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AUG. 30–SEPT. 6

It’s not easy being a teen heartthrob: One day you’re on the cover of Tiger Beat, your face plastered on the inside of every junior-high-school girl’s locker, and the next you’re a washed-up has-been, sitting by the pool with Kirk Cameron, jockeying for a slot on The Surreal Life. Sure, a few lucky schlubs might make the transition from teen idol to multiple Golden Globe– and Academy Award– nomination recipient, but few will do so with quite the same charm as 21 Jump Street star Johnny Depp. Having achieved early critical success in Tim Burton’s 1990 goth fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands (pictured), the Florida rocker-turned-actor distinguished himself as one of Hollywood’s most versatile up-and-comers, choosing a variety of offbeat roles in such risky ventures as John Waters’ 1990 angst-ridden musical Cry-Baby and Jim Jarmusch’s moody 1995 Dead Man—an existential Western starring Depp as a mortally wounded accountant who flees into the wilderness. Never one to play the same character twice, Depp would go on to star as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s alter ego, Raoul Duke, in Terry Gilliam’s 1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Still, his penchant for quirky indie performances wouldn’t keep the actor from accepting leading parts in such summer blockbusters as Gore Verbinski’s 2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Rounding out the American Film Institute’s retrospective are two films by Swedish director Lasse Hallström: the 1993 art-house hit What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and the super-sweet 2000 romantic comedy Chocolat. See the many beautiful faces of Hollywood’s sexiest cinematic chameleon when the series opens Friday, Aug. 30 (see Showtimes for a full schedule), and runs through Monday, Sept. 6, at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Matthew Borlik)