CHARLES GRAHAM - A Depp too far?

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OF all the current Hollywood A-listers, Johnny Depp is the most delightfully unpredictable.

A chap who could easily make a fantastic living from playing conventional heroes has steadfastly refused to be stereotyped.

In fact he has revelled in playing downright unusual big screen characters, whether it be Willy Wonka or Edward Scissorhands. But despite long demonstrating a love of British culture (popping up on The Fast Show and Vicar of Dibley for instance), I bet there weren’t many predicting his next cinematic venture might involve playing Wigan’s own George Formby.

Movie projects often fail to go beyond the drawing board.

But Depp has about as much clout as any Tinsel Town actor and I can see him transforming his physiognomy with horsey gnashers and learning a Scholes accent and the banjolele for another of his off-the-wall projects.

There is certainly plenty of material to draw on: Formby’s early years in the shadow of his musical hall star father; his time as a jockey; his rise to a level of superstardom that had him earning more per year than Errol Flynn; the shrewd man behind the gormless veneer; the enigma as to whether wife Beryl was really a martinet or it was just a front to make George an even more sympathetic character; an anti-apartheid stance ahead of its time which set him at odds with the South African government; his fading final years; and even the recent revelation that he went through his entire life unaware that he was illegitimate on account of his dad’s secret bigamy.

Just when we thought Wigan couldn’t be any more in the spotlight after an astonishing 2013, maybe Johnny Depp is the man to ensure it is.