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Brando & Depp: Living Life To the Fullest
No one wants to be a novelty.
When the two great actors Marlon Brando and Johnny Depp met in person for the first time, they discovered an unbelievable coincidence. Depp revealed in a 2016 interview that when he pulled out a piece of paper he carried around with him, Brando asked him to read it. Depp started to read from the page until Brando took over, finishing it from memory.
The page was from William Saroyan’s play The Time of Your Life, and it influenced the lives of Brando and Depp so intensely that they both carried it with them. The excerpt ends with the following.
“Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live — so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”
The softness of the quote gives way to violence, then delight. It shows how they look at life. Both Depp and Brando see the beauty in the people and things around them and are not solely focused on their careers. They understand that acting is their job, but there is a lot more to life.
Also, the quote reflects the business of Hollywood and the difficulty of becoming a successful actor. Having the confidence to enter and succeed with longevity in a challenging industry is a feat rarely accomplished.
Lastly, the quote also mirrors the acting styles of both Depp and Brando.Both incredible method actors in their own right, they become their characters. They are so believable, at times, they feel unpredictable. Whether its Brando portraying Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather or Depp becoming Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, both men can display the full gambit of emotions to bring their characters to life.
Brando and Depp are two of the best method actors of all-time. They both appear on an IMDB list of the top 100 actors of all time. The list takes into account lifetime success and overall acting ability. Brando is second on the list, and Depp is sixty-sixth, but both men score 5 out of 5 stars on their acting skill, overall versatility, and role transformation. Depp still has time to rise on the list.
In the same 2016 interview, Depp, who always looked up to Brando, expanded on why he bonded so immediately with his idol:
“We connected on many levels, especially the fact that no one wants to be a novelty.”
Brando and Depp are both lauded for their acting ability. In interviews, they often get treated as larger than life figures who have superpowers, but they see themselves as regular guys who happen to be successful actors. Their eccentricities are not superpowers, but character traits, just like everybody has. Depp and Brando do not value each other based on their movie roles. Depp appreciates Brando for who he is and vice versa.
Brando and Depp first worked together on the film Don Juan DeMarco. At one point in the movie, Dr. Mickler (Brando) says to Don Juan (Depp), “I have some pills here, and I want you to take them, I think they will help.”
Don Juan responds, “Pills to stop delusions? Well, then I am afraid we must take these pills together because you are severely deluded.”
Brando and Depp’s relationship was cemented by their work on Don Juan DeMarco, evidenced by Brando convincing Depp to sign onto his next movie Divine Rapture. Two weeks into the production of Divine Rapture, the escrow account set to fund the film was found to be nonexistent, and the movie was scrapped.
From what I have learned about Depp and Brando, news of the film’s collapse would have likely sparked conflicting emotions. I am sure they would be sad not to get to work more together, but happy to have more time to spend doing personal things.
Marlon Brando said in the blooper roll of a 1989 interview with Connie Chung, “Life is a mystery and its an unsolvable one, and you just simply live it through, and as you draw your last breath you say, what was that all about? Who knows?” It is not clear just how serious Brando was about his words, but he did live his life to the fullest before his death in 2004 at the age of eighty.
Brando and Depp are not defined by their time on screen. Brando has eleven children and was heavily involved in social justice issues during his life. Depp has two children, plenty of love affairs, and has played in a band for much of his life. To both Brando and Depp, the core of their bond is their ability to enjoy the infinite delight of life.