What’s With Johnny Depp and the Whiteface?

You’ve already chosen the best Johnny Depp poster. You’ve read one fan’s open letter to Depp that implored him to cut back on the quirk. If you’ve just crawled out from under that rock, you surely know by now that Depp is slated to follow in the footsteps of Jay Silverheels by playing Tonto in the new Lone Ranger film. And yes, just as he did in Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows…he’s going to appear…well, a little pale. I gave my own opinion about his taking on the role in my piece about the Lone Ranger Creed, but now, it’s time to address an even more significant question: What’s with all the whiteface?

I can’t think of an actor who has been so melanin-challenged in a wider variety of roles. Does Depp hold significant stock in Ben Nye? How many more roles can he possibly sign up for that require this pallor? I need an answer, so I guess I’ll Ask Movie Irv:

So, what’s the deal? Are Depp’s “whiteface” features better than his others? Was his remake of The Thin Man really delayed because they’re trying to rewrite Nick Charles as an albino? Maybe rank the best of “Paleface” Depp against his more…swarthy?…performances. I dunno. I’m not sure what kind of discussion to ask for here. I just find the whole thing a bit on the odd side.