Johnny Depp has an acting range that surpasses any well-known actors of today with his diverse filmography that stretches from drama to fantasy, and even animation – he has done it all. One of his unique projects was 2011’s Rango, an animated movie that used an unconventional filming style.
Rango was a smash hit for both Depp and director Gore Verbinski, and it earned positive reviews while making over $245 million at the box office. The highlight of the movie’s production was its different approach as compared to other animated films, which was something that frustrated Depp.
Johnny Depp Had Doubts Against Director’s Filming Technique In Rango
“Well, yeah. I mean, ultimately, it was everything. Though there were times when you didn’t feel that, when you were doing it [and] you’d rather have been [in a booth] because you know, well, we’re lazy. At least I am. And I’d sort of rather just sit in front of a microphone and do the thing.”
Depp further added that the technique Verbinski wanted to apply was “ridiculous” and later on admitted his frustration:
“The process that we did, that Gore created this sort of atmosphere that was really, truly ludicrous. I mean, just ridiculous. It was like just regional theater at its worst. And somehow, because of – not the idea of ‘motion’ capture, but ‘emotion’ capture, you know? Certain gestures, body language, movement, something you might have done with your eyes – all those guys, these animators, took it and put it in there.”
Depp revealed that Rango co-star Harry Dean Stanton also found the production quite bizarre, but the actor later confessed ultimately seeing through Verbinski’s vision and admitting it was “the right thing to do”:
“Harry Dean Stanton to walk up to me one afternoon – because I’ve known him for a million years – and he walks up to me and says, ‘This is a weird gig, man.’ And I went, ‘Oh, yeah. You’ve just started. You just wait.’ But ultimately it was the right thing to do. And that was [Gore’s] vision, and we saw it through.”
Rango was, indeed, a memorable movie experience for Depp. Despite his initial doubts, he still went on to give his best performance. In fact, the film won Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards.
Johnny Depp Confesses Deep Connection With Lizards
As to why Johnny Depp accepted the role of a chameleon in Rango, he admitted feeling a close affinity to it, as he usually does when choosing a movie character that he wants to portray:
“I always had an affinity for lizards. I’ve always felt somewhat close to them. They’re reptile, feeling somewhat reptilian myself at times.”
Depp explained that when he did Pirates of the Caribbean, there was a specific run he wanted Jack Sparrow to do. He saw a video clip of a lizard running on water which he found very strange, and that inspired him to suggest to the director that his character needs to run like a lizard.
“So, I actually think that Rango was somehow planted in Gore’s brain from that run, from that lizard run, you know? And when he actually called me and said, ‘I want you to play a lizard,’ I thought, ‘Well, good, I’m halfway there. I know what I’m doing.’”
The Sleepy Hollow actor was extremely down for the project from the beginning, and despite his initial reservations about the motion capture technique, everything went well in the end.
Rango is available to watch on Netflix.