Nicolas Cage played an unexpected role in Johnny Depp’s acting career

Given Johnny Depp’s iconic roles that defined the ’90s and ’00s, it’s difficult to picture him as anything other than an actor. But that wasn’t his original plan. Depp moved to Los Angeles at the age of 20 for another industry the city is famous for: music, according to Far Out Magazine. He developed his passion for music at the age of 12 when his mother gave him a used guitar, All Music reported. After that, Depp fell in love quickly and hard — he even dropped out of school to try his luck.

Depp was relatively successful in Florida with his band The Kids. Depp, then 17, opened for Iggy Pop on two shows, he told Interview Magazine. Three years later, the kids changed their name to Six Gun Method and took their talents to the West Coast, according to All Music. But making it to the big names as a musician was much more difficult than expected. To make ends meet, Depp found a job in telemarketing, a job he hated but one that taught him a thing or two about acting. “The beauty of the gig was that you had to call these strangers and say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ You made up a name, like, ‘Hey, it’s Edward Quartermaine from California,'” he told Interview Magazine.

Acting never crossed Depp’s mind at the time. But it wouldn’t be long before a game night with Nicolas Cage set him on that path.

Nicolas Cage got Johnny Depp his first audition

Johnny Depp was renting Nicolas Cage’s Hollywood apartment in 1984 when a game of Monopoly changed the course of his career. Cage was already an actor then, albeit still a newcomer. Although he only landed his first leading role in Valley Girl the previous year, Cage was experienced enough to recognize talent when he saw it.

When Cage heard stories about Depp’s obnoxious job selling pens over the phone, he suggested he try his hand at film. “He won a game, and I watched him and said, ‘Why don’t you just try acting?'” Cage told The New York Times Magazine in 2019. Depp wasn’t interested. “He wanted to be a musician at the time and he said to me, ‘No, I can’t act.’ I said, ‘I think you can act,'” Cage explained. Convinced of his friend’s abilities, Cage put him in touch with his agent, who arranged an audition for Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.

See also  What does Nicki Minaj's Super Freaky Girl mean? Here's what we think

Depp had been filling out resumes hoping to quit his telemarketing job, so he agreed to see Cage’s agent. “I said, ‘I’m going to meet everyone. I’ll do anything at this point,'” Depp explained in court during his defamation trial of ex-wife Amber Heard (via Law & Crime Network). On the same day, Depp got the role of the protagonist’s friend. “Sensations don’t happen overnight. But it happened to him,” Cage told The New York Times Magazine.

Johnny Depp’s first wife introduced him to Nicolas Cage

Although Nicolas Cage helped Johnny Depp land his first acting role, it was Depp’s first wife, Lori Anne Allison, who introduced the men. According to Far Out Magazine, Depp and Lori had just married when the couple moved to Los Angeles in 1983. “We thought we’d be great in Florida, we’d be even better in California,” Depp said, according to Michael Blitz and Louise Krasniewicz’s “Johnny Depp: A Biography” (via The Mirror UK).

Once on the West Coast, Allison began making connections as she developed a career as a makeup artist. She ended up landing an appearance in a film starring Cage, Far Out detailed. Because Depp’s band broke up shortly after their move, the couple was constantly in financial difficulties. Allison also wanted her husband to find meaningful work. That’s when she got the idea to introduce Depp Cage – and her plan couldn’t have worked better. But Cage doesn’t take credit for Depp’s success. “I was just a small step in his whole career… but that’s how it happened. It was easy,” Cage told Heart FM in 2008 (via DigitalSpy).

See also  The true story behind Charli XCX's stage name

Interestingly, Depp also has Wes Craven’s teenage daughter to thank for his big break. The director was torn between Depp and another actor, so he consulted his 13-year-old. “She said, ‘Dad, Johnny Depp’ … and I said, ‘Don’t he look kind of sickly, kind of pale?’ And she’s like, ‘He’s dreamy,'” Craven said in a documentary about Depp (via HuffPost).