It’s been a pretty rough ride for Johnny Depp of late, and Lone Ranger didn’t do anything to appease his critics. In fact it did quite the opposite, placing him well and truly in a creative rut. So what has the charismatic actor got left? Another Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood? Charlie and The Chocolate Factory?
Jonny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger
We took a little time and did a little maths. Of Depp’s last 12 films – the one’s that had ratings anyway – the average rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 51%. And that’s with Rango involved – the animated feature that saw Depp lend his voice to the titular role that scored an impressive 88% - and without that, his average would be way down.
Of his horror stories, The Lone Ranger and The Tourist stand out as the key offenders. The former bombing at the box office with £81.3m with the latter nuclear bombing with a shoddy £67.6m. It’s a pretty disappointing record, and it’s lasted five years since 2007’s Pirates of The Carribbean received a critical mauling.
The critics weren't impressed with Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp recently explained that he doesn’t have expectations – and considering his wealth and stature in Hollywood, he can probably afford to, but if he’s thinking about making his peace with the critics, what can he do?
Well, 2015 will see yet another Pirates movie - the fifth in the franchise - and has a lot of work to do to repair the recent damage to his reputation considering how bad the last one was. It might work well for his value, though, as fans of the series will flock to their local theatres regardless of the quality.
Depp has defended Lone Ranger to the nines
A sci fi movie called Transcendence, though, does have the potential to re-launch his flagging career. Directed by Walkt Pfister – who gained plaudits for his work as DOP on The Dark Knight trilogy – it’s about scientists creating a world where computers can supersede human beings.
He’s also confirmed to play Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker. Kolchak’s encounters with supernatural beings have made his peers, contemporaries and co-workers uneasy of him in this remake of Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series. Another promising project for sure.
If nothing else, Depp would be wise to pursue a role in the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic now that Sacha Baron Cohen has dropped out due to creative differences with the existing band members - they wanted a family friendly version of the enigmatic singer’s life, but Baron-Cohen wasn’t interested in dumbing down even his most sordid moments. Depp was rumoured to be in line for the part in the first place, and could certainly capture the nuances that made Mercury such a beloved icon.
Check out the Lone Ranger trailer right here
Of course, some, including Depp, might argue that he doesn’t need to pander to the critics; he’s enough wuality under his belt to soak up the mainstream parts and the subsequent paycheques that come with them. It’s not the most noble way to carry on as an actor, but no one can tell Depp what to do but Depp, unless he’s under contract of course.
We actually think Depp will bounce back from this mini rut. The future looks bright, if not blindingly so, and with an impressive back catalogue (prior to 2007 that is) he’s got the pedigree to carry on claiming huge parts for a while yet.