Johnny Depp: I Hide Behind Characters

Actor admits he's more comfortable in character, than in real life.

Johnny Depp arrives at a central London cinema for the UK premiere of The Lone Ranger in Leicester Square, Sunday, July 21, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Johnny Depp has become known for being something of a chameleon courtesy of the actor’s affinity for mixing it up when it comes to his on screen persona - from eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka to swashbuckling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow and Dark Shadows’ haunted vampire, Barnabas Collins.

But rather than simply being a requirement of the roles he’s chosen, the actor has revealed that he loves changing his look because he doesn’t want to “play it safe”, adding that his transformations help him to overcome shyness.

[Depp: I'm socially inept at parties]

In a conversation with Iggy Pop for Interview magazine, the actor reveals he hides behind his characters, admitting: "I've always enjoyed hiding behind these characters. It's a strange thing, you're more comfortable as a character than you are in life.

"I could stand up in front of, it doesn't matter how many people, as a character. But if I had to do it as myself and give a speech, I would be liquid."

Depp went on to reveal that he hates the thought of boring the audience.

"I love the idea of changing my look,” he said. “I think one owes it to the audience, to go out there and give them something different each time, so as not to bore them to death.

"And I always felt that if you're not trying something different each time out of the gate, you're being safe, and you don't ever want to find that place of safety. I like that, each time, before I even go in front of the cameras, the studio's reaction will be fear.

“They have those hideous pangs of fear where they go, ‘He's f***ing killing the movie.’ [laughs] And I can't argue with them, because I might be. But I just know for the character that this is the right thing to do.”

Depp will next be seen in sci-fi thriller Transcendence, in which he plays a terminally ill scientist who uploads his mind to a computer, granting him unstoppable power.

“What fascinated me more than anything is the correlation between technology and power,” said the actor. “The idea that a guy who is able to download his sentient being into a machine can become god, or a version of god. Religion is a fascinating black hole to me.”

Transcendence hits cinemas on 25 April, 2014.