Johnny Depp rustles up trouble as the quirky chameleon 'Rango' in his new, western-themed, CGI-animated comedy, in theaters March 4, and the star talks about the surreal nature of using "emotion capture" to make the film; reveals details about the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' and 'The Lone Ranger' -- and declares, "I'm riddled with Bieber Fever!
"My daughter is a big Justin Bieber fan, and she turned myself and my woman Vanessa and our boy Jack on to Justin Bieber," Johnny tells ET. "Yeah, we saw the show, kid's very talented, very sweet, and he made a surprise visit today -- he crashed the ['Rango'] press conference."
Johnny adds with a laugh, "But he's a sweet kid. It was the first time I had heard the term, 'A Belieber' and I admitted that I was a Belieber and he magically appears -- there he was."
In 'Rango,' which reunites Johnny with his 'Pirates of the Caribbean' trilogy helmer Gore Verbinski, Johnny plays a lonely chameleon whose journey takes him from the solitude of a terrarium to the remote town of DIRT in the Mojave desert. A lizard/thespian in search of an identity, Rango has always wanted to play the hero, so the townsfolk make him the sheriff, inviting a whole new set of dilemmas.
Unlike most animated films in which the actor's performance is captured by a microphone in a glass booth, the performances in 'Rango' were captured with the actors working together on a soundstage, and Johnny says with a smirk, "It felt ridiculous. … It was like the third and fourth string of regional theater. It was really bad."
"It was like living in a Salvador Dali painting, because you realize, 'I'm a middle-aged man pretending to be a lizard, and that guy over there's pretending to be a porcupine,' and it's insanity, so there's a kind of level of [surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel] that you have to embrace to do that sort of thing," explains Johnny. "[But] it pays off in the end and Gore was right."
Johnny returns as Captain Jack Sparrow this summer in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,' in theaters May 20, and he says he enjoyed the story because, unlike the last two installments with complicated, interlocking storylines, "it's not convoluted in any way, and there's some great, great stuff in it. It's great fun."
Asked how many more 'Pirates' movies he's willing to make, Johnny happily replies, "I'll go to 70 as long as they'll have me. [Jack Sparrow is] not a character that you feel like you can be done with. … To have the opportunity to take this character that you really love into other situations and bring something new to it is a real gift. As long as they're good, why not?"
Johnny is also gearing up to collaborate with Gore Verbinski yet again for a brand-new, big-screen take on 'The Lone Ranger,' this time to be done from his sidekick Tonto's point of view.
"I am excited about playing the role of Tonto," says Johnny. "As it was throughout basically all of Hollywood history, any sort of cowboy-and-Indian film -- the cowboys got all the attention and heroic sort of moments, and the Indians weren't really properly dealt with over the years. And especially something as kind of cliché as the Lone Ranger and Tonto, to bring Tonto to the forefront, to have him be the clever one; maybe you don't understand him right away, but he's the clever one, he's the brains behind the operation."
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Related stories on ETonline.com:Justin Bieber Goes Toe-to-Toe with 'Just Go With It' at Box OfficeWATCH: Justin Bieber Crashes Johnny Depp's 'Rango' Press Conference