Johnny Depp has another flop on his hands, following some dismal opening weekend numbers for the 51-year-old actor’s latest movie, Mortdecai. The $60 million crime caper, which co-stars Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny’s close friend Paul Bettany made just $4.1 million at the US box office, making it the third straight flop for Johnny in a starring role after 2014’s Transcendence and 2013’s The Lone Ranger. But Johnny says one person is to blame for the making of the film.
Based on the books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, Mortdecai sees Johnny rocking an impressive mustache and adopting a British accent to play art dealer and “part time rogue” Charlie Mortdecai, who must travel the world in a race to recover a stolen painting containing the code to a lost bank account. The project came about when Johnny was on the set of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, hanging out with his co-star Jack Davenport, who played James Norrington in the franchise. As Johnny told EntWise last week, it was Jack who lent him the books by Bonfiglioli, and perhaps predicting the lukewarm reaction to his resulting film, Johnny quipped: “So it’s all Jack Davenport’s fault.”
Johnny Depp and Jack Davenport with their Pirates of the Caribbean co-stars (Disney)
Critics may have hated it and audiences may be staying away, but for Johnny it was a no-brainer to turn the books into a film. “I just laughed out loud, which is rare with a book,” he told us. “I thought this would be amazing to bring to the screen, but would be impossible and it almost was, it took ten years.” As well as playing the lead, Johnny has a producers credit. “We probably had far too much fun. I’m sure at certain points, somebody, probably the producers, oh yeah that’s me I’m one of them. I’m sure that somebody got really annoyed at Paul and I for just losing it,” he points out. That producer’s credit, means Johnny was heavily involved in the film, and it shows. He’s letting loose with the character and the dialogue and this time there’s less people there to tell him to reign it in. Don’t forget, the studios trust Johnny though. He may have terrified Disney when he first cracked out his Jack Sparrow portrayal for Pirates, but after the films stormed the box office, studios genuinely let him run with it.
Johnny as Mortdecai (Lionsgate)
But for Mortdecai, Johnny had some specific inspiration. “It was kind of an allude to those actors that were able to pull off that kind of comedy in the caper of film. Peter Sellers certainly, Terry-Thomas has always been a favourite. A great deal is based on Terry-Thomas. There’s also a great French actor called Louis de Funès, he’s like watching fire,” he says. So maybe we can blame those screen greats too?