What was it like working with Heather Graham? ^ She’s real sweet. A nice kid. Worked real hard. I had only seen her in Austin Powers.
How about the Hughes Brothers? Most actors have a hard enough time taking direction from one director, what was it like for you to work with two directors? Only a handful of directing teams can actually do it right. ^ I was really impressed with the Hughes Brothers. As much as they bicker and fight, they really respect each other. They were really a gas. They were fun. Allen actually gave me one of the most beautiful pieces of direction, very subtly, during a fairly large and tense scene. As an actor each take you want to try something and go somewhere– just shake things up– and not get caught up in a competitive thing. So, I was trying stuff and Allen came over after the take, leaned down and said into my ear, ‘no sunshine.’ And I went, ‘okay.’ It just made perfect sense to me.
When I spoke with the Hughes Brothers earlier they mentioned that you had a personal DJ on the set that spun music into an earpiece you wore during takes. How could you hear anything they said if you were listening to “Uncle F*&ker” while they were shooting? ^ I didn’t actually hear what they said. I said, ‘what?’ (Laughs)
Did the Hughes Brothers make you watch any of the other films based on the Jack the Ripper tales? ^ Are there really that many? I watched Hitchcock’s before.
You’ve come a long way since your days on “21 Jump Street” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” yet most people still don’t classify you amongst Hollywood’s leading men. After everything you have accomplished as an actor, do you take offense to that, or is it something you planned? ^ It’s not that I shy away from being a huge star, it’s just that the idea of being a movie star… I’ve never seen myself in that role. I think that being a movie star would get in the way of being an actor. When I am in movies I want to play characters. My favorite actors are character actors, and I think that is just more interesting and more fun.
Many of your roles are based on real people, not all of whom have passed away. Is playing real characters something you enjoy, or is it just a coincidence so many of your roles aren’t fictional? And how does the pressure differ from playing people who are still alive versus those who are deceased? ^ I like playing real life characters. If you play a real person though there’s a whole lot more responsibility. With Ed Wood he was a real guy and there was footage of him in his movies, but there wasn’t that much material on him to be able to tell what he was really like so I had more freedom in a sense. I was always afraid on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas though that Hunter S. Thompson would sneak up behind me and attack me.
Get the rest of the interview in part four of IN DEPPTH: A JOHNNY DEPP INTERVIEW>>>