Photo Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Since first teaming up for 1990's Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton have crafted some of the most indelible and off-kilter characters in modern cinema. And none has a more interesting inspiration than crazed candy maker Willy Wonka in 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: former President George W. Bush.
"Certain ingredients you add to these characters," 48-year-old Depp -- whose eighth collaboration with Burton, Dark Shadows, hits theaters May 11 -- said during an interview that aired on Tuesday's The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "Like Willy Wonka for example, I imagined what George Bush would be like incredibly stoned and thus was born my version of Willy Wonka." (Watch the interview below!)
Depp, who has also drawn inspiration from Rolling Stones musician Keith Richards (he based Pirates of the Caribbean's Captain Jack Sparrow on him), says that it doesn't take him too long to figure out his way into a character.
"Generally like within the first 10 pages of a script, something clicks, something hits, and you feel like there's something that you can add to the piece that might not have done before," he told Ellen DeGeneres. "And then the images start to come. The look starts to come."
So who -- or what -- was the inspiration for his turn as the sharp-fingered title character in Edward Scissorhands?
"Scissorhands was a combination. It was the idea of like a newborn, really like a newborn seeing things for the first time, and also a dog that I'd had. This dog that I'd had where sort of this unconditional love, this sort purity in my dog, those were his basic ingredients," he explained. "There was something very safe in being that open to things and seeing things as very new."
It seems like Depp and Burton will continue to have a long and prosperous relationship together, especially with good advanced buzz for Dark Shadows. In addition to the three previously mentioned roles, Depp has also worked with Burton in Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland.
Perhaps not surprisingly, in a new interview with U.K. newspaper The Sun, Depp claims that he owes his career to Burton.
"Tim had to fight to give me the lead role in Edward Scissorhands in 1990 when I was still unknown, and he's always stood by me, even when things weren't going well later in my career," Depp says. "If it hadn't been for Tim, I would probably be a minor actor working in horror B movies."
He continues: "I owe him so much because he believed in me from the beginning. I would play any role in any film that he asked me to do purely out of gratitude."
So let's hope Burton asks Depp to play the title role in Tim Burton's George W. Bush: The Stoner President of Pennsylvania Avenue. We'd certainly pay to see that.