Walt Disney Pictures
There must be a room in Johnny Depp’s mansion devoted solely to the silly hats he’s worn in past films (do you think he ventures back in there to re-wear them now and again? Could Depp’s Willy Wonka top hat stack on top of his Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter top hat?). And if that’s the case, he’s got another prized piece of headwear to add to the collection: one crisp grey fedora, sporting two large wolf ears and a tuft of extraneous fur. That one’s courtesy of Into the Woods, the latest silly-hat feature Depp’s got in the works (as well as another Pirates of the Caribbean, another Alice in Wonderland and Mortedcai, which may only be going the silly mustache route for now, but where mustache goes, hat often follows).
We’ve seen trailers and images for Into the Woods before, but nothing of Depp’s character, the movie’s version of the Big Bad Wolf (or The Wolf, if you’re into the whole brevity thing). But with a generous assist from Entertainment Weekly, we’ve got a glimpse of Depp, decked out in his formal lupine finest.
And it is weird.
Surely you saw the image above and had some kind of involuntary reaction to it. Maybe an Ooooh, neat! but probably just a long, drawn-out sigh and a wistful remembrance of when Johnny Depp was in the acting game for the acting, and not just to add to his secret silly hat display room. All we could think about, however, were more questions; questions brought up by this ridiculous anti-wolf costume and how Into the Woods could possibly ask us to take it seriously when it looks like Depp stumbled onto this magazine cover after crashing through a Halloween store’s clearance section. So here’s a few for you to ponder.
What’s With All the Extraneous Hair?
It took me a good 30 seconds from looking at this Deppwolf to actually realizing which parts of him were genuine wolf fur and which parts of him were zoot suit (and, maddeningly, which parts were zoot suit decorated in wolf fur, which makes it all the more difficult to comprehend). Here’s what seems to be going on – the ears poking through his fedora are all Depp, the extra fluff that sits on the front of the brim is not. The shagginess around Depp’s wrist that pokes through his jacket sleeve also appears to be real Wolf, the strip of fur down the front of the jacket, not so much. The jacket is also textured with a part-fur/part-pinstripe pattern, making it difficult to see where the suit’s fur patch ends and the regular fabric begins.
All of which makes this design dangerously difficult to read at first glance. And if you’re in the business of overthinking fanciful wolf costumes, there’s plenty to slowly drive you insane. Did he shave his own fur to make the suit? Did he buy the suit himself? What self-respecting wolf would buy a suit made from the fur of another wolf? Hopefully it’s just wolf-pleather, and we can all rest easy.
Is the Tex Avery Influence Intentional?
Anyone with a solid background in cartoon-watching probably saw Depp’s combination of wolf and 1930’s jazz-formal attire and immediately thought of the wolf from those old Tex Avery cartoons. He too, was a wild animal dressed in a snazzy suit (complete with pocket square), although he did go hatless. And if you did think Tex Avery, you’re not alone – because that’s the comparison that nearly everyone else writing about Depp’s Into the Woods getup is making. Here, have a smattering of articles all name-dropping that same cartoon wolf at one point or another.
But was the reference intentional? Well, we actually have an answer for this one. Yes. Yes, it was. A follow-up by EW pulls a few quotes from inside the magazine, and one of them tells us all we need to know. Yes, the Wolf was designed to look like Avery’s cartoon wolves of old. Also, despite everything else in Into the Woods being “grounded in reality,” Depp will not be. Instead, he’ll pull all kinds of reality-breaking cartoon moves as the legendary grandma-eater. Says Depp himself: “one second the Wolf is here, and then, boom, suddenly he’s over there.’’
How Does He, You Know, Eat People?
Not to spoil any of Into the Woods, but a substantial portion of the Big Bad Wolf’s fairytale footprint involves the eating of others (and, occasionally, dressing in their clothing). This may play a part in the film. So we wonder – how is that gonna go down? Depp, for all his ear and fur and claw, is still sporting a standard-issue human mouth. And I’m fairly certain (although I haven’t tested this in the field) that the average human mouth is not large enough to swallow a grandma whole.
There’s a fairly easy fix for this – just go all Tex Avery on the matter and cartoon your way around the obvious physical limitations – but it’s still something to ponder. Presumably, we’ll know Into the Woods’s workaround when the film hits theaters.
Any other burning questions raised by this furry formal Johnny Depp?