Credit: Everett Collection

I’m a sucker for the parlor game of pairing today’s biggest movie actors with a comparable star from another age: Tom Hanks is Jimmy Stewart, George Clooney is Cary Grant, you get the idea. But I’ve always stumbled over Johnny Depp. Errol Flynn? Clark Gable? Depp’s career is so unusual, so unpredictable, that’s it’s difficult to find another who’s walked a similar path. But in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ director Rob Marshall said he sees someone else in his Capt. Jack Sparrow: Fred Astaire.

Marshall, who specializes in choreography, was only comparing Depp to Astaire when it came to their footwork — an enormous complement to Depp. “I always say, ‘Johnny, you’re a major dancer, like Fred Astaire,’ and he says ‘You’re crazy,'” Marshall said. “But I mean it, he’s one of the greatest dancers I have ever worked with.”

It makes me think twice about the many dancing scenes we’ve seen Depp perform over the years. He had some CG help on Alice in Wonderland, I think, but he held his own on the dance floor with Angelina Jolie in The Tourist. Depp is very graceful. Graceful enough to lead a dancing bear, which he did in Finding Neverland. But I think my all-time favorite Depp number is from Benny & Joon. You know the scene:

What’s your favorite dancin’ Depp scene? Can we make Depp’s family promise that they’ll never pair him with a Dirt Devil? And who is the best historical acting analogy for Depp?

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