1. Johnny Depp
and Tim Burton
Tim Burton, wild-haired master of dark, kinky fictions, is nobody's idea of
Johnny Depp's twin brother. But the intense and quirky actor has become Burton's
doppelganger, projecting the wide eyes, fixed gaze and rictus smile of a
vulnerable or deranged innocent abroad, often traumatized by cruel parents,
unsuited for the real world. (That look can be traced back to the possessed tot
in Burton's 1982 animated short "Vincent.") If Johnny Depp hadn't existed, Burton
would have had to invent him, as Vincent Price does in "Edward Scissorhands," perhaps the director's finest,
most personal film. With his gift for shaping exquisite forms, Depp's
androgynously beautiful, pointy-haired naïf might have had the makings of a
cinematic genius. His weirdly imaginative "cuts" first make him a star, then an
outcast. It's the Romantic paradigm of the misunderstood artist -- or misfit
child -- eternally out of sync with the philistine masses. Freaks and failures
every one, from the cross-dressing Ed Wood, a movie-mad, spectacularly
untalented boychik churning out dreck -- and resurrecting Dracula -- in his
studio-playhouse; to Willy Wonka, who, deprived of sweets as a child by a
punitive dad, becomes lunatic puppetmaster in a killer eye-candy factory; to
vengeful Sweeney, using his barber's scissors to turn the world into abattoir.
Channeling Burton's sexually and spiritually arrested "children," forever
youthful Depp embodies Scissorhands' existential dilemma: "I'm not finished."
Safe to say that diagnosis also applies to 200-year-old vampire Barnabas
Collins, reborn to play in Burton's "Dark Shadows."