After all, Burton cast the offbeat actor more than a decade ago in "Edward Scissorhands" and "Ed Wood," worked with him again on the 1999 film "Sleepy Hollow" and is now set to direct him a fourth time in his upcoming adaptation of the children's classic, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
But it wasn't until Depp struck box-office gold with "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" that People magazine recognized the reluctant pin-up with its highest honor.
"That cracks me up," Burton told reporters in New York recently. "It's like, 'I guess he just arrived on planet Earth, Johnny.'"
Asked why he thinks it has taken so long for Depp to be appreciated, Burton mused: "I always find that with good things it's a delayed reaction, you know?"