explores the real life unholy alliance between the FBI and Irish Mob, namely that of gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger who’s played by Black Mass Johnny Depp. Depp is known as the actor with a thousand faces, a title earned after the end of his star-making TV show led to his obsession in seeking out bizarre and dynamic roles he could fully disappear into. His part in 21 Jump Street Black Mass — which manipulates his voice, eye color, and hairline — is no exception.
In this week’s 24 Frames gallery, we stare straight into the faces of Depp with some of his craziest acting transformations.
(1990, 71%) Cry-Baby
The 21 Jump Street TV show threatened to pigenhole Depp as a fading teenage
heartthrob early in his career. So he lampooned his pin-up status (playing a
greaser rebel who can drive girls wild by shedding a single tear) before
setting off in search of weird movie roles.
(1990, 91%) Edward Scissorhands
The first in a long and fruitful artistic partnership with director Tim
Burton saw Depp playing an unfinished mad science creation.
(1993, 75%) Benny & Joon
Playing neither Benny nor Joon, Depp is Sam, a movie nut with a talent for
doing Chaplin/Keaton/Lloyd routines.
(1994, 92%) Ed Wood
An endearing portrayal of a beloved director (who just happens to make the
worst movies of all time).
(1995, 71%) Dead Man
William Blake (the accountant, not the poet) takes an allegorical,
occasionally violent business trip in Jim Jarmusch’s postmodern Western.
(1997, 33%) The Brave
Native American figures and culture frequently figure into Depp’s career
( Benny & Joon was directed by Sherman Alexie, while Dead Man was lauded for
its accurate portrayal of Native Americans). Depp plays one in his
directorial debut, The Brave, but after negative reviews at its Cannes
premiere, he prevented the film from ever showing in America.
(1998, 49%) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The beginning of Depp’s on-screen association with gonzo writer Hunter S.
Thompson (to be followed with Rango and The Rum Diary).
(1999, 67%) Sleepy Hollow
As Ichabod Crane, “Johnny Depp is an actor able to disappear into
characters,” Ebert wrote, “Never more readily than in one of Burton’s films.”
(2000, 35%) The Man Who Cried
Depp as a Romani performer. He would later show up in the 2006 Roma
documentary When the Road Bends: Tales of a Gypsy Caravan.
(2001, 73%) Before Night Falls
Depp in Julian Schnabel’s autobiography of openly gay Cuban poet Reinaldo
Arenas (played by Javier Bardem).
(2003, 79%) Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
First of four (and counting) movie appearances as Captain Jack Sparrow,
setting off Depp’s great commercial and artistic run of the aughts.
(2003, 68%) Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Depp shows up in Robert Rodriguez’s closer to the Mexico Trilogy as a
corrupt CIA agent.
(2004, 46%) Secret Window
Resembling an unmade bed, Depp plays a troubled novelist in this adaptation
of the Stephen King short story.
(2005, 83%) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
More big budget bombast from Burton, who cast Depp as the unsettling owner
of a candy empire.
(2007, 86%) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
As a barber flying in the face of the Better Business Bureau, Depp earned
his third Oscar acting nomination (after 2005’s Finding Neverland and 2004’s
Pirates of the Caribbean).
(2009, 68%) Public Enemies
For the first time in decades, Depp played to his handsome traits in
creating his version of gangster John Dillinger.
(2009, 64%) The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
After Heath Ledger passed away in the middle of filming Terry Gilliam’s
fantasy, Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell stepped in to play physical
variations on the character.
(2010, 51%) Alice in Wonderland
Wearing all the colors of the rainbow as the Mad Hatter in this adaptation
of the Lewis Carroll stories.
(2012, 37%) Dark Shadows
Depp as 200-year old vampire Barnabas Collins in this adaptation of the late
’60s soap opera.
(2013, 31%) The Lone Ranger
Back in Native American garb as Tonto, though the movie bombed financially
(2014, 71%) Into the Woods
In this ensemble re-working of classic fairy tales, Depp appears as The Big
(2014, 39%) Tusk
Guy Lapointe, a frazzled detective whom Depp portrays with a purposefully
obnoxious French-Canadian accent. Kevin Smith is releasing a sequel called
, with Depp reprising the character (and co-starring with both
(2015, 12%) Mortdecai
Depp produced and starred in this vehicle, drawing some of the worst reviews
of his career and necessitating a “comeback” role, which Black Mass
seems to fill out quite nicely.
(2015) Black Mass
Depp’s last majorly lauded role was as Dillinger in Public Enemies, so it’s
fitting he’s getting those critical mash notes again with his portrayal as
true-life crook Whitey Bulger.