It was December of 1990, my kick-ass band and I were touring all the best gin joints that the Southwest had to offer. I felt a little like me again after I bid adieu to my soul-sucking days on 21 Jump Street, then immersing myself in the works of renegade filmmakers in an attempt to sabotage my own career. I’d recently completed a film with a maverick named Tim Burton, and I hoped no one would watch Edward Scissorhands, so my fledgling career would die an early death while keeping my artistic integrity intact.
What mainstream commercial audience would want to see a movie about a strikingly handsome Frankensteinish Monster with scissors for hands? In my mind, not one. It was the perfect final project for me. I’d put on the performance of a lifetime, receive pay at regular union scale like the common man, and have Hollywood not see me as STAR that can carry a studio box office film. The last part was the biggest key of all. If no one wanted to hire me, I’d be saving me from myself. It’s just like how a gambler can register with a casino and other places of ill repute, as a way to help stop their addiction. If there is nowhere to get your fix, then staying on the straight and narrow becomes a much easier task.
My obsession was the easy money, free-flowing wine, and a penchant for wild ladies with a daddy complex. And I disgusted me to no end. I was on this train, and this was my only rational idea at the time about how to get off. I was so pleased with myself because I thought this plan was foolproof… but it turns out those feelings were fleeting as the reviews started pouring in, and everyone saw my magnificence in 35mm of glory.
Tim Burton’s film was a story about true artists being outsiders in regular society masquerading as a family-friendly fairy tale and critics country wide ate it up like it was their last meal. And they just didn’t praise the film, as I was on display now too. I didn’t intend to be a great actor. I didn’t want to be one. But my talent was just too strong. I was being compared with Newman, Bogart, Deniro, Jimmy Dean, and even Marlon Brando himself. And even though these comparisons may have been true, I was still hanging my fedora that this film wouldn’t draw a dime……. but my prayer for a bust must have gotten lost in translation. Edward Scissorhands opened to a surprising 6.5 million dollar opening weekend, which was then followed by an identical 6.5 million in weekend two, and on weekend number three, my mental health and addiction issues got the worst news of my life with a 50% increase in tickets sales, totaling 9 million dollars. The film was a bonified success and was ranked 18th at the worldwide box office in 1990. I also became a household name, and unfortunateIy, I was about to get lost at sea…… for good.
How did I know this? Because when the studio sent me my bonus check, later that day I found myself in the Napa Valley, on the grounds of the Joseph Phelps Vineyard, romancing four women inside their oversized foot stomping grape pool. The iv was now hooked into my veins for life. I was a full-blown addict, and this was the sweetest daisy chain these eyes had ever seen. There was no helping me now. The phony me was here to stay.
– Johnny Depp
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