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JohnnyDeppReads - a place to discuss the news, books, plays, projects and materials relating to the works and interests of multi media artist Johnny Depp.

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 Discussion Point 1, Why did Johnny rely on this book?
jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:37 AM


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Originally Posted by Karen 16th January 2006


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I think we will start this discussion a bit differently than we usually do.


Briefly, tell us what you think (in general) was the reason Johnny used this book as a guide for his portrayal of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester.








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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:38 AM


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Jeppody

My guess would be that it was because there was so much background to the era that John Wilmot lived in, and a whole lot of information (more than I personally wanted to know) about alcoholism.

If Mr. Lamb is correct in saying that Wilmot inherited his alcoholism from his father, and that the political and religeous changes in his youth, encouraged the start of his downhill slide, it puts a whole new slant into the way we perceive Wilmot in his later life.

I think it makes him easier to understand, and I'm guessing that Johnny would have found all the information invaluable whilst preparing for the part.

He still plays him as a disreputable scoundrel, but there is still that touch of gentleness shown, and a whole lot of unhappiness, which makes it hard to totally dislike him.






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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:40 AM


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Deppraved


Not having yet seen the film, but having read the play, I think Johnny needed a comprehensive source for understanding this character's motivation, what made him "tick". There are other books about Wilmot available. Lamb's is more recent and takes into account the previous books; he had done the research and dissected the poems and learned about alcoholism as a genetically linked disease of the mind and body. Lamb took in so much available information and compiled it, with logical conclusions and put much of the material to modern vernacular.

In short, I feel Johnny was wise in choosing this material for it's scope and it's expediency to understanding Wilmot. it certainly helped me, and I know it will enhance my viewing enjoyment when the time comes.








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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:41 AM


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Nurseanne8


I agree that the book gave Johnny an excellent reference point for the motivations of the character. The portrayal of the addictive personality as presented in the book for the era of Wilmont is essentially the same as I have seen in addicted teens I have encountered in my professional nursing career. No treatment interventions - medications, behavioral modification, and group therapy were available in the era of Wilmont's lifetime so I feel that the alcoholism consumed his personality which became the driving force of his life choices and decisions. I have not seen the film but with addictive personality as presented by Johnny outlined in the reviews the audience instead of "disgust" feels empathy for the tragic life of Wilmont. That is my opinion- now just waiting to see the film.






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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:43 AM


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Karen


Please don't feel that you can't join in this discussion if you haven't seen the movie. We discussed the play without having seen the movie, twice! LOL You don't need to have seen the movie, as this is about Johnny's preparation for a role. So we are all free to surmise and guess. We know that Johnny always does huge amounts of research for all his roles. This is about his research and what the author tells us about Wilmot.



Good thoughts and points everyone. More thoughts please!








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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:43 AM


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Hibblette


Well when researching a character that is based on a real person of history you can't just go by the one source.

First off a play is just a skeletal piece of a whole production and usually you will find a slant or a skewing. So to bring more dimension to the character one should know as much as you can about the person.

This for example is very centered on his indulgences and the sheer magnitude of what the indulgences led to. His talent is merely something that is a piece of the puzzle of why would he be this way. Was his talent a product of the indulgences or was his talent a victim of waste to the indulgences?






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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:44 AM


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Deppraved


Just a small aside: I really liked this book. Even though some of the poetry and letters were difficult to understand because of the 17th century language (it did seem to help me to read it aloud), the way Mr. Lamb presented it made it near to impossible to put down.





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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:45 AM


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Karen


Yes I think Mr. Lamb did do a wonderful job trying to make the writing of the 17th Century a bit easier for us all. Of all the books and articles I've read on him, I think Mr. Lamb's is about the best in defining the man and his times.





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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:45 AM


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Sddepp


I also enjoyed this book and also found it a bit difficult at times with the language. Having to re-read some passages and kind of dissect them helped a little. I have never been very good with poetry though.

One thing that I thought was a little strange (especially given Johnny's love of children and family) is that the book has quite a bit about how Wilmot deeply loved his wife and four children even if they were emotionally neglected. The film barely mentions the children. Given that he was so sloshed most of the time and not even present it is a wonder they managed to even have children. That one letter to Charles was pretty heart-wrenching. He was determined that Charles would not end up like him.

It was an excellent, in depth (Deppth...LOL) look into the guy's head and I think anyone who is planning to see the movie should read this first!






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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:47 AM


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Pamela


Well, shoot, here I was waiting for this to start ~ and then missed "Opening Day" when it did.

Just agreeing with most of what has been written so far ~ I would think that Johnny used this particular book for his reference as it is one of the few out there. And certainly one of the few recent ones. You most definitely understand that he was not just a wretched man, but a loving, though tormented, one. Almost a blessing that he did not live a long life ~ he was so conflicted.

I will say, I too, got more than I needed about the alcoholic angle on Rochester. I am currently reading the Graham Greene biography, and while he does not ignore the fact that alcohol was a big part of Rochester's life (and his problems) he does not seem to dwell on it quite as relentlessly as does Lamb.





OK ~ just coming back, after having given my two cents worth on the other questions, to say how happy I am to be able to participate in this discussion, because, would you believe, there are not a lot of other bookclubs out there that want to discuss the Earl of Rochester's life?







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jeppody
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:49 AM


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Mairimaih


Geraham Greene does seem to celebrate the life in Rochester and his passions a lot more.. you can see why people adore this historical character from his book.. andProfane Wit, paints him as a devoted father and a loving husband too.. contradictory.. Rochester certainly was.. he was all these hings.. I think Depp took the So idle a Rogue as it gave an insight most deeply into the seeds of his doom and his conflicts.. the others I am sure he could understand as a man who has loved, and a loving father, without it being explained so fully






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