You look nice. What’s the occasion? ^ I just figured that if there was ever a day you should begin to grow up that would be today, I guess.
You just flew in from France, no? Do you feel safe traveling by plane right now with your family given all that has happened in recent weeks on airlines and in airports? ^ Yeah, I got in the night before last but without the family. I left them back in France. I go back in a couple more days.
Let’s talk about From Hell. There have been a lot of stories about the Jack the Ripper murders throughout the years, including Alan Moore’s comic book take on it. Were you familiar with Moore’s “From Hell” before signing on to the film, and have you read any of the other stories on Jack the Ripper? ^ I’ve read most of them, but this one is a strong one. The one that rings the most true to me though I think is about an American quack doctor who was in London at the times of the murders. He was brought up for questioning and was detained, and when they let him go back to America the murders stopped in England but began to occur in the states. That was pretty strong.
Because of the way 20th Century Fox is promoting From Hell in its trailers your character seems to resemble the role you played in Sleepy Hollow a lot. Are there really any similarities between the two characters, and were you at all worried to take on a role that could so easily be compared to Ichabod Crane? ^ No, not really. It’s similar territory in a way, but from my point of view the characters are so different, they are just such different guys, that in my perspective I think Abberline would have despised Ichabod Crane.
Recently you starred in Blow where you played George Jung, the man who established the cocaine market in the ’70s. Now in From Hell your character is addicted to opium. Is there a theme fans of yours should be looking for? ^ (Laughs) There’s no theme.
Was it hard for you to play Frederich Abberline, a character that is so well-known, yet people know so little about? ^ The facts that remain on Frederich Abberline are so few and far between. I know where he was born and raised. What bothered me was that the studio wanted Abberline to live and they wanted Abberline and Mary Kelly to end up together on a beautiful rocky cliff. I was adamant that that wasn’t going to happen to my character. Mary Kelly’s none of my business, so I suppose she survives.
If you knew so little about the character, how did you build him up? ^ When I was thinking about how to build up the character my first instinct was that he should be balding, but those ideas were shut down as the words were coming out of my mouth.
I know you filmed Chocolat and From Hell simultaneously. What exactly was your main interest in doing From Hell? Was your interest peaked due to the fact it was so drastically different from Chocolat? ^ Above and beyond everything else, the source material was just so well put together. The vision of the Hughes Brothers combined with the vision of Alan Moore… it’s one of the theories on the Ripper case that was pretty shocking and pretty important. It was just a great piece of work and they should be proud of that.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of IN DEPPTH: A JOHNNY DEPP INTERVIEW>>>