“Top-tier stars…stay on top by being true to their personas. We pay $10 to see Will Smith or Julia Roberts precisely because they don’t surprise us. It’s not that they’re playing themselves. It’s just that the force of their personalities swamps everything else. They’re more than actors — they’re brands. And yet Johnny Depp, 43, is almost pathologically unpredictable. He can be bizarre, hilarious, unsettling — even annoying. But he is never the same. He’s the anti-Tom Cruise. ‘Nothing against Tom, but Johnny may be a bigger star now,’ says director John Waters, who cast Depp in 1990’s Cry-Baby. ‘ Nobody is sick of Johnny Depp .'” — from Sean Smith‘s Newsweek profile of the Pirates of the Caribbean star. The piece includes a riff on the film itself. To me, Smith’s standout remark sounds thin: Pirates 2, he says, “promises to be a welcome blast of sunshine in a season when Cruise has crashed and burned, and The Da Vinci Code has proved to be a joyless blockbuster.” A goddam sunshine movie that’s good because it’s unlikely to resemble and/or repeat the box-office experience of M:I:3 or The DaVinci Code?