“- I sold my body, like a whore. The Church forgives whores every day.“ – Rafael.
ago, today (May 10), “The Brave” debuted on 50th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes,
France. The Independent drama movie is an adaption from Gregory McDonald’s
novel “The Brave” from 1991. The movie was filmed sometime in 1995, but before it
has been directed, re-wrote and co-wrote with his brother D.P. Depp, the movie
had a dark and troubled pre-production when it was under production of other
director. After the premiere at Cannes, where it received mixed reviews, it was
released only in selected theaters in Europe, most of them screened during
festivals. Later it was released as VHS and DVD internationally. In this movie,
Johnny also acts like the lead character, Rafael, a desperate Native American man
which found out a way to help his family, but he’ll have to choose between his
life or the money.
with his wife and two children in a remote community in the middle of a desert
and near a rubbish dump, Rafael, a Native American man, makes the most to bring
some money home, but after seeing the hopelessness of his situation and his
inability to provide something better for his family, he decides to star in a
snuff film (a genre that purports to show scenes of actual homicide) for a
large sum of money that he hopes will give his family a chance for a better
takes almost 12 minutes to the first line be told by Johnny.
During the movie, a character mocks Rafael
calling him by "Tonto.” 16 years later Johnny played Tonto in “Lone
The whole pile of garbage heap was all build for the movie. Johnny revealed that “500
tons of junk is very expensive.“
after filming the movie, in 1998, Johnny tattooed the symbol of the movie, inside
his right arm. The question mark was also tattooed over the ankle of his right
leg. In the movie, the symbols appear a couple of time times drawn in several
This movie marks the first and only movie he directed. He had to re-write,
produce, direct, he had decided to cast himself in the lead role to attract interest
from potential financers, but had to invest his own
money to make the movie. But working as director, producer and actor
pushed Johnny almost to the limit. He had to deal with everything, used to work
at least 18 hours almost every day and had do one thing he hates: Watch himself
in a movie. Last
year, in China, Johnny revealed that this may happen again once he has plans
for two movies.
Due to the negative reviews, Johnny
decided that the movie was never going to be screened or released as home video
in the USA. Many people only watched the movie after it has been imported or
released as DVD.
mentioned before, the movie had a troublesome pre-production: Before Johnny got
involved with the movie, “The Brave” was going to be the directorial debut of Aziz
Ghazal and set to be filmed in 1994, but in December 1, 1993, the whole
production had to be suspended after the murdering of his wife, his daughter,
and his own disappearance. Aziz was found dead, more than a month later and was
discovered that he murdered his family before committing suicide. A note was
found inside his abandoned car written "You
can never know the pain you caused me” as well as a copy of “The Brave”
novel. One of the top executives who met him talked about his weird connection
with the movie: “You know, it is really
strange. Sometimes when I talked to Aziz about ‘The Brave,’ I got this weird
feeling that he didn’t want to direct this thing… He wanted to live it.”
Johnny didn’t like the original script, but still took on the project as he was
moved by “the idea of sacrifice for family.” Even though, while re-writing
he tried to change the ending and instead of Rafael’s sad fate, he was going to
make him redeem himself to his family, but he had to give up this idea because
he didn’t find a suitable positive ending.
This was the second movie Johnny worked with his idol, Marlon Brando,
after “Don Juan DeMarco” in 1995. Johnny said that was the best part was that
he didn’t have to worry in direct Marlon, because he knew what to do with
perfection. His presence also made the budget rise to $ 7 million. This was
also the second time Johnny worked with Frederic Forrest after “21 Jump
Street” and with Iggy Pop, after “Cry-Baby” in
1990. Iggy in this movie is credited as “Man Eating Bird Leg”, because
that’s what he does in his scene.
Although the movie received mixed reviews, which somehow impacted on
the distribution to other countries, Johnny was not worried: "I couldn’t care less.
I didn’t make this film to entertain people. I’m not an entertainer… I hope people
really love it or really hate it.”
“ – No woman has ever left my arms
unsatisfied.” – Don Juan DeMarco.
24 years ago, today (April 7), “Don Juan
DeMarco” premièred in the USA. The romantic/comedy/drama movie has two
different sources for its story: While the modern-day story is based on
director/screenwriter Jeremy Leven’s short story “Don Juan DeMarco and the
Centerfold”, the flashback memories were based on the satiric poem by Lord
Byron in his version from legend of Don Juan. The movie was first screened six
months earlier at ShowEast in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1994, and later, 4 days before the release in the USA, had its
first official première with cast attending at the Academy of Motion Picture
Arts & Sciences, in Beverly Hills, California. Worldwide, the movie was
released throughout 1995 in several countries. In this movie, Johnny plays a
character who believes being Don Juan, the greatest lover in the world.
Dressed in cape and mask, in a costume that
resembles Zorro, a young, who claims to be Don Juan, had decided to commit
suicide, but is saved in order to undergoes for a psychiatric treatment with
Dr. Jack Mickler to cure him of his apparent delusion. But the psychiatric
sessions have an unexpected effect on the psychiatric staff and, most
profoundly, Dr. Mickler, who rekindles the romance in his marriage.
* Busy schedule: Five months after Johnny
had finished filming with Tim Burton in “Ed Wood”, he started “Don Juan
DeMarco” for three months and four months after finished filming, he started
filming “Dead Man”.
* This movie marks the second time he was dressed as woman, after playing Ed Wood’s drag alter ego, Shirley in “Ed Wood”
Previously, director Jeremy Leven had a
budget of $ 3 million to make the movie, but after having Johnny, Faye Dunaway
and Marlon Brandon in his team, the budget raised to over $ 20 million.
In the movie, while Don Juan has 21 years,
in real life Johnny was 10 years older: 31 years old. Also, actor and character, shares
the same birth name: John.
It was Johnny’s idea having Marlon
Brandon in the role of his psychiatrist. No one believed that he would make
Brandon accept the role, but everybody was caught by surprise when Brandon invited
them to talk about the movie and agreed to take on the part.
In order to learn a Latin/Castilian
accent, Johnny watched reruns of “Fantasy Island”
Collaborations: Johnny and Faye Dunaway worked
together 3 years earlier in “Arizona Dream”, and Johnny and Marlon Brandon
worked together again few years later in Johnny’s project “The
* As usual, everybody around Johnny loved his company. The crew used to talk how generous, happy and professional he was during the filming. In one of them, while Johnny went for one more day of makeup in a trailer, the make-up artist, Patty York, commented that she liked his shirt, but was not expecting that he took off and gave to her as a gift.
Johnny said that even though he didn’t
believe that any actor could become the character who’s being played, he said
that while he was being Don Juan for 14 hours a day, sometimes at night, he
suddenly would start to talk in a Spanish accent while in a restaurant. “It’s
weird. You have to whack yourself back to reality.” – he said.
Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, and Faye Dunaway in Don Juan DeMarco (1994). Photo by M Morton – © 1994 New Line Cinema