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Christopher Lee Sinks Fangs Into Hollywood's Neck

Kudos to Christopher Lee for speaking his mind in a recent television interview about Hollywood's preference for beauty over talent, though he appears to have (wisely?) saved his remarks for British television. The Guardian reveals that Lee has even considered cashing in his enviable film career over his chagrin. In addition to the abundance of inexperienced actors who flourish in the American film scene, he cites the overall lack of professionalism among studio and funding ranks as another source of frustration.

Both points are well taken, and if anyone is in a position to lay claim to such observations, surely it's a deeply respected actor like Lee, who's been making movies for over fifty years. But I have to admit that the one-time Prince of Darkness loses me with the exception he comes up with to the beauty-over-substance rule: Johnny Depp. He doesn't just call him an exception; he refers to the popular film star as "the number one actor in the world."

I don't get it. I've liked Depp in some things ("Ed Wood," "The Ninth Gate"), and I've hated him in some things ("Pirates of the Caribbean"). But mostly my impression of him is that he's more scenery than scene-stealer ("Sleepy Hollow," "Secret Window"). I just don't get the appeal. Saints preserve us if he gets wind of Lee's comments. His head is apt to tear open and ooze ego all over the place.--Pete Mesling

Posted by Pete on January 19, 2006 11:02 PM
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Fear and Lothing in Las Vegas is an incredible film directly *because* of Depp's eminent skills as an actor. Sure, he does off-the-cuff throw away films as well but, personally, I really enjoyed Pirates of The Caribbean—I'm also looking forward to the sequel.

Depp's rendition of Willy Wonka was more true to source than Gene Wilder's as well; I adored the original 70's film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and still do), but it's deviations from the book did disappoint me. Having said that, the new version ultimately felt two-dimensional and not original or striking enough (Depp's performance aside) to supercede the original.

-- Posted by: Pete Fairhurst at January 20, 2006 7:34 AM

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