Where do old interviews go to die? Since 1988 they've gone into the MTV News vault, but we've been exhuming them to bring you these classic natterings. Here's the latest in the series, which runs every Tuesday.
Last week was a pretty good one for both Johnny Depp and Sarah Jessica Parker. On Sunday, June 1, while he was accepting two statuettes at the MTV Movie Awards (for his performances in "Sweeney Todd" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), her new movie, "Sex and the City," was sweeping Indiana Jones out of the top spot on the national box-office chart.
Whatever celebrating Depp and Parker may have done in the wake of these events was probably done separately. (He has lived for many years in France, while she has remained a New Yorker.) The last time we saw them, though, in the fall of 1994, they were teamed up to promote "Ed Wood," a new Tim Burton movie in which they both featured.
"Ed Wood" was a most unusual Hollywood product: a Disney film, no less, shot in black and white, about "the world's worst director" — the titular Wood, a figure virtually unknown outside the cult of very bad movies. (Burton was reported to have had to work for scale in exchange for getting the picture made and retaining control of it.) Depp played the late filmmaker as a lovable naïf — an iconic combination of great cinematic passion and utter lack of talent. Parker played Wood's girlfriend and sometime lead actress, the formidably stiff Dolores Fuller. Other cast members included Bill Murray, Vincent D'Onofrio (who contributed a striking cameo as Orson Welles), and Martin Landau, who won an Academy Award for his touching portrayal of the has-been horror star Bela Lugosi.
"Ed Wood" was a surprisingly buoyant movie. Burton based the picture on Rudolph Grey's very thorough 1991 biography, "Nightmare of Ecstasy"; but in a fond attempt to protect his hero from the sort of ridicule to which he'd been endlessly subjected in life, the director cut the story off before Wood began his 20-year descent into soft-core porn and skid-row squalor.
Burton's movie was a box-office failure, but it remains one of his most moving (and funniest) pictures. He and Depp and Parker have all gone on to much bigger things, of course — and so, in a way, has Ed Wood. Mocked at the time of their release (and for years afterward), Wood's most famously woebegone films — like the 1959 "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and the pioneering 1953 transvestite feature "Glen or Glenda" (with the cross-dressing Wood himself playing the title characters) — are now available in multi-DVD box sets. People are still watching — probably more so now than back in the day. If only Ed himself were here to see it. All is forgiven.
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Check out everything we've got on "Ed Wood."
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