A look at yet another movie actor/director collaborative relationship: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. The movies these two make together have a common thread: a dark fairytale feel, horror in the style of the Brothers Grimm, or weird in the style of Lewis Carroll. Some of their movies are animations, with Depp's voice taking a leading role.
Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
and upcoming in 2010 Alice in Wonderland (Depp as the Mad Hatter).
Wikipedia reports that the two are very close friends, as well as professional collaborators.
Close friend Johnny Depp is a godfather of Burton's son. In Burton on Burton, Depp wrote the intro, stating, "What more can I say about him? He is a brother, a friend, my godson's father. He is a unique and brave soul, someone that I would go to the ends of the earth for, and I know, full and well, he would do the same for me."
So where in the two charts is the source of this close connection, and what links to the type of movies they choose to make?
Johnny Depp born 9 June 1963, Owensboro, Kentucky at 8.44am (Astrodatabank)
Tim Burton born 25 August 1958, Burbank, California, 11.49am (Astrodatabank).
Their natal Suns are in Gemini (Depp) and Virgo (Burton), both signs ruled by Mercury, planet of communication - there's an immediate understanding between them, even though Gemini is an Air sign, looser and less attracted to detail; Virgo an Earth sign intent on perfection, detail and highly critical, their common ruler links the natal Suns. Both men have Moon in Capricorn, a grounding inner base, with a pull towards tradition and a flair for business.
Depp's stellium (tight cluster of planets) in Virgo blends nicely with Burton's Sun, Depp's Mars is just a degree away from Burton's Sun. Burton's Saturn at 19 Sagittarius is opposite Depp's Sun at 18 Gemini - a dynamic push-pull aspect indicating that Burton's work-oriented Saturn in philosophical Sagittarius is pulling against Depp's loose and lively Gemini Sun.
I notice that Depp's Venus/Mercury conjunction is at 25/26 Taurus, which is also the position of Fixed Star Algol, a star traditionally thought of as generally unfortunate. While Algol doesn't always manifest as at all unfortunate, I have to admit that sometimes its influence can be seen at work in a life. In Depp's case, Wikipedia tells that
He engaged in self-harm as a child, due to the stress of dealing with family problems and his own insecurity. He has seven or eight scars from practicing self-harm. In a 1993 interview, he explained his self-injury by saying, "My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist".
Rising signs, Burton's in Gemini (harmonious to Depp's natal Sun), Depp's in Leo: Air and Fire, Gemini and Leo are helpful to each other. Depp's stage-struck Leo ascendant fits very well, as does Burton's communicative Gemini rising - for what else is a director doing but making sure the actor communicates with his audience?
A conversation reported in Esquire Magazine illustrates the kind of relationship these two have developed:
JD: We speak in a sort of shorthand.
TB: It's not literal. We'll cross-reference things that wouldn't really make sense to the normal person.
JD: One time, Tim and I were talking before we were getting ready to shoot. Afterward, one of the grips comes over to me with this really perplexed look on his face. He says, "I was just watching you and Tim talk about the scene for the last fifteen minutes." "Yeah." And he says, "I didn't understand a f****** word either of you said."TB: That about sums it up.(See here)
That covers the links upholding their close friendship and professional compatibility, but what draws them toward the particular subject matter they seem to favor? Darkness = Pluto, weird imaginative tales can = Neptune. Burton has Pluto tightly conjunct his natal Sun and in close sextile to Neptune - bingo! Depp has Pluto as part of his Virgo stellium, with Neptune semi-sextile in Scorpio, and conjunct the point known as Black Moon Lilith, the point of the Moon's apogee. (I'm not sure whether this point has any real significance or not - but I'm watching it in the charts I look at from now on.) Both men have personal planets tied closely into those slower moving generational planets Pluto and Neptune. I feel sure that accounts, in part, for their seeming addiction to dark weirdness.