These days, Johnny Depp — whose latest film, art-crime comedy Mortdecai, hits theaters this weekend — is like a quirky but beloved family fixture. The eccentric uncle with the oddball sense of style, great stories from the past and a habit of doing funny accents to amuse the young'uns.

But once upon a time, Johnny was the kind of boy you wouldn't take home to meet your parents. An elegantly wasted young gunslinger with a wild reputation, a way with women, and a preference for left-field acting roles over the sort of blockbuster fare his handsomeness seemed to demand. In short, he was really cool.