Johnny Depp was honoured with the Distinguished Artisan Award at the Annual Makeup Artist and Hair Stylists Guild Awards the other night. This is no surprise. For years he’s taken roles that camouflage his face. No other actor has more claim to this recognition than he does.
Before taking the stage, a montage of many of his made-up roles was played for the audience. And Johnny addressed those images during his speech:
"This is a great honor, but [while] I was occasionally glancing at the screen, I realized what a ridiculous thing I've done. I mean, seriously. Why are they still giving me jobs?"
He went on to say that he was “originally a guitar player” and only acted to make money to support his music which is what led him to Wes Craven:
"He [Craven], who really took a chance on me, hooked me up with a guy named Dave Miller to take a mold of my face. I found, oddly enough, that I liked being encased in all that stuff. I like being isolated to that degree. So the idea of being shocked beyond recognition, it's kind of what I want. It's what I strive for. I think trying something different each time as an actor, with the luxury [of having] amazing makeup artists has made my, whatever you call it, career."
Whatever you call it… career. Yes, as an actor. What you and I know him for. But not what he thinks of himself. Because Johnny in Johnny’s mind is a rocker first, a guitar player always. And ultimately that explains everything. He’s that guy, in middle life now, still chasing that big gig. You know the one. You see him in your own cities, the fading local hero jamming to the sound of his dreams, jamming away the weight of his responsibilities. The way Johnny tells the story, somehow by accident, the movies came along. And it sounds like he’s trying to apologise for it.