Back in 2012, Brie Larson was not yet “Brie Larson.” That is to say, she was a working actress known for a brief but notable role in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and the Bob Saget WB sitcom Raising Dad, but she was not yet the Academy Award-winner and (reportedly) soon to be highest-paid actress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Conversely speaking, in 2012, Johnny Depp was in the middle of his golden run of Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango, and Public Enemies (and just before The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows would begin the end). So it is pretty funny that it was Larson that mistook Captain Jack Sparrow himself for an extra on the production of the comedy hit 21 Jump Street. But to be fair, this is what Depp looked like in the movie:
This all comes up because it is the 10th year anniversary of 21 Jump Street, and co-director Christopher Miller has taken to Twitter to share some memories. In particular, he said that the scene in which Johnny Depp’s character enters as a very bearded biker and turns out to be his character Officer Tom Hanson from the original 21 Jump Street in disguise (and is almost immediately shot) was done in the first week of filming. So when Depp showed up in costume, he was so unrecognizable that Brie Larson thought he was just an extra hanging around set. In fact, he was so unrecognizable that no one realized that at point, Depp dipped out for three hours because he had never been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Check out Christopher Miller’s original Tweet:
Frankly, the most difficult thing to believe about this anecdote is that famous libertine Johnny Depp had never been to Bourbon Street before. 21 Jump Street was Depp’s original breakthrough to audiences, a FOX police procedural that basically had the premise of “what if Never Been Kissed was about cops?” While it made him a household name, Depp reportedly disliked the teen heartthrob image it stuck him with and sought out roles that would distance himself from Tiger Beat as quickly as possible. He found it in a string of Tim Burton films, while also starring in movies from well-regarded indie filmmakers like John Waters and Jim Jarmusch. Eventually, he signed on for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and finally succumbed to A-List stardom. In recent years, personal and legal issues have diminished his stardom, but he does seem poised to make at least a small comeback.
In contrast, 21 Jump Street (the movie) was a vaulting point for Brie Larson. Within a few years, she would win an Academy Award for Best Actress for the kidnapping drama Room and then was cast as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers for the first female-led solo MCU film. A sequel titled The Marvels is currently in production, and Larson has reportedly successfully battled with Disney for some semblance of gender parity in salaries. The Marvels is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2023.