Johnny Depp, 52, one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors transforms himself again, this time to play crime lord, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger in the upcoming drama, Black Mass.
And in addition to his day job, he has taken on a side job as the new face of Dior for the cologne, Sauvage. He talks to MiNDFOOD about his modeling campaign, why he will never sell his property in the south of France, and the things he can’t resist.
Playing Whitey Bulger, this brutal crime boss, the subject of loyalty comes up throughout the film. How important is loyalty to you?
Loyalty to me is everything. The people you care about, the people who care about you and the people who have been there for you through the lows, the best and the utmost worst. I have a number of people in my life that I would do anything in the world for and I would commit crimes for and I would kill for. So, if you need anything taken care of… (laughs)
How did you sleep at night playing such a violent character?
Well, I never sleep well. I don’t. I am like the king of insomnia. But the weird thing is, I mean, I don’t know why I have insomnia but it may be related to some childhood angst or whatever, but I don’t think Jimmy Bulger had any trouble sleeping. I must say. There are photographs of him after specific acts that he had taken care of, photographs of him in a Lazyboy chair sleeping with his cats, about fifteen minutes after the fact, so he was fine. But yeah, I am the wreck.
He was very good to his mum. How has your mum influenced you?
My mum is an interesting bird. My mum grew up very, very poor, in Eastern Kentucky. This will sound like a lie, something you read about in Mark Twain and don’t believe it ever existed, but she was born in a log cabin, a shack where they had an outhouse, not even a regular restroom. So, she grew up tough; she was a tough kid. And I will remember forever when I was about to go to school for the first time in my life, she said to me, ‘If anybody lays a finger on you, pick up a brick and lay them out.’ (laughs) So I did. And I found that it worked. (laughs) And throughout your life, selectively, when one has to do that, not necessarily a brick brick, but the metaphor of a brick, you do that. But essentially what she was saying to me is never, ever take anything from anybody that is undeserved. Never allow injustice to be flung upon you. And I have taken that and I still got it and I will never be able to shake it. And that injustice, it doesn’t just apply to me, it also applies to the people that I love and that goes along with loyalty and that sort of thing. Yeah my mum prepared me well for life, I think.
I was reading that you’re selling your property in the south of France.
You know I was there recently with my wife, Amber, and I don’t know why the place ever went up for sale. It was never my intention or my idea. So I had it pulled off the market. Because it’s a place that has been very good to me and I watched my babies grow up there. I don’t believe that I could ever really let go of it because when I become smoke, I would love for them to have their kids there. And so no, I took it off the market.
Your daughter, Lily-Rose is already modeling and acting. How do you feel about that?
I didn’t expect it this early that is for sure but things happen when they happen and that’s what she enjoys doing. She’s been snatched up by Karl Lagerfeld to do some work for him which is astonishing, especially since her mother (Vanessa Paradis) was snatched up by Karl about the same age roughly. And it’s a funny thing, when you see your daughter transition from your baby, your little girl to suddenly a young woman. She is on the road already and there is nothing I can do to stop it! All you can do as a parent is just be there.
Your face is all over the world in the latest Dior campaign. Why now? Why Dior?
I will tell you why I did it. I had never done anything like that and it sort of never interested me, but the Dior people, one particular woman who works at Dior that I have known for a long time, and she is a great girl and she said essentially you can have control over this and over that and here’s the idea. So, Jean Baptiste Mondino, who is someone that I really admire because he makes fantastically irreverent things and I love him, so when we went to do the photo shoot with Jean Baptiste and the small film, knowing that Ry Cooder, the guitarist was going to be involved and I was going to be able to play some slide guitar with Ry Cooder, everything kind of fell into place. I am not even sure at the time that I knew it was going to be called Sauvage. But if they were going to name a fragrance and have me as its representative, I think Sauvage is pretty accurate. (laughs) And I really enjoyed it. And the funny thing is, doing that little film with Jean Baptiste, it’s almost more satisfying personally than doing a film where everything has to make sense and everything must come together mathematically. When you are doing these kinds of little commercial things or short films, nothing has to make sense. (laughs) And I much prefer that.
Amber said she can’t resist dark chocolate.
Did she only say dark chocolate? (laughs) So that’s all she can’t resist is the dark chocolate? Do you want to see her again? She can probably augment that answer a little. (laughs) She likes pop rock dark chocolate, I am just going to say that and put that out there.
What about you? What can’t you resist?
Well she didn’t say me, but Amber. (laughs) How about this: Amber and dark chocolate.