John Lyttle in cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Johnny Depp is unusual. Not because he's part Cherokee (so are Johnny Cash, Burt Reynolds, James Garner and Cher), not because he dated Winona Ryder - that's a liability, not an asset - and not because he's yet another teen TV star to make it in movies. No, Johnny Depp is unusual because he's so damn pretty, and guys who are that pretty Hollywood usually typecasts and burns out fast.

But Depp is canny; his prettiness is presented as a form of high weirdness. Of course, perfect prettiness is a freak of nature. No more so than in Edward Scissorhands, where Depp's beauty is both buried and accentuated by lipstick, eyeshadow and deathly alabaster foundation. Depp is as bizarre and as isolated as an ugly person: the film's triumph is to show how thin the line between gorgeous and gruesome is. Benny and Joon shows Depp's loveliness masking a sort of madness: it's as if the character felt obliged to come up with a personality as stylised and extreme as his face (high cheekbones, almond eyes, snub nose, rose petal lips).

Not that Depp is afraid to flaunt. What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (above) allows the camera to feast upon him and the up-and-coming Ed Wood has him in drag. But he knows he can't rely on looks alone. Wrinkles are harsh on pretty boys: remember Robert Taylor and Richard Chamberlain? - and Depp is way too short to suddenly become an action hero like Keanu Reeves, making the difficult transition from goofy to grown-up with Speed. At 30, it's impossible to know where Depp might be going, but it's a certainty he'll get there by the most twisted route possible.

(Photograph omitted)

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