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Depp insists his Wonka wacko wasn’t Jacko

Johnny Depp
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Johnny Depp (The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokesman-Review

Johnny Depp says he didn’t base his Willy Wonka character in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on Michael Jackson – and is surprised that some people see a resemblance.

Depp’s demure voice, pasty complexion, perfectly bobbed locks, neo-Victorian garb and androgynous air seem to present a reflection of pop singer Jackson, recently acquitted on child-molestation charges.

“A few people have mentioned it, and it kind of took me by surprise. I really didn’t expect that,” Depp says, adding: “Michael Jackson was not a sort of ingredient or inspiration for the character at all.”

Depp said he based the way Wonka speaks on kiddie-show hosts he remembers from his childhood.

“How odd it was the way that they spoke,” the 42-year-old actor said. “That bizarre, musical cadence to their speech pattern.”

As for the hair, Depp said he figured Wonka had been a recluse for so long, he wouldn’t know what a modern haircut looks like: “I just did this sort of strange, almost like a (late Rolling Stone) Brian Jones kind of bob and supershort bangs.”

Sounds like Michael’s fair game

Neither Michael Jackson nor his attorney showed up Wednesday for a hearing in a civil case that accuses the pop star of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old during the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.

An Aug. 17 hearing was scheduled in which Jackson must show why he should not be held in civil contempt or have a default judgment entered against him.

Joseph T. Bartucci Jr. claims he was lured into Jackson’s limousine, then held against his will and sexually assaulted during a trip to California. He says he repressed the memories until 2003, when he saw media coverage of Jackson’s previous child molestation trial.

But he doesn’t take the cake

And for those of you tracking his every move, Michael Jackson also will not be coming to Berlin to attend a party for father Joe Jackson‘s 76th birthday, according to a statement posted on the pop singer’s Web site.

The organizer of the event also said Michael’s sisters LaToya and Janet had canceled their weekend trip to Berlin, but Jermaine and Tito already have checked in.

Another checkup for Brad

Brad Pitt made his first public appearance Wednesday after being diagnosed with a mild case of viral meningitis, accepting a $250,000 check on behalf of the Film Foundation Inc. at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif.

A still-blond Pitt, wearing a white jacket and shirt, pretended to pocket the check after the presentation.

Pitt, 41, checked himself into a hospital July 11 with flu-like symptoms and went home two days later.

Carrie and the chocolate factoring

Earlier this week, we told you that “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood had signed a deal to endorse Skechers sneakers.

Now comes word that Underwood will sing classic candy jingles in a new television ad campaign for Hershey – including “sometimes you feel like a nut … sometimes you don’t” for Almond Joy and Mounds, “give me a break” for Kit Kat and “Hershey’s is … the great American chocolate bar.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Orson Bean is 77. Actress Louise Fletcher is 71. Actor Terence Stamp is 66. Game-show host Alex Trebek is 65. Singer-actor Bobby Sherman is 62. Writer-director Paul Schrader is 59. Singer Don Henley is 58. Actor Danny Glover is 58. Actor-comedian-director Albert Brooks is 58. Actor Willem Dafoe is 50. Actor-comedian David Spade is 41. Actor John Leguizamo is 41. Actor Rhys Ifans (“Notting Hill”) is 38. Actress Franka Potente (“The Bourne Identity”) is 31.

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