When it comes to Johnny Depp character’s, I must admit I’m a bit of a fanatic. And when he teams up with Tim Burton, something magical happens. His portrayal as the Hatter in ALICE was nothing short of spectacular, bringing a depth of character that I can only mimick in my own prose.
While watching the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN commentary, Johnny said of the scene where he is choosing his new crew, that he shot the scene with a banana because it “just felt like the right way to play it.” Oddly enough, that small blurb has changed the way I look at all my characters. Sort of the WWJDD - What Would Johnny Depp Do?
While I’ve never quoted the mantra above, I do try to look at my characters from all the angles. When JD held that banana, he felt it was right for his character - a simple gesture that reinforces his own brand of crazy. For me, I look to add those tiny details - a bit of flair, a hand gesture, a well placed knickknack - that may only take a word or a phrase to convey, but alters how the character is perceived.
Tim Burton paints a magical wonderland with his attention to detail, much of which goes completely unacknowledged by the characters or the plot. But his twisted trees and dirty edges evoke an emotional understanding with the audience. It is those tiny details that I find the most compelling and drive me as a writer to paint a more vivid text.
As for Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, I can only hope he is not finished telling her tale. To deny the world another glimpse of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter would be, well… mad.