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Luck And Good Looks: How Johnny Depp Was Cast In ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’

johnny depp nightmare on elm street
johnny depp nightmare on elm street

It’s been over 35 years since Freddy Krueger started killing teens in their nightmares. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” has gone down as a much watch film during every Halloween season. Wes Craven’s 1984 classic proved he is one of the most influential horror directors of all time. The film also graced us with the debut of Johnny Depp.

In the early 80s Depp wasn’t even thinking about acting. He originally wanted to break into the entertainment industry as a rock star. His band, for which he played guitar, achieved mild success in Florida so they made the jump to LA with hopes of signing a record deal. While living in LA, Depp met a young Nicolas Cage who convinced him to become an actor.

Depp was able to get an audition with Wes Craven through a mutual connection. After auditioning with Craven, the director took Depp’s headshots home. In an interview with Vulture, Craven revealed how Depp ultimately got the role thanks to his daughter and her friend:

I put [everyone’s headshots] out on the kitchen table, and asked the girls, “Who would you pick?” They immediately pointed at Johnny. I said, “Are you serious?” He looked like he needed a bath. They both said, “He’s beautiful.”

And just like that, Johnny Depp was cast as Glen, the lead character’s boyfriend. Despite it being his first role, Depp performed all his own stunts in the film. Including his iconic death sequence.

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“A Nightmare on Elm Street” catapulted Depp’s career. A few short years later, Depp was the star of FOX’s “21 Jump Street” while staring in commercially and critically successful films left and right. Meanwhile, Craven oversaw various “Nightmare on Elm Street” projects until he flipped the genre on its head with the meta-horror film “Scream” in 1996.