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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Who's A Celebrity?

Johnny Depp has a strange relationship with his own art:

So now I know of two movie stars who have stated that they don't watch their own movies, Johnny Depp, and if I remember correctly, Hong Kong actor Shing Fui-On (成奎安 - who often acts as a thug in gangster films).

Unlike Depp, Shing Fui-On doesn't want his children to watch his movies either, because his character usually ends up getting brutally killed on the big screen.

It's quite odd to see Johnny Depp say this - perhaps there is no simple profile of a "celebrity" and many people sort of wander into their professions via a series of contingent events.

I've been reading up a bit about the Myers-Briggs test and observe that in any given field, there is a wide range of personalities, which if unanticipated, can result in a lot of interpersonal stress.

I have previously assumed that certain professions should have a self-selecting tendency to attract certain personalities (eg. the Rationals in science and the Artisans in entertainment).

However, in my working experience I've realized that this sorting process is much less effective than I imagined and factors other than personality (eg. socio-economic status) could in fact be a stronger determinant of which career a person ends up in.

Even stranger, people whose personalities are not in sync with their careers can still be very "successful" based on the metrics of that profession (such as rank and earnings), often due to sheer determination and/or social pressure, although they may be privately living in abject misery.

Other people who are not aware of this tension might wonder: "This person has everything going for her, why did she suddenly snap?"

A rubber band can only stretch so far.


S.A. said...

It might not be so much to do with personality as a decision to just do your work and get out. It's like not taking your work home with you. Work is work, play is play.

Or maybe he just doesn't enjoy watching movies. I have often wondered how actors feel when they watch their own movies. Especially those action with lots of special effects.

"Did I do that? Wow, I look awesome."

Great for self-worship.

Oh, or perhaps he does not want to judge himself by watching himself, else he might become too self-conscious in future productions.

It's quite a good tactic, actually. You need not worry about your image, just do what comes to you naturally. Which might explain his rather unique rendition of the character in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sorry for the bantering. JD is a rather fascinating character. Enjoyed all his interviews with Letterman.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Hmm... those are plausible explanations. Though I would have assumed that a movie star is at least OK with watching movies in general, and usually more enthusiastic about his/her own movies, but Depp's choice of words and body language suggest a deep aversion to the finished product.

Johnny Depp is indeed an intriguing personality.

There is something about his appearance of introversion, lack of glibness and apparent disinterest in social norms that makes him an endearing actor. I say "appearance" because he is an actor after all, and so it's hard to tell where the movie character ends and where the person begins.

Still, Depp is most successful playing "iconic loners", and other aspects of his professional and private life strongly suggest an introverted personality (Eg. he hated being a teen idol, avoids potential box office successes, and is a US citizen who prefers to live in France).

In fact, there is one website that categorizes him as an INFP.

By his demeanour alone I would have guessed that he is one of the Rationals. He can easily play the role of a scientist.

Of course, I am aware that the MBTI has wide variability and is especially inaccurate if you attempt to assess other people with it. Even so, using the Big Five system I see Depp as low in Extraversion and Agreeableness while high in Neuroticism. That puts him in potential conflict with many, many actors in Hollywood.

Perhaps that's the reason why he tries to stay away.