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“I was miserable living that lie”: Johnny Depp Won’t Forgive Himself for Playing “Fascist” Role for 3 Years

Johnny Depp opened up about the personal turmoil behind his role in 21 Jump Street.

"I was miserable living that lie": Johnny Depp Won't Forgive Himself for Playing "Fascist" Role for 3 Years


  • Johnny Depp disliked his role in the 1987 TV series 21 Jump Street.
  • He believed the role was "fascist" and hypocritical.
  • Depp tried to get fired from the series multiple times.

Over the course of his extensive career spanning decades, Johnny Depp has brought several iconic characters to life on-screen. Despite being adored by fans for his versatile performances, the actor himself does not feel the same, especially for his role in the 1987 TV series 21 Jump Street, which later inspired a movie of the same name. Depp candidly expressed his despise for the role in an interview with Playboy, as he shared that it felt like living a lie for three years.

Young Johnny Depp in a still from 21 Jump Street
Johnny Depp in a still from 21 Jump Street

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Johnny Depp Believed His 21 Jump Street Role Was ‘Fascist

Following his debut in Wes Craven’s classic film A Nightmare on Elm Street, Johnny Depp landed one of the lead roles of Officer Tom Hanson in the 1987 TV series 21 Jump Street. The series established him as a teen idol and made him a national star in the 1980s.

21 Jump Street
21 Jump Street

However, despite getting his big break from the series, the actor has been quite vocal about his dislike for his role. When asked during an interview with Playboy if he believed that the role was fascist, the Oscar-nominated actor said,

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“Sure it was. Cops in school? I mean, bad things happen in schools, but this was even worse than cops in school. It was preachy, pointing the finger. And it was hypocritical because the people running that show, the very highest of the higher-ups were getting high.”

Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street
Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street

The series ran for three years, and the actor describes these three years as miserable. “I was miserable living that lie for three years. Mortified,” he said as he questioned his credibility to deliver a message like “don’t get high” while he himself struggled with substance abuse at the time.

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Johnny Depp Tried to Get Fired From 21 Jump Street

Considering his despise for his role in the series, Johnny Depp tried to get himself fired from 21 Jump Street several times. Reports even suggest that the Pirates of the Caribbean star did every possible thing and even “trashed his trailer, caused trouble on the set” to set himself free from the role.

Johnny Depp as Officer Tom Hanson
Johnny Depp as Officer Tom Hanson

During his interview with Playboy, the actor shared that he did the series for free for a year and would have continued the same for another year just to get out of the show. “I couldn’t play that game. I would rather shrink back into everyday life than get stuck being that,” he said.

Depp was allowed to leave the production after season 4 in 1990 following a meeting with filmmaker Tim Burton. Once he left the show, the series suffered to keep its primetime slot and was canceled, with season 5 being its last season.

21 Jump Street TV series is available on Peacock.

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Written by Laxmi

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.