wood, and said he wouldn't mind playing a woman in a film.  He said it would be interesting.  

Depp on his choice of movies and roles:
It's all about "the element of surprise, really."
On avoiding leading male roles that focused on good looks:
"I was so uncomfortable being a product and someone else's product and, err, I couldn't stand it, it was claustrophobic. Um, so I swore to myself that I wouldn't, I would choose my own path and I wouldn't deviate in any way. And if I failed, I failed, but I tried."
Depp once described the unifying link in his movies as being "addicted to losers".  He explained what he meant by that: "I'm deeply interested in human behavior and what makes people do what they do and what makes people tick." "Losers" are "the people who are considered not normal or outcasts or not welcome into society... just people who are not deemed normal by society."

Depp on being a perfectionist and pushing himself (echoing MJ):
"I don't ever wanna get to a place where I feel satisfied."

Depp's reason for his long hair:
It started as a way of "hiding", and then his daughter wouldn't allow him to cut his hair.

Trivia on Depp (in part 4 of the Actor's Studio interview):
Favorite word: Why?
Least favorite word: No.
Favorite curse word: Shit.
Profession other than acting that he'd like to try: Writing.
Advice to up-and-coming actors: "Keep moving forward, and don't give a shit what anybody thinks."

Depp's longtime partner Vanessa Paradis was a child star, becoming famous with "Joe le taxi" at age 14.  She took dance and piano lessons and apparently admire Marilyn Monroe.

In an interview with David Letterman Depp talked about being friends with Marlon Brando, who gave him advice when Depp purchased a 45-acre island in the Bahamas.  Depp and Brando played toegther in "Don Juan de Marco."  The Letterman interview is linked below.  Notice that at the very end Depp makes the same "prayer" gesture with his hands that MJ is known for:
Part 1:
Part 2: ... re=related
Part 3: ... re=related

The date of that interview: June 25, 2009!
Here's a June 26, 2009 article about it: ... movies_let
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline whisper

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Wow great research ..I never knew Johny Depp sang MJ's songs ..
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
I love you more <3
"I just want to say to fans in every corner of the earth, every nationality, every race, every language]

Offline Solid121

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The video of Beat It is not JD singing/dancing to it, it's from the movie Cry Baby and someone's just matched it together, but other than that, nice work
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
[size=85]Lift Your Head Up High and Scream Out To The World
I Know I Am Someone and Let The Truth Unfurl
No One Can Hurt You Now because You Know What\'s True
Yes, I Believe In Me, So You Believe In You[/size]

Offline truthprevails

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Thanks for the correction, Solid121!  I didn't realize that about the video...
And thanks for responding, whisper.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »


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