‘Ferris Bueller’s Day off’: Was Johnny Depp Supposed To Play Ferris?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a triumphant film that is still cherished to this day. Matthew Broderick carries the film’s weight on his shoulders, and he succeeds in making the John Hughes film an unforgettable masterpiece. But as it turns out, another puppy-eyed heartthrob was Hughes’ first pick for the movie. That person was none other than Johnny Depp

Johnny Deep Stars In The Movie 'Sleepy Hollow'
Johnny Deep Stars In The Movie ‘Sleepy Hollow’ | Mandalay Pictures/Getty Images

Johnny Depp’s longstanding career in film

Depp is a seasoned actor who has been in the business since the 1980s. Before taking off as the eccentric Hollywood treasure that we know him as today, Depp was taken less seriously as an actor.

He was seen as nothing more than a “teenage heartthrob” while starring in the TV series 21 Jump Street. And although he had good experiences while shooting the TV show, he was desperate to tackle acting roles with more depth. Luckily, his career had changed for the better the moment he met Tim Burton. 

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp | Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1990, Burton offered Depp the titular role in Edward Scissorhands. From that film on, we’ve seen the actor in exclusively quirky parts. These roles include: Victor in The Corpse Bride, The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and of course, Jack Sparrow in Pirates of The Caribbean

Johnny Depp was John Hughes’ first choice for ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, written and directed by John Hughes starring Matthew Broderick | CBS via Getty Images

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off tells the story of a group of friends who skip a day of school to go on an adventure. In the movie, Ferris is the spontaneous lead who inspires his best friend Cameron to live a little. 

Knowing what we now know about Depp’s incredible versatility, it’s safe to say he would be an excellent Ferris Bueller. Yet ultimately, the part was given to Broderick, who nailed the role. According to People, Depp was Hughes’ first choice for the film, yet he declined due to conflicts in his schedule. He later went on to call Broderick “great” in the movie. 

Johnny Depp was also considered for a role in ‘Titanic’

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp in the Great Hall at The Players social club during a reception, New York City | Rose Hartman/Getty Images

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It’s hard to picture anyone other than Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Jack Dawson in Titanic. Yet, according to HuffPost, Depp was also considered for the lead. But in a phone interview with Howard Stern, Depp admits he had a rough time getting through the entire script, claiming that he “labored” through it. Burn! 

Other notable actors who could have played Jack Dawson include: Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, Brad Pitt, Stephen Dorff, Matthew McConaughey, Chris O’Donnell, River Phoenix, and Macaulay Culkin.

Johnny Depp and actor Peter DeLuise
Johnny Depp and actor Peter DeLuise attend the FOX Television Unveils New Primetime Schedule on June 3, 1987 | Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Another iconic role that Depp was considered for was Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events. The part seems perfect for the actor, who is a sucker for portraying eccentric villains. Initially, Tim Burton was supposed to direct the film. Yet in the most Depp fashion ever, once Burton signed off from the project, he did as well. 

Classic Burton and Depp mess around.

According to ScreenRant, he turned down multiple other films. These include SpeedInterview with The VampireFace/OffThe Matrix, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.