Getting into the Role: Johnny Depp and Michael Mann visit John Dillinger's family farm

The photo at left shows director Michael Mann and actor Johnny Depp flanking Jeff Scalf, the nephew of the late bank robber John Dillinger, as they stand beneath a photograph of Dillinger in the family farmhouse in Mooresville, Indiana. Johnny Depp will play Dillinger in Mann’s upcoming film PUBLIC ENEMIES, which begins shooting in Columbus, Wisconsin, on March 17th. They visited the Dillinger farm on February 29th to soak up the atmosphere and speak with Mr. Scalf, who generously allowed them to go into John Dillinger’s former bedroom, look at family artifacts, read letters, and look at pictures never made available to the public–Johnny Depp even held a reproduction of Dillinger’s famous wooden gun.

“They’ve really done their homework,” Jeff Scalf told reporter Amy Hillenburg. “They were both very down-to-earth, polite and respectful of the subject matter.” During the four-hour visit, Johnny Depp told Mr. Scalf that “he would try to be sensitive to [Dillinger’s] true persona. And that he would portray Dillinger as he really was.”

That approach pleases Dillinger’s nephew. “As my grandmother used to say, ‘Don’t romanticize John, but don’t villanize him, either.’ He was who he was,” Scalf said. “John was different than some of the other criminals of his era [. . .]. He wasn’t mean-spirited or the first to pull out a gun. I hope this movie will show all sides of John.”

To read the Amy Hillenburg article in its entirety, you can visit the Zone’s News & Views forum, or click here: To see a larger version of the photo of Johnny Depp and Michael Mann with Jeff Scalf, click here: Many thanks to Emma for posting the article! –Part-Time Poet