Johnny Depp has many faces.
With the exception of a few, I've fallen for all of them (you have to admit, he's creepy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, though brilliant).
I watched 21 Jumpstreet, and Cry Baby, Edward Scissorhands and Benny and Joon. I've also seen Pirates of the Caribbean (all of them) and some of Depp's darker films, like Blow, From Hell and Secret Window.
No question he's one hunky guy.
But more than his movie-star looks, it's his versatility that continues to amaze me. He's been my muse avatar before - mostly because he leaves me breathless, but also because he seems to have a good handle on balance. His family life is fairly protected from the paparazzi, and back when he could have been cast as simply a heart throb, he recognized "looks" weren't enough - and became, arguably, one of the finest actors in the world.
He's also one of my idols.
I had the pleasure of seeing him in action again this weekend, acing the role of the Mad Hatter in one of my favourite childhood books, Alice in Wonderland. My Mom used to call me Alice when I was young, her little dreamer. Because of the sentimental attachment I have to the book (and her nickname), I worried how it would play out on the screen.
I shouldn't have stressed. The combination of Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp just works - after all, was it not this team that nailed the screen adaptation of my other favourite book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Burton created an amazing on-screen world, filled with fantastical scenery that made me want to write fantasy again (or at least revisit some of the scenes in Jack of Hearts). Helena Bonham Carter absolutely rocked it as the Red Queen - I can still picture her heart-shaped lips shouting "Off with his head", and each time, I get a little tingle in my belly, as though reliving my childhood. (After reading AiW I used to wander around the house shouting "off with her head." Sadly, this threat was generally met with eye-rolling.)
But of course, in many ways, Johnny was the show stopper, his portrayal of the Mad Hatter a cross between the quirky Wonka and the sexy Jack Sparrow. As a youth, my focus was always on Alice, so much so, I'd forgotten the tremendous role of the Hatter. Of course, Johnny makes him memorable now.
And so, when I awoke this morning still thinking of both the Red Queen and the Mad Hatter, I had little doubt as to whom should be cast as muse avatar for the week. Versatility is Johnny's speciality - and I could use a whole lot of that right now.
Besides, he's hot.
The Book In My Bag Today: Whiskey Sour, J.A. Konrath