updated 02/21/2010 AT 11:55 PM ET
•originally published 02/22/2010 AT 10:45 AM ET
Despite being one of the most admired actors of his generation, Johnny Depp says his lengthy success in Hollywood has been a surreal, logic-defying experience – akin to stepping through the looking glass into Wonderland.
“The whole ride – my whole ride and experience on the ride – since day one has been pretty surreal in this business,” Depp, told reporters while promoting the highly anticipated film Alice In Wonderland. The actor plays the Mad Hatter in his seventh collaboration with director and friend Tim Burton.
“It defies logic, why I’m still here,” said Depp – PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive. “I’m still completely shocked that I still get jobs and still am around. But I guess more than anything it has been a kind of Wonderland. I’ve been very lucky.”
“I had no idea where anything was going, but you can’t,” he continued. “It’s almost impossible to predict anything like that. I had no idea. I had hoped … I felt like after I’d done Cry-Baby with John Waters and Edward Scissorhands with Tim that they were going to cut me off right then.”
“I felt at that point that I was on solid ground and I knew where I was going – or where I wanted to go – and I was sure that they would nix me out of the gate. But I’m luckily still here.”
Although he’s currently playing an icon of children s literature, Depp says his children Lily-Rose, 10 ½, and Jack, 7 ½, have gravitated to one of those earlier characters.
“It’s Edward Scissorhands. That’s by far my kids favorite,” he revealed. “And it’s funny because they’ve seen it but they have a difficult time watching it because it’s their dad and they make that connection. They just connect with the character and also they see their dad feeling that isolation, feeling that loneliness. He’s a tragic character and so I think it’s hard for them. They bawl when they see that movie.”