NR Digital

The Painted Outlaw

by Kevin D. Williamson
On tattoos and faux-rebellion

Earlier this year, the cover of Rolling Stone magazine featured an image of Johnny Depp, costumed for his role as Tonto opposite Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger, under the headline “Johnny Depp: An Outlaw Looks at 50.” Mr. Depp strikes me as an interesting man, one with a bit more panache than the typical Hollywood star and maybe a little bit of taste. But an outlaw? Setting aside for the moment the question of whether an outlaw is a desirable thing to be anywhere outside the creaking perpetual masturbatory adolescence of the sort of people who read Rolling Stone, Mr. Depp is not an outlaw. He may in fact be the farthest thing from an outlaw it is possible to be: a contracted employee of the Walt Disney Company. A heavily tattooed employee of the Walt Disney Company.

Mr. Depp has made some interesting films over the years, but his well-buttered bread owes its savor to his having spent years portraying an unthreatening, broadly comical character based on a theme-park ride that was, as a matter of historical interest, the last one whose development was personally overseen by Walt Disney himself. Some of those pirates from the original ride had tattoos, and several tattoo parlors now offer Pirates of the Caribbean–themed tattoos. You know who has one? Johnny Depp. Getting a tattoo based on a movie starring you: That’s outlaw.

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