This week's cover: Congratulations, Johnny Depp! You're one of our 15 Entertainers of the Decade

When the decade began, Johnny Depp wasn’t the Johnny Depp of today—one of Entertainment Weekly’s 15 Entertainers of the Decade.

Yes, he was a talented and critically acclaimed actor. But he wasn’t yet a surefire box-office draw. Then, in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl happened. Capt. Jack Sparrow was one of those without-a-net performances, so singular and subversive that it’s hard to believe Depp got away with it. An added bonus was that the actor, now 46, was able to sink his soul into a blockbuster character without selling it. And no one was more baffled by his and the movie’s success — the first of the three Pirates films eventually raked in $305 million — than Depp himself.

When he sat down with EW in 2003, Depp said, “All I can say is for a guy like me who’s been dangling in this business for the last 20 years, to finally have something hit, it’s unexpected and very touching.” Now, in EW’s Best of the Decade issue, Depp shares something else unexpected and very touching: an extensive, uncharacteristically revealing list of his pop-culture essentials, including movies, books, and music. For instance, what are the man behind Capt. Jack’s two favorite albums by, who else, the Rolling Stones?

“Almost impossible to pick one LP, even more difficult to name just two, as they are all glorious, ” says Depp of Sticky Fingers and Tattoo You. “But these efforts have successfully soundtracked many a riotous late night out, slurping up the city, in another life.”

To find out the rest of Depp’s essentials, our complete list of Entertainers of the Decade, plus the decade’s 100 best movies, songs, TV shows and more, pick up the Best of the Decade issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands December 4.

Comments (270 total) Add your comment
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  • Matt

    I like Depp but the Pirates moves were garbage. Yes, even the first one.

    • Matt

      That should have said ‘movies’ obviously’.

    • TellyB

      I never “got” Depp’s appeal. All I see is a semi-charismatic actor who is talented, technically speaking, but who plays variations on the same character over and over. He is the to-go guy to play “the quirky,odd, strange” dude, and seriously, the only actor whose presence in a film makes me automatically decide avoiding that film…

      • Ambient Lite

        I agree, I mean I get that he’s a respected actor but there’s something about him that I just naturally tend to avoid. I’m sure I’ve missed out on good films because of that.
        And not to mention…he’s the “sexiest man of the year”??? Who the eff voted on that?!?

      • Celia

        Depp is amazing actor and yes, he does play quirky roles a lot, but if you saw him in Public Enemies and Chocolat then you know he’s capable of playing the straight-forward, cool guy too. He’s not all eccentricity. He can do it all and do it amazingly. That’s why he’s the “go-to” guy because the directors KNOW that they will get the performance they want out of Depp. He works hard and he really understands every role he plays. He’s one of a kind. And he’s definitely Sexy! But I still think the Entertainer of the decade was Harry Potter.

      • Catherine

        You should see Finding Neverland in which he plays a “normal” man. He’s excellent!

      • Gail Moore

        It’s a pity you’ve missed so many good films and so many nuanced performances – maybe subtlety doesn’t appeal to you.

      • Winona

        Have you ever seen him on talk shows?
        Letterman- Inside the Actors Studio-
        ect. So humble. So greatful. Just a class act. Who voted? I did. You want a 20 year old?

      • blue

        Seriously?

    • Ryan

      Depp is alright, but he’s never been in a great movie, except Edward Scissor hands. Aside from that, as well as that performance, he would be totally forgettable. Brad Pitt is a better actor: Ingloroius Basterds and Snatch and 12 Monkeys, all of those are classics. A River Runs Through it is arguably one of the best. And Pitt admits he’s no Brando or Dean. The best living Actor is Daniel Day Lewis, and if you argue that, you are a fool.

      • Linda L

        Daniel Day Lewis is one excellent actor. I was his fan since ” My Left Foot” His performance in Gangs of New York and There will be Blood just gave me chills.

      • canthardlyreadit

        “Brad Pitt is a better actor” – OMG that’s hilarious!

        Try Finding Neverland, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape & The Brave.

      • lynn

        Brad Pitt is a better actor!? Okay, good example of “different strokes for different folks.” Depp is one of the great actors of his generation. Whether you liked pirates or not – there was no character in film like Sparrow – his creation. And he has played numerous more straightforward roles. Matt reveals that he has not seen the body of work, but only knows those more well known quirky figures. Depp is a chameoleon – he can do it all. Totally deserves the title!!

      • Kaley

        I can’t believe someone thinks that Brad Pitt is a better actor than Johnny Depp. It baffles my mind. Brad Pitt is very hit-or-miss in his movie roles, Johnny is consistently excellent and completely commits to playing his characters. He isn’t always the “quirky guy.”

    • Cole9219

      Johnny Depp may not have rocked the Pirate movies, but he had other great performances in Sweeney Todd and Finding Neverland.

      • Lala

        Ed Wood too! I don’t really know what other actor could have pulled that off as well as Johnny.

      • MJ

        While I disagree with you about Pirates (thought he totally rocked them), I could not agree more about Sweeney. It is in my opinion his greatest role.

    • cooko

      Johnny Depp has been the most influential actor of the decade , no doubt about it. Good example of this is all this argument. He’s different and controversial. You can’t compare him to Day Lewis an Pitt these are method actors, Johnny’s not he’s different from all other actors, he created his own style that’s why he’s so admired by many of his fellow actors.. While other actors are driven by the movie, Johnny drives the movie, he’s so mesmerizing that you don’t remember much of the movie but you certainly remember him. If you haven’t seen at least 25 of his 40+ movies you shouldn’t talk, but just by watching Jack Sparrow you can see the genius in this man, yes the movie in itself was bad but like I said, Johnny rises above and delivers not matter what

    • cooko

      Matt you’re full of b.s. Johnny’s the greatest of this decade, is a fact. Not just the fans and general public recognized this, also his fellow actors admired this man.
      There’s many good actors(lewis,nicholson,Streep) but none has gone out of the mold and march to their own drum like Johnny, His acting is unique, refreshing, he don’t follow methods, he’s not driven by the movie… he drives the movie and make it his own.

    • jenny >.

      okay you really need to think
      when you watch pirate of the caribbean watch johnny you can tell he was made for that roll it’s all him and watch his other movie i think johnny chocie what he can work with that he can make it his own and people need despritly to undderstand that johnny is one of the greastest and that he is!!!!!!! watch is work and understand you should get in to acting to so you know why and how you have to make the roll ur own he is classic acter and anyone obviously besides you would be lucky to have him in the movie and that the movie will be an instant hit learn wat ur talking about before you say it thats wat u should do take my advice he’s a perfect actor he’s also so F ing hot and sexy!!!!

    • elizzabethmartinez

      matt you do not know what you are saying because the pirates of the carribean was huge success. like it or not iam a super super big fan of johnny depp he rocks!!! i love you johnny.

  • Hayley Goldstein

    I hope there’s something about Coldplay in there. But it’s pretty much definite that Harry Potter is going to have a tribute.

    • Ailene

      Ditto about Coldplay.

    • jennifer lopez

      yes love love JOHHNY AND COLDPLAY WOOHOOOO

    • Matt

      Uhhhhhh???? Jack White anyone??

      • S.O.

        If there’s no mention of anything from Jack White in this edition, I will go out and burn every EW Best of Decade magazine I see in stores.

      • hahaha

        ㄴ Ditto, that! :)

      • hehehe

        who’s that jack white anyways?

  • John

    Thank you, Matt, for sharing your opinion and taste on the matter as if it were undeniable fact. Always appreciated.

    • Matt

      anytime.

    • Cajun Joe

      Yeah, Matt was spot on wasn’t he?
      Congrats, Matt!
      Honestly.

      • Michael H.

        In Matt’s defense – this is a message board and he’s entitled to his opinion. I don’t see where he claimed his assessment of PIRATES to be factual. (And for the record, I haven’t seen any of the PIRATES films but I do like Depp in other things).

    • crispy

      Go Matt!

      • jenny >.

        not go matt you have no idea on what ur talking about he’s the best obviously

  • Heather2

    I think Johnny Depp is one of the few actors that I would watch in anything. Literally. He is that good. He has the looks and talent to back it up, and tries to stay private and out of the tabloids. The Man.

    • Krusty

      Sigh, I agree. The rare actor who is excellent at his craft, does what he wants, seems to have a good head on his shoulders and always entertains but on his terms. Enigmatic, handsome as hell and whip smart. Sigh, the good ones are always snapped right up.

      • lynn

        Ever watch the reactions of his peers. I remember one awards show where he made an unexpected showing. Meryl Streep was as excited as a teenager. Diablo Cody practically swooned. Actors across the board want to work with him. Ask any actor: he is one of the best.

    • amthyst

      Yeah!!!!!! i just LOVE Johnny Depp!!!!! I would watch him in anything… although sadly enough, my sense of responsibility makes me unable to watch all the R rated movies, My religion advises very strongly against it… :( If only I could get edited versions.

      • pg versions

        you can get edited versions, there is some family group in utah i think that produces them….google it…

  • dg

    I COMPLETELY agree with Matt that the Pirates movies were crap. I couldn’t even make it through the first one.

    • Jill

      But the first one was the best…..in my opinion because of Geoffrey Rush.

      • ks

        Geoffret Rush is the MAN.

    • elizzabethmartinez

      well i feel bad for you because missed all the amazing stuff. accept it or not my freind your loss

  • pop

    i think the fact that he got nominated for an oscar for pirates shows how great of an actor he can be. to take a disneyesqe movie and get an nom from it – way to go johnny. plus he’s way hot.

  • TorontoTom

    I just don’t get love for Depp! He doesn’t do a thing for me. I have a friend who calls him “the greatest living actor alive or dead today”…

  • Allie

    EPIC FAIL, EW.

  • JJ

    I hope twilight is not on there. I hope LOST is though.

    • Elizabeth

      “Entertainer”… unless Twilight sprouts legs, I think you’ll be safe :)

      • Cajun Joe

        Believe you-me.
        EW will have to make some sort of assanine statement that this ridiculous Twilight fad will be the biggie for the next decade or that is should’ve happened sooner to be included in the past one.

    • Ambient Lite

      You think your personal distaste for the Twilight series is actually reason enough for it to be excluded from a list of the 100 best stuff from this decade?!?
      Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s a huge phenomenon and completely worthy of being ranked as such.

      • Cajun Joe

        It will only be ranked to appeal to EW’s new found audience of cougars and jailbait since that’s all they seem to cater to these days.

      • Ambient Lite

        Yeah, EW should definitely ignore the massive success of the books and movies in favor of appeasing Cajun Joe and his band of half-wits.

      • crispy

        I despise Twilight. But I’d be shocked if Meyer or Pattinson are not one of the Entertainers of the Decade. They did entertain a lot of people… it’s like catnip for cougars. And just be thankful they aren’t on the cover again. :)

      • Ambient Lite

        Ohhh, but they will be! There’s an issue coming up with three different covers (Robert, Taylor, Kristen).
        And very nice on the “catnip for cougars”. Although I happen to think the Twilight adult women fans are usually too young to be cougars. crispy, I’m tasking you with coming up with a special name for them.

      • crispy

        I’m on it!

      • Celia

        What I don’t understand is WHY people insist on bringing up twilight when EW actually DOESN’T mention it (for once). Just don’t talk it. No one cares. It sucks and we know it sucks.

      • what the…

        I agree with Celia, why give such a terrible creation any more attention, even on a forum? The biggest fans I know of Twilight admit it is stupid, but light enough to stave off depression at a given moment. Seriously, if we are not depressed, 15 year old girls, giving it any more attention is a betrayal to our short and precious lives.

      • Ambient Lite

        Then why are you talking about it?
        (Yes, I know that was basically “I know you are but what am I”)

      • invaliduser

        twidiots exclaiming twilight should be mentioned as a major influence on the decade are delusional. maybe paul blart and faster/furiouser should be mentioned too? or michael bay/jerry bruckheimer?

      • Ambient Lite

        sigh…invalid…despite your blinding hatred for all things Twilight, you DO understand that it is hugely successful and popular…don’t you? I have no idea why you would mention the obviously unsuccessful movies you did as your very best example. Think harder. You can do this.

      • invaliduser

        influential on the decade? all those movies I mentioned made money? all the fast and furious movies are popular? All the michael bay movies make money and are popular. I am beginning to think you think twilight is the end all be all. New Moon has been out what two weeks? Twilight was beat out last year by four christamses? This is the decade right? To claim twilight should be mentioned is just plain ignorant.

      • Ambient Lite

        Yes, the series and the phenomena surrounding it was hugely influential on the decade. Yet you wouldn’t consider it to be in the top 100?!? And I’m ignorant?

      • invaliduser

        top 100 films of the decade? absolutely not.

      • dave

        How can anything that has only been popular for the last 14 months of the decade deserve to be considered one of the best entertainers of the decade? Sorry, Twilight does not deserve to be on this list.

      • Ambient Lite

        Sigh…the 100 list is not just movies, guys. She’s had the books on the New York Times bestseller list for a solid 5 years.
        The thing is, whether you like it or not, the entire franchise is popular and you just can’t argue with the impact and success it has had.

    • michka

      At least, twilight is not on the cover.
      Where’s Beyoncé, EW??? Why is it so hard to admit that Kanye was right???

  • torrence5

    There are actors/actresses that have had a more successful run than Jonny Depp over the past 10 years ( and I do realize he is just one of several to be featured). Certainly the Harry Potter films have grossed more (there are more of them). Meryl Streep has had stunning boxoffice & critical success (Moma Mia, Devil Wears Prada, etc) Matt Damon with the Bourne triology. Johnny did broaden his work with “Finding Neverland” & “Sweeny Todd” but even Leo has had as much critical success & of course there is Kate Winselt & Cate Blanchard to consider — and that is just acting.

    • Celia

      I agree. Cate Blanchett is pretty amazing. In the past ten years she’s done so much including LOTR, Veronica Guerin, The Aviator, Babel, Hot Fuzz, Indiana Jones, Elizabeth, I’m Not There, Notes on a Scandal, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and countless other brilliant roles. She’s constantly mixing it up and playing all kinds of different roles. She’s true entertainer. But I think she’s still kind of underrated and doesn’t get the praise she deserves.

    • dave

      Torrence, all the people you listed are of course fantastic actors and actresses. And maybe some are included on the list. But none of them were able to create a truly iconic and beloved character the way that Johnny Depp did. I think that’s the major difference.

  • Jane

    Radiohead and the Batman franchise will celarly get a mention. Especially as The Dark Knight is the most watched film of the decade in the US.

    • invaliduser

      they better

  • Denny

    Actually, I started the decade liking Depp far more than I do now, but I’m over Depp mania. I did like the 1st PIRATES okay, but Capt. Jack quickly became tired schtick he’d do for a big payoff and the movies became incoherent and sloppy. He’s an actor who excels at playing cartoony characters, but give him a role like Dillinger in PUBLIC ENEMIES and he comes off like a wannabe tough-guy poseur instead of a fully fleshed out master criminal. Daniel Day-Lewis, Guy Pearce, and Russell Crowe FTW.

    • Denny

      And as someone said previously, DiCaprio and Damon have done good work. So have Josh Brolin, the late Heath Ledger, and Edward Norton earlier in the decade, though he’s got a little cold streak going right now.

      • pop

        his guest appearance on modern family could be the sign of him coming back. it was great!

      • ash

        N pop it was the worst. It was so bad he made charlize theron on arrested development look better and she was terrible.

  • Ellen

    Depp is by far my favorite actor. I will watch anything he is in. But even as big of a fan as I am, I’m fully aware that he has done some serious crap in the past (Cry Baby, The Libertine, The 9th Gate, etc). I commend him on his ability to stay away from Hollywood but still be as amazing as he is on screen. Plus, having met him, he is as wonderful in person as I had dreamed him to be.

    • Carissa

      Cry Baby is the best / he is amazing in in (johnny is the hottest man living )

  • Zach

    I hope Beyonce is in there even though I don’t see her on the cover. She’s been one of the most consistent entertainers over the last eight years.

    • UGH

      I think by consistent, you should’ve meant overrated.

  • Totes Magotes

    Please let Robert Downey Jr. and Neil Patrick Harris be in there.

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