Johnny Depp says one item, in particular, added an extra layer of menace to his evil character in the new movie “Waiting For The Barbarians.”

In the film, Depp plays the brutal Colonel Joll, a high-ranking official in a fictional colonial outpost seemingly set in the last century. With a reputation for torture, Joll comes up against a morally-inclined magistrate (played by Mark Rylance) as a “barbarian uprising” lingers on the horizon.

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Speaking with Variety, Depp said that “Barbarians” director Ciro Guerra gave him the especially mean-looking sunglasses that his character wears in the film.

Courtesy Venice Film Festival
Courtesy Venice Film Festival

“When Ciro came up with that shape…They were threatening; they were menacing somehow,” Depp explained, adding that “the fact that he didn’t take them off,” added to the threat.

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“[Joll] wore them to make the magistrate as uncomfortable as possible,” Depp said. “I think he’s learned a number of tricks over the years. He realized that stillness and silence and quiet, and holding your response to a question, is quite disturbing to the person on the other side.”

“Waiting For The Barbarians”, based on a 1980 novel of the same name by South African author J.M. Coetzee, premiered at the Venice Film Festival.