Johnny Depp Was Completely Broke And Had A Terrible Flu When He Auditioned For The Role That Changed His Career

It’s hard to imagine Hollywood without Johnny Depp. The 59-year-old is the recipient of multiple accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, two BAFTA awards and three Oscar nominations. Depp made his feature film debut in the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and appeared in the war movie Platoon (1986).

In the 1990s, Depp acted mostly in independent films, often playing eccentric characters. These included Cry-Baby (1990) and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). Depp also began his longtime collaboration with director Tim Burton, portraying the leads in the films Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

But Depp’s big break came as a teen idol on the television series 21 Jump Street (1987–1990). The series focuses on a squad of teenage undercover police officers investigating crimes in high schools, colleges, and other venues where young people reside.

But Depp’s rise to acting royalty almost did not happen as he was extremely sick during the audition process of 21 Jump Street…

Johnny Depp Tried To Get Fired From ’21 Jump Street’

Johnny Depp gained national recognition as a teen idol in 21 Jump Street. But as grateful as he was for the opportunity, Depp found this « heartthrob » status irritating. In an interview with the Telegraph, he explained that « he felt in prison creatively. »

Depp elaborated on his feelings, stating that « it started to get a little show-boaty. » He added: « 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.” As a result, Depp reportedly did « everything he could » to get fired from the 21 Jump Street production. This despite being aid $45,000 per episode.

Eventually, Depp, who wanted to do more challenging movie roles, deliberately destroyed his trailer in the hopes of being fired. He even put a minimal amount of effort in his acting in the latter seasons of playing Officer Thomas « Tom » Hanson. But his antics could not convince 20th Century Fox to let go of their most marketable asset mid-season. He was eventually released from his contract after the fourth season. Depp’s name still appeared in the credits for two episodes of season 5, despite his absence from them.

Johnny Depp Had ‘The Worst Flu’ When He Auditioned For ’21 Jump Street’

During an interview with The Guardian, Depp revealed that he was broke when he auditioned for his role in 21 Jump Street.

He did not want to do a television series, but went for the audition because he needed the money. He explained the audition was a “last-minute thing” and during the audition, he had one of the worst flu he has ever had.

But despite his illness, he went for the test, signed some papers, did the screen test, and the next day he was sent to Vancouver for filming. Depp later regarded his 21 Jump Street audition as his best.

Holly Robinson Peete Had A Blast With Johnny Depp On Set

Holly Robinson Peete acted alongside Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street as Sergeant Judith « Judy » Hoffs. In an interview with Huffpost Live, she explained that despite being attracted to his charisma she kept things professional.

“We never dated,” Peete said of Depp. “I remember my mom, who was a manager at the time, a talent manager, was like, ‘Listen girl, whatever you do, don’t date those boys’… We were up in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were in our 20s. It was like the world was ours, and you know, there were so many opportunities. But I was smart enough never to date the guys I worked with.”

Peete revealed that though she and Depp didn’t become romantically involved off-screen, they still enjoyed some good times together. “We flirted, we had fun,” she shared. “But it was kind of, it became a little bit more brotherly-sisterly relationship pretty quickly. But it was the best of times for sure.”