Before he was a 3-time Oscar nominee or People's "Sexiest Man Alive," Johnny Depp was a young teen idol trying to navigate his newfound fame. ET first met Depp in 1988, just a year after he debuted his smoldering looks as Office Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street, as screaming girls lined up to meet the star.
"It's very exciting. It's also very strange because you don't expect that kind of response," the then 24-year-old told ET. "It's very new to me."
"I'm dealing with it the best way I know how which is I try to meet as many people as I can," he said. "I try to sign as many things as I can. I dont want to hurt anybody's feelings or make them feel like I dont have time."
Depp made his big screen debut in the 1984 Wes Craven classic ANightmare on Elm Street, before landing a role in the Oscar-winning film Platoon in 1986.
"Platoon was the greatest experience of my life," Depp said. "Working with [director] Oliver Stone was great-- it was incredible. I guess it's every actor's dream to work with Oliver Stone."
Despite his early success, Depp was still unsure whether he was cut out for the industry. When asked whether he liked Hollywood, the young talent replied with a resounding, "No."
"I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the things going on out there now," he added. "There's a lot of people out there who talk for the sake of talking and don't have anything to back it up or don't mean what they say. And I don't agree with that."
Not much has changed. Depp, now 51, bluntly opened up about his discomfort of being in the spotlight in a November interview with Details Magazine. "The process I love. The other stuff ... I can deal with being a fugitive for a bit, but I don't know how much longer a human being really wants to be that," he said. "Actors essentially have to peddle their ass to sell the movie. All the by-products or occupational hazards of the thing. At a certain point, one has to dig deep and go, 'Man, it is a birdsong.'"
Depp can next be seen in Mortdecai, in theaters Friday, alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.