Johnny Depp’s Guide to Selling Out Without Anyone Noticing

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Become a Disney pin-up without losing your indie cred, in five easy steps.

When I say "Johnny Depp," what comes to mind? Films about misfits and outcasts? An assortment of vaguely boho hats, scarves, and glasses? Well-defined cheekbones? Other than "all of those," what should come to mind is a man who's made himself ridiculously wealthy starring in popcorn movies, without losing the cool-dude aura that surrounds him like smoke from those ridiculous little mini-cigars he's always smoking. And so, after a painstaking and careful analysis, I present to you Johnny Depp's Guide to Selling Out Without Anyone Noticing.

1. Choose "off-beat" roles that aren't really that off-beat.

Fans often use words like "quirky" to describe Depp's early filmography, because it's filled with roles like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Gilbert Grape. These characters are sensitive outsiders buffeted about by an uncaring society that just won't let them be. But most of those performances were for Tim Burton, and Tim Burton's about as edgy as Hot Topic. Not to say the movies weren't good, but they're still mainstream; Edward Scissorhands made $80 million. Probably Depp's most experimental film was Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, and even that's not exactly a Lars von Trier picture.

2. Have a well cultivated list of friends.

Johnny Depp's friend group is like the elite team assembled in every action movie. But instead of saving a Thai village or something, they simply act cool. Consider his long-running friendship with Rolling Stone/walking pharmaceutical precedent Keith Richards, or the fact that he cohabitated with Hunter S. Thompson as research for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (and later paid for Duke's ashes to be shot from a cannon). Depp's friend circle also includes Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks, and his own former bandmates in the alt-rock group P, Flea and Gibby Haynes.

3. Act indifferently towards your gigantic piles of money.

Johnny Depp is rich as hell, which is a fact he often conceals by dressing like a homeless man. He made $50 million for Alice in Wonderland, and his films have earned around $6 billion worldwide. But he makes up for his extreme wealth by also being generous in a charmingly rakish way, like giving large tips and donating millions to hospitals as a "thank you." Spending money on whimsical stuff is undeniably cool.

4. Live in France.

Now, I'm not suggesting that the only way to be cool is to live in France, but you have to admit it helps. Depp's Gallic residence is an integral part of his mystique. One, occupying the land of cigarettes and absinthe adds to his bohemian cred; two, it means he's mysteriously out of pocket in a way a lot of overexposed Hollywood types aren't. Also, he co-owns a restaurant near the Champs-Élysées with Sean Penn and John Malkovich, which sounds like a great set-up for an unusually highbrow sitcom (and also represents yet another fanciful cash outlay).

5. Be extremely handsome.

Look at him. Great hair, weirdly lovable sense of style. And the bastard does not age. I want to know whose blood he's bathing in, because it's working wonders for him. There's science, there's religion, and then, somewhere at the intersection of all that, Johnny Depp's good looks; if a man that beautiful wants to earn a colossal fortune making bad pirate movies, who dares call him a hack?