The surprising character of Johnny Depp inspired by Angela Lansbury

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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s third film together, 1999’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’, found the actor playing the legendary role of Ichabod Crane, a police officer sent to the rural New York village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of gruesome murders by a Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken). Using his gift for playing offbeat characters, Depp plays Crane as a nervous investigator scared of his own shadow, even though he has no problem conducting bloody autopsies in his attempt to solve the murders.

In an interview about how he found his behavior for Crane, Depp said the work of Oscar-winning actress Angela Lansbury informed his portrayal, specifically citing her role in a 1978 adaptation of a best-selling novel by Agatha Christie.

“I thought of Ichabod Crane as a very nervous and hypersensitive prepubescent girl. That’s where Angela Lansbury came in,” Depp revealed to Playboy (via People). “I thought about some of the work she’s done over the years, especially in ‘Death on the Nile’.”

But that was not all. Depp said part of his turn as Crane was inspired by the work of a prolific British actor who starred in horror thrillers such as “Arnold” and “The Legend of Hell House,” as well as in the film and television “Planet of the Apes” series.

“I also kind of based Ichabod on Roddy McDowall, who was a really good friend,” Depp told Playboy.

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