On June 9th, Johnny Depp turned 50—and it looks like that milestone inspired him to re-think his future as an actor. In an interview with Rolling Stone last month, Depp predicted that he would retire some time in the next ten years. Earlier today, he elaborated on the reasons for that prediction in an interview with BBC Breakfast. “At a certain point, you start thinking and when you add up the amount of dialogue that you say per year, for example, and you realize that you’ve said written words more than you’ve actually had a chance to say your own words, you start thinking about that as a kind of insane option for a human being,” Depp said. “So are there quieter things that I wouldn’t mind doing? Yeah, I wouldn’t say that I’m dropping out any second, but I would say it’s probably not too far away.”
It’s becoming increasingly aparent that either (a) Depp is part of a retirement-obsessed generation or (b) contemplating retirement is a popular coping mechanism for film figures turning 50. Brad Pitt, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino also celebrate 50th birthdays in 2013—and they’ve all outlined their retirement plans for the press. (Officially, Soderbergh has already retired from filmmaking, but he’s keeping busy working in theatre and television.)
Another possibility is that all this retirement talk is a response to the general state of Hollywood. While Depp has become exceedingly wealthy in recent years (another possible reason for his retirement), he’s drifted away from the modest, unconventional projects that inspired his early passion for acting. If he can’t get creatively exciting films seen or even made through the Hollywood system, Depp’s retirement plans are somewhat understandable. The real question is whether he can quell his insatiable appetite for wealth long enough to pursue some genuinely risky independent projects before throwing in the towel.