First Look: Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies

March 25, 2008
Source: AICN

First Look: Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies!

I've always been a huge Johnny Depp fan; though over the last few years I've felt compelled to keep that to myself what with the Pirates of the Caribbean drivel. Thankfully, that period of distraction is over and Depp is now assuming more compelling roles, like Sweeney Todd - Depp and Burton are always great together - and the under-production Michael Mann project - Public Enemies. Depp portrays Jon Dillinger of 1930s bank robbing fame. AICN brings us early photos of the pursed-cheeked gangster, complete with Tommygun and a bag full of fresh takings.

Depp and crew are presently filming in Columbus, Wisconsin. While I'm not exactly sure who the older gentleman is with the red tie, the other fellow looks to be Channing Tatum, who plays Dillinger's associate Pretty Boy Floyd; you have to admit, Tatum is pretty. Other public enemies (as they were called at the time) include: Giovanni Ribisi as Alivn Karpis; Jason Clarke as John "Red" Hamilton; Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson; Stephen Dorff as Homer Van Meter; and John Ortiz as Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti.

Not all of these folks run with Dillinger, however. Karpis was part of the infamous Baker Gang during that time, and Nitti was with Al Capone. I'm not quite sure how all these folks come together, but it should certainly be interesting.

Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

What we do know is that Christian Bale plays famed FBI agent Melvin Purvis, who is most known for capturing more of these "public enemies" than anyone in history. Purvis' distinction is largely tied to Dillinger. I doubt this is much of a spoiler, since we are talking about actual history here, but Purvis lead the team that confronted Dillinger on July 22, 1934 outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. That confrontation ultimately ended in Dillinger's death.

Pitting Bale against Depp is just delicious. The two are certainly cast well - Bale, stiff-jawed, stoic and a man's man; and Depp, slick, cunning and quietly mad. I'm really looking forward to Depp's portrayal of the "Jackrabbit" - Dillinger got this nickname because of the way he leaped over counters and such during robberies - and how he battles the FBI and rival gangsters.

Public Enemies is being directed by Michael Mann of Heat, Ali, Collateral, and Miami Vice. The film is currently slated for release from Universal Pictures sometime in 2009.

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  • Mel
    Can't wait to see it. I love mob movies. It's funny though, Johnny Depp isn't one of my favorite actors but he's in most of my favorite movies.
  • Aw, come on! Jack Sparrow is a great character and Johnny plays him very well. With that said, I'm really looking forward to Public Enemies. Bale and Depp in the same movie will be awesome!
  • well...I'll split the difference with you, Andreas. he was pretty entertaining in the first part of that series
  • Echelon
    Great pictures - can't wait for it! I can't get enough of Christian Bale, he's a good actor.
  • cornholio_by_the_sea
    all Michael Mann movies are action packed and carry an extra hard edge...this will be real entertainment...still, I think Warren Oates did a quite a good portrayal of Dillenger long ago,,,be interesting to see how Depp steps into the role...
  • jason_md2020
    Depp's awesomeness as an actor can be summed up in two words and one letter: Hunter S. Thompson. He disappears into whatever role he plays leaving nothing but insanely memorable performances.
  • Very excited!
  • harrison
    looks good, solid cast hopefully tatum doesnt ruin it(sure hes a pretty boy but he cant act worth anythin), im more interested in how they do baby face nelson, he was one of my favorites from o brother where are thou
  • Ace
    This movie is going to be the shit.
  • Chris
    I would have picked Kevin Spacey to play Dillinger. Depp looks a little too scrawny in the picture. Dillinger was a big full bodied guy with Humphrey Bogart looks. Don't get me wrong, Depp can sure act, but he would have played a much better role at notorious psychopathic gangster Baby Face Nelson. Dillinger had a quiet demeanor. His nickname was "the gentleman". Spacey's style of acting would have been perfect for that. While Depp does a terrific job of pulling off the psychopathic nutty character. Nelson was exactly that. While Dillinger hated to fire a single round, Nelson smiled as he gladly mowed down innocents with his tommy gun. Should still be a good movie though, despite what could have been.
  • Young
    wow- did you read what I just read? Mann, Depp, Bale, Tatum, Ribisi, gangsters, 1930's= greatness! I hope this film rocks and is as good as i imagine it could be. definitely excited about this!!
  • Susan
    That's one hot freakin gangster...*drool
  • Cory
    He just got done shooting in my town (Crown Point). They were filming inside of the old jail where he excaped. I met Johnny, and he seemed like a really nice guy.
  • george
    Yea it was real cool. Me and johnny went and had a couple of beers at the cage in columbus after he was done shooting, he wants me to be in his next movie, i said sure, why not.
  • carmel
    My granchildren had the most exciting spring break watching the filming of Mr. Depps movie in Crown Point In. They had the pleasure of meeting him pictures etc;. My youngest grandaughter said she will never wash her glove again. How blessed we al are to live in such a historic town. CROWN POINT you rock''''''''''''''''''
  • We had the production team in Columbus and it was pretty exciting. The book Public Enemies is being devoured by so many people - it's a great read about that era. So many things in our minds are just plain wrong. If you want to follow Universal and their shooting in the Midwest I have the #1 blog for Public Enemies - what is nice is that many readers are taking photos and gathering information - it's a phenomenon of sorts! Rod Melotte
  • Joe
    This is in respone to comment number 10. Depp is accually bigger than dillinger. Johnny Depp is 5' 10'' 155 lbs. Dillinger was 5' 7'' 147 lbs. Thanks
  • Andres
    Nothing can go wrong...ive tried to play out every situation that could ruin it....nothing.
  • Rod Melotte
    Actually Johnny Depp is only 5'7. I stood next to him and I am 5'8
  • Scarlett
    When does this movie come out? I am huge Dillinger/Public enemies buff. I find it interesting that in 1934, Dillinger was the most favored man in American with Rosevelt in second and Lindburgh in third, Yet you mention the name Dillinger and no one seems to know who he is. Bah! How could someone not know who the most infamous man of the 30's is?
  • Scarlett
    I also think Kevin Spacey is too old to play Dillinger. Dillinger was approx. thirty when he died. Not only was Dillinger in real life, he was also very handsome in the eyes of the female public. I think Depp was plenty charming in Pirates, he could totally pull of the same here.
  • Merle Best
    Keven Spacey would be awful. Thjis will make people forget the rotton movie by Warren Oates. People who know their history know who Dillinger was. He was a celebrity in the 30's. People rooted for him. Read any book about Dillinger but specially Public Enemies by Brian Burrough and Matt Erickson and Bill Thornbro at
  • jessica
    Actually, Johnny Depp is 5' 10½". This movie looks soooo awesome I can't wait to see it, or the rum diary either. He's also going to do Sin City 3 from what I've heard (and seen on imdb).
  • alex
    This movie is going to rock!!!!!!! I really look forward to it!!!! Johnny Depp looks sooooooooooooooo sexy and gorgeous as always of course ^^
  • Joyce
    The movie is terrific. Spacey could not pull you into the character the way Depp does. It is fascinating to watch...isn't Depp always? My 13 year-old grandson could not get over how "dressed up" everyone seemed to be all the time!
  • Anonymous
    I love this movie, I bought it as soon as it became available. Great movie.
  • Ged
    Johnny was listed as 5'9 by Disney, but most people who meet him consider him closer to 5'8. 5'10? Not even close. The fan sites are way off and most of them just get their info from other fan sites. And yes, Johnny is always great in his films. Very interesting film choices.




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