Dave Karger
January 10, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

If anyone out there has Johnny Depp’s address, please send him a DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Though he clearly adores his Finding Neverland costar Kate Winslet, he’s never even seen the other movie that may earn her an Oscar nomination this year.

”I’m going to see it for Kate,” he promises.

”You’re so full of s—, I love it!” says Winslet, sitting nearby.

”Film is the greatest tranquilizer in the world for me,” he explains. ”I fall asleep during opening credits. I go right out. Any film. Cartoons, I’m up for days. Movies, it’s over with in seconds.”

Depp should hope the rest of the Academy doesn’t get so sleepy. Just one year after scoring his first-ever Oscar nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp could find himself in the Best Actor race again thanks to his whimsical performance as Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie in Neverland. In the emotionally affecting drama (loosely based on true events), Barrie develops a friendship with ailing widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (played stoically by three-time nominee Winslet) and her four young sons, one of whom, named Peter, inspires Barrie’s most famous work. So far, the movie has won Best Film honors from the National Board of Review, as well as five Golden Globe nominations — one for each hankie it requires.

At the heart of Neverland is the innocent yet scandalous relationship between Winslet and Depp, who weren’t an obvious screen pairing — which is precisely why director Marc Forster chose them. ”Kate has a real earthiness to her, a strength of will power,” says Forster, who guided Halle Berry toward her Oscar for Monster’s Ball. ”Johnny has this very creative spirit, out there and floating and everything. So the two of them juxtaposed I think makes an interesting match.”

On a wet and windy Friday afternoon in Paris (the halfway point between Winslet’s home two hours outside London and Depp’s villa in the south of France), the pair rolled their own cigarettes (one thing they do have in common) and chatted about the movie they wrapped two and a half years ago.

EW Most people don’t realize that you filmed Finding Neverland before Pirates of the Caribbean and Eternal Sunshine. How do you talk about something you made so long ago?

JD You lie. You make stuff up.

KW I’ve had another baby since then, so I’ve lost brain cells. So I had to go and watch the movie several times, just to have an understanding of what the whole thing was really like.

EW Did you ever get impatient and want it to just come out already?

JD I knew that there had been some weirdness because of the Peter Pan movie [Universal’s 2003 fantasy, which contractually had to be released before Miramax’s Neverland]. It started to feel like it was shelved or something, you know what I mean?

KW Also as actors, don’t forget, you never get told anything, really. They just call you up when they need to roll you out on a few red carpets.

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