After swallowing my pride once more and agreeing to portray a Buster Keaton knockoff in the romantic comedy, Benny & Joon, I set my sights on calming my phony soul by diving head first into an independent film called ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’ Hitting #1 on the college radio charts and influencing young people across the world to rage against the machine would be my biggest dream, but being the darling of the indie film world would be the next best thing for my psyche. However, I should have been more careful about what I wished for because when I didn’t get what I wanted, I felt just that much worse.
I went for the subtle acting approach strategy and took the lead character role of Gilbert Grape himself, thinking I would get mad respect from the cinephile community as an army general amongst thespians, which I did, but at the same time, I was outshined by my fellow actor, and current fat ass, Leonardo Dicaprio. I should have seen this coming from a mile away, as he played a retarded boy, but alas, I was blinded by my own ambitions. I’m also not one to be vain, but Dicaprio’s strong features and boyish good looks, turned out to be a problem for me as it made me look like a relative grandpa and yesterday’s news. So unless I’m taking the role of a hideous creature, like when I played Keith Richards in the Pirates films, I swore never to have a co-star that’s better looking than me in a film again.
The role of Gilbert Grape ate it me for quite some time as my plan seemed to backfire on me in a catastrophic way. My thunder was stolen by the king of the dad bod, and I got paid shit as well. How was I supposed to support my vino habit on an Independent Actor’s salary now? I was spending money like it was going out of style and now using embarrassing cliches like what I just wrote. My days as a punk rocker seemed dead if that was the drivel my commercial ass was now selling, so I made an even worse financial decision to compensate for my fragile ego.
The Roxy wouldn’t book my band to play some tunes after my early success. They thought I wasn’t avant-garde enough, so I opened a place of my own, The Viper Pit. And it became the hottest shit on the Sunset Strip. I drank, I jammed, I banged numerous woman with great personalities in my private bathroom. I was a hot mess, and nobody was there to save me from myself.
– Johnny Depp
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