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Johnny Depp tried to get himself fired from ’21 Jump Street’ as it limited his creativity

Johnny Depp and actor Peter DeLuise | Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images


Johnny Depp tried to get himself fired from ’21 Jump Street’ as it limited his creativity


Originally, Depp aspired to be a musician. Nonetheless, since nothing was paying the bills, he was ready to do anything for a job. After searching for employment at grocery shops and restaurants, Depp was eventually able to make his start in Hollywood thanks to the assistance of a buddy. Nicholas Cage was that friend. Depp’s first film role was in Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.

Johnny Depp came to prominence with one of his first appearances in the 1987 television series 21 Jump Street.

The 52-year-old actor revealed that he was ill when he auditioned for his breakthrough role in 21 Jump Street in 1987.

“I was broke and I was sick as a dog so I was talked into it. I went there and I signed some piece of paper. I did the screen test. The next day, I was on a plane to Vancouver,” he said. “I guess that was my best audition.”

Johnny Depp is one actor who has played many shades onscreen, and although his career now seems to be filled with some of the scariest villains as well as amusing characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, the actor began his path as a ‘teen idol.’ After appearing in Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, and Cry-Baby, Depp landed the part of Tom Hanson in the 1987 TV program 21 Jump Street.

“When I auditioned for 21 Jump Street, it was a last minute thing. I had one of the worst flus that I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I was forced to go to the audition, the screen test,” he said at AFI Fest 2015.


Depp said that he was originally reluctant to transition from cinema to television work, but with the combination of being ill and in need of some additional income, he was easily persuaded to attend to the audition.

His performance on the TV program is still remembered fondly by his fans, yet few know how the actor came to land it.

Looking back, the actor realizes that being a little under the weather may have really worked in his favor. “You’re always better when you’re distracted to that degree.”

“It’s an uncomfortable place to be where you feel like you must be on. I was never, ever, ever good at it. I’ve had some rank auditions where I embarrassed myself to new heights, which is hard for me to do,” he said. “I was never good at auditioning. There are a number of actors over the years come up the ranks who are horrific at auditioning.”

He also recalled his most recent “mortifying” audition, in which the room went quiet — and not in a good way.

Although Johnny Depp is grateful for his experience on 21 Jump Street, he attempted to get dismissed from the show many times.

Depp even went so far as to destroy his camper because he felt like he was “in a creative prison.” Depp, fed up with his teen idol status, tried all he could to be booted off the program. Fortunately, after meeting director Tim Burton, he was able to expand out into the parts he was most interested in.

Although Depp is thankful for the show, he cannot help but believe that it limited his originality as a performer.

The notion of being reduced to the position of a “teen idol” grew more unsettling for Depp, who wanted to venture out into more bizarre parts.

In an interview for the show, he says, “In the first two seasons I thought there was a lot of good stuff going on. There were good, important messages. But I think around the third season, it started to get a little show-boaty, you know what I mean? It just started to become false. It started to become this action-packed can of soup, you know? You just market it, and send it out.”

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