Depp likes to channel oddball celebs

-- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

Johnny Depp has said he didn't set out to be 'captain weird,' but his affection for off-kilter, misfit roles seems to fit the Hollywood rebel perfectly.

In Toronto at the Film Festival this week to promote his newest role in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, the animated movie that opens today, Depp looked perfectly the oddball part. He channeled a style somewhere between a homeless beatnik thespian and Hunter S. Thompson in a haphazard outfit, complete with ragged, handmade accessories, fedora-like hat, bulky, dark rimmed glasses and gold teeth.

Despite his own eccentricities, Depp said the inspiration for his offbeat characters comes not from a hidden inner weird well -- but from outside sources, specifically, other oddball celebs.

"When I read a script, images of people will come to me, like with Sleepy Hollow I kept seeing Roddy McDowell and Angela Lansbury. For Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates Of The Caribbean), Keith Richards became the inspiration, because I started thinking of pirates as rock stars," said Depp, during Sunday's Corpse Bride press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel. "You just start taking tidbits and storing them up for later."

Depp credits his people-watching skills for his ability to channel the idiosyncrasies of a specific person.

"One of the primary responsibilities and luxuries of an actor is the art of observation -- being able to watch people and their behaviour -- which is fascinating, because people are really nuts," said Depp, whilst unknowingly calling the kettle black. "I really enjoy that -- stealing little bits from people and incorporating them into the character."

Fittingly of course, it isn't until Burton's name comes up that Depp admits to being weird.

"More than anything, what drew me to (Corpse Bride) was Tim," said the 42-year-old actor. "I think he's a genius ... and our working relationship is, as you can imagine, weird."

Corpse Bride marks the actor's fifth film with the campy director. Other Burton/Depp credits include Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and, most recently, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which the two worked on simultaneously with Corpse Bride.

Burton himself says it was Depp's unconventionality that drew him to the actor in the first place.

"(The cast) are all outcasts in a way -- that's part of the beauty of it -- and that's why I immediately responded to Johnny," said Burton. "He's a handsome leading man -- but he's also something different."

Still, Depp shrugs off any suggestions that he may just be captain weird after all, along with any hints to his monumental mainstream success.

"I've done everything from sell pens over the phone to screening T-shirts. I was a musician, I was a busboy -- I've worn many hats -- literally," said Depp. "But I'm somewhat together enough to know that if the ride's smooth this week, that it could all change next week and once again I'm the weird guy doing art films."


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