Johnny Depp has had quite a wild ride in Hollywood! From his humble beginnings to getting his first big break in the '80s, the actor catapulted from being a relatively unknown actor to an A-list superstar in the blink of an eye. In honor of his first big project, "21 Jump Street," celebrating its 30th anniversary on April 12, 2017, we're taking a look at the star's trajectory through film and television. First up, his foray into acting in the horror flick "A Nightmare on Elm Street" back in 1984. The young actor played Glen Lantz, but it would take a few more roles to really get his career going. Keep reading to see how his career unfolded!
In 1987, Johnny got his big break when he landed the role of Tommy Hanson on the hit show "21 Jump Street." He stayed with the series until 1989, at which point he was both a household name and a teen heartthrob. He chose to leave to pursue heavier roles and distance himself from his teen idol image.
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"Cry-Baby" came next for Johnny Depp. The 1990 flick helped show a different side of Johnny as he took on the part of rebellious teen Wade Walker. Despite not being a financial success, the film became a cult classic.
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The same year "Cry-Baby" was released, Johnny Depp landed a major commercial hit — "Edward Scissorhands." Not only did playing the titular role show the actor in an entirely new, albeit darker, light, but it catapulted him to the A-list after it grossed more than $54 million at the box office and earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Another added bonus of that flick? A new girlfriend! Johnny started dating co-star Winona Ryder during filming. This movie also marked the first of many, many collaborations with director Tim Burton.
Next up for Johnny Depp? A more serious role in the 1993 drama "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" Once again Johnny played the titular character, a 24-year-old grocery store clerk unhappy with his Midwestern life, alongside a relative newcomer named Leonardo DiCaprio. The film received much critical acclaim and even garnered Leo an Academy Award nomination.
Johnny Depp played the title role again in 1994's "Ed Wood," a Tim Burton film chronicling the life of the low-budget but legendary director Edward Wood. Johnny's portrayal of the bumbling filmmaker earned him major props as well as another Golden Globe nomination.
Acting opposite a legend! Johnny Depp starred alongside Marlon Brando in the 1995 romantic comedy "Don Juan DeMarco" and yet again took on a title role, this time as a man who believed he was actually the world's greatest lover, Don Juan. The movie was a hit at the box office.
1997 saw Johnny Depp playing yet another "Don," this time joining Al Pacino for the flick "Donnie Brasco," a film about the Bonanno crime family. Johnny's character, Joseph D. Pistone, infiltrated the dangerous family in the '70s and went by the name Donnie Brasco. The mob movie was both a critical and commercial success.
1999's "Sleepy Hollow" saw Johnny Depp teaming up with Tim Burton again and taking on the iconic role of Ichabod Crane. He starred alongside Christina Ricci and received rave reviews, which were echoed by massive gains at the box office. And though the film didn't receive any acting accolades, it won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
In 2001, we got a glimpse of a long-haired Johnny Depp in "Blow," a crime drama about a cocaine smuggler. The actor sported long blond locks as he starred alongside Penelope Cruz. The gritty subject matter showed off a different side of Johnny, but the film received a lukewarm reception both with critics and at the box office.
Next up is perhaps Johnny Depp's most memorable role of all time: Captain Jack Sparrow. Johnny signed on to star as the wily pirate in the first installment of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." The first film is considered the best in the soon-to-be six-film series, and it earned $654 million worldwide. Aside from being a commercial darling, the role led to an Academy Award nomination for Johnny.
Shortly after his family-friendly turn in "Pirates of the Caribbean," Johnny Depp signed on for 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." The Tim Burton flick, which was a remake based on the 1964 book by Roald Dahl, saw Johnny bring the quirky Willy Wonka to life. It grossed $475 million worldwide.
Johnny Depp took a break from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels to star in Tim Burton's musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in 2007. Though the film failed to gross a massive amount at the box office, playing this titular character opposite Helena Bonham Carter earned Johnny a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination.
Another whimsical flick! Johnny Depp took on the fanciful role of the Mad Hatter in the live-action fairytale remake of 2010's "Alice in Wonderland," which was directed by (you guessed it) Tim Burton. Despite not receiving the best reviews, the film went on to be the fifth-highest-grossing flick of the year, earning more than $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide and reigniting Johnny's impressive box-office earner status.
Johnny Depp's 2010 flick "The Tourist" opposite Angelina Jolie was not quite a romantic comedy and not quite a drama… which created its own drama when it came time for Golden Globe nominations. The genre debate didn't stop the film from grossing more than $278 million at the box office, which wasn't excellent considering its $100 million budget, but it redeemed itself by scoring three Golden Globe nominations (all of which were in the comedy category).
A mid-career crisis? Things turned abruptly for Johnny Depp's career beginning in 2012 with the film "Dark Shadows." He teamed up with Tim Burton once again for the horror-comedy alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green, but the film completely bombed at the box office. Unfortunately for Johnny, this was going to be somewhat of a trend…
Johnny Depp followed up "Dark Shadows" with 2013's "The Lone Ranger" with Armie Hammer. Johnny played Tonto, and despite being backed by Disney, the flick was hardly a commercial success. It cost $225 million to make, plus $150 million for marketing, yet only grossed $260.5 million worldwide. Ouch.
Things didn't get better for Johnny Depp from there, as his next flop came out the following year. 2014's "Transcendence" saw Johnny playing a scientist studying artificial intelligence. Despite having a strong cast (co-stars included Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall and Cillian Murphy), it was not well-received. The film barely made back its $100 million budget and received mostly terrible reviews from critics.
Another year, another major flop. 2015's disaster for Johnny Depp? "Mortdecai," a bizarre comedy about an art dealer. This project once again received negative reviews and failed to recoup its budget, earning $47 million despite costing $60 million to make.
We saw a Johnny Depp unlike any we'd ever seen in 2015's "Black Mass." The actor made a complete physical transformation to play career criminal James "Whitey" Bulger, which included prosthetics, a change of eye color and the application of each individual hair on both his head and eyebrows. The overhaul of Johnny's look took a total of 22 hours, and ended up paying off. The film received great reviews and earned $99 million at the box office.
Returning to his box office glory days by putting out a sequel to "Alice in Wonderland" should have been a surefire redemption plan for Johnny Depp, right? Not so much. 2016's "Alice Through the Looking Glass" did not live up to the hype and didn't make much of a profit considering its $170 million budget. The flick only made $77 million domestically, but fortunately, worldwide ticket sales brought the final total to $299 million.
Next up for Johnny Depp? Another "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, set to debut in May 2017. Though none of the sequels have been able to capture the magic box-office numbers of the first film, it's a safe bet that this one — "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," which co-stars Orlando Bloom, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush and newbies Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario — should give Johnny a much-needed box office boost.