Johnny Depp, A Bridge Between Art And Commerce At Cannes
The Cannes Film Festival has always been more about the artistry of cinema than its commerce, but that has never discouraged it from showcasing some of Hollywood's gaudiest blockbusters, featuring, in recent years such marquee brand characters as Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, and -- this year -- Jack Sparrow and the Kung Fu Panda. Of course, that also means that the festival will be assured of bringing the likes of Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, and Angelina Jolie (all right, Jack Black, too) to its red carpet, thereby attracting a surfeit of media coverage that is certain to eclipse all of the world's other film festivals combined. Indeed Saturday's news conference featuring the stars of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides, which followed an out-of-competition press screening of the movie, was as packed as neighborhood theaters are likely to be next weekend when the film officially opens. Depp, who was a darling of the art-film crowd when he was appearing in such high-minded esoterica as Cry Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What's Eating Gilbert Grape , and Ed Wood, clearly had no concern that they might reject him for selling his soul to Hollywood mogul Jerry Bruckheimer. When he was asked if he was afraid of how critics might react to his latest Pirates popcorner, he replied dryly, "Yeah, I have always feared the critics. Critics scare me, and that's why we came to Cannes." (A reporter for the Hollywood Reporter later suggested that the remark was less than diplomatic.) The critics who are important to him, he said, are his 11-year-old daughter Lily Rose and his eight-year-old son Jack. "I started out secretly testing characters on them to see how the reactions would be," he told the Cannes news conference. "So they go and see the movies, and basically, I can tell by their reaction if I did all right or not. So I'm very lucky in that way. They seem to enjoy them so far. I haven't been fired by my kids." Nor is he about to be fired by Disney. He told Saturday's news conference that he'll continue making Pirates movies until he "runs out of stuff" He said, "When you run out of opportunities and possibilites for the character, it's over with." No one at the press conference asked him if he'll ever return to appearing in art films.