Radio 2 signs up Johnny Depp for tribute to Dean

Now Radio 2 will add the Hollywood actor Johnny Depp to its team when he presents a documentary about the Fifties actor James Dean. The leading actor in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was commissioned to present the show about someone he sees as a personal hero by Bob Geldof, whose company Ten Alps Radio is producing the programme.

Depp's involvement is a sign of the changing face of the station, once known for its middle-of-the-road playlist, which now employs more fashionable presenters such as Dermot O'Leary.

Depp, who played in a couple of bands before becoming an actor, will explore how Dean was perceived as an icon for a generation of rock musicians, even though he died before Elvis Presley recorded his first success.

The documentary is being made to mark the 50th anniversary of Dean's death on 30 September 1955. The actor was 24 when his car was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle in California.

Although Dean took a leading role in only three films - East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant - his image was made synonymous with rebellious youth. He became a pin-up for many Western teenagers.

Dean counted many pop musicians among his fans, including Presley, Bob Dylan and John Lennon, who once said: "Without James Dean, the Beatles would never have existed." Depp will interview Dean enthusiasts, including Morrissey, Sir Paul McCartney, David Bailey and Dennis Hopper.

The show's producer, Des Shaw, said: "One of the main things Johnny and Bob are looking at is how James Dean was enormously influential to music. He never heard rock 'n' roll and he died before Elvis, Buddy Holly or Eddie Cochrane had their first hits, but he was one of the biggest influences on the music."

Depp, whose film career spans more than 15 years with leads in Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands, is not the first Hollywood actor to appear on Radio 2. Pitt presented his documentary about the cult folk singer Drake, who died of a suspected drugs overdose in 1974, last year.

Val Kilmer, who is now appearing in London's West End in The Postman Always Rings Twice, is also making a programme for Radio 2 about Marlon Brando. Kilmer worked with Brando on The Island of Dr Moreau and will explore the troubled life of the star of A Streetcar Named Desire and On The Waterfront, speaking to contributors including Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

£20 - £30k DOE + OTE + BENEFITS: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Guru Careers: Copywriter / Direct Response Copywriter

£20k plus sales linked bonus. : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Copywriter to j...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks