He keeps himself in such good shape that Johnny Depp could probably still get away with portraying a youthful-looking undercover cop.
Although now 46, Depp looks to have barely aged since taking on the role that kick-started his rise to Hollywood stardom more than two decades ago – that of Officer Tom Hanson in the hit TV show 21 Jump Street.
Now, while Depp won’t be going back to school, it does appear he could be back playing Hanson – or an entirely different character – in the upcoming 21 Jump Street movie, which is in the early stages of development.
The actor has previously said that he would be interested in making a cameo – “I’m hoping”, he told EW – and now 21 Jump Street co-writer and actor Jonah Hill has revealed there is a spot for the Academy Award-nominated Depp.
Asked by HitFix if he and his fellow screenwriters were taking Depp’s interest in the project seriously, Hill said:
”Hell yeah, we take it seriously. It would be great if Johnny Depp wanted to do a cameo. We wrote him a really funny one, so hopefully he does it.”
Hill has written the script with Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and first-timer Joe Gazzam, so while everyone is taking these matters of casting seriously, don’t expect the film itself to follow suit. It will probably be more from the Starsky and Hutch school of TV-to-movie adaptations, more so than the Mission: Impossible one.
So far, Hill is the only actor on board the film, which is being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys behind recent animated release, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Shooting isn’t set to start until next year, which would certainly give Depp plenty of time to fulfill his commitment to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is almost ready to start shooting in Hawaii.
Depp starred in three of the five series of 21 Jump Street, which of course centered on a special unit of police officers who infiltrate schools and colleges to investigate crimes. At the time (1987-91), it was one of the coolest shows on TV. Seeing how it translates today will be interesting.
Out promoting his new film Get Him to the Greek, Hill likened he and his co-writers’ 21st century take on 21 Jump Street to the Back to the Future series (and thankfully not Old School with Will Ferrell).
“The fun is that they sort of go back to high school and immediately revert to the way they were in high school and lose the swagger and confidence they’ve gained as guys in their mid-20s.”
The show also starred Holly Robinson Peete as Judy Hoffs, Peter DeLuise as Doug Penhall and Dustin Nguyen as Harry Truman, and at one stage Richard Grieco, who remarkably got his own spin-off, Booker, after the character was meant to be killed off at the end of series three.
No word if any of these original cast members will also be approached about making their own cameo appearances. It would be nice to see.
It goes without saying though: Depp would be a welcome addition to 21 Jump Street, adding a touch of class to what it must be said is a risky project. These types of remakes usually are. They can be very hit (see The Fugitive) or miss (see The Dukes of Hazzard). What might help further is Hill not including his Superbad co-star Michael Cera.
We’ll let you know more about 21 Jump Street as the news comes in. Stay tuned.