Chameleons look at actor Johnny Depp and say, “nice work, fella.”

The former “21 Jump Street” star left TV behind in the ’90s, forging a career where he did all he could to obscure his handsome visage. His first breakout film role was “Edward Scissorhands,” letting him act under severe white makeup, a shock of unruly black hair and a patchwork of scars.

He returns to movie theaters this weekend in another transformative role, that of the bald gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” Depp plays the Irish thug whose decision to team up with the feds against the Italian mob hardly ends his brutal ways.

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Depp has sustained a sizable film career doing the opposite of what stars from the past did. When John Wayne appeared on screen he looked more or less like … John Wayne. The most change you might see is an eye patch from “True Grit” or other minor tweak. His look was his calling card.

Not Depp. Consider some of his character choices in recent years. A creepy chocolatier (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). A Native American sidekick (“The Lone Ranger”). A wicked wolf (“Into the Woods”). A soused pirate (“Pirates of the Caribbean”).

Audiences could be tiring of Depp’s masks.

He thrives under layers of makeup, adopting odd accents along the way. And he often follows suit off-screen. Depp’s other gig involves being a part-time musician. He’s played guitar with Marilyn Manson and the supergroup the New Basement Tapes. The actor vows we’ll never see a “Johnny Depp Band,” but his musical background is a clear part of his persona.

Audiences today expect some measure of versatility with their stars. Even comic cutups like Jim Carrey try dramatic roles in between their signature shtick. But audiences could be tiring of Depp’s masks. His last few films have fizzled at the box office, including big-budget fare like “Dark Shadows” ($79 million) and “The Lone Ranger” ($89 million). His most recent comedy, “Mortdecai,” earned a measly $7 million.

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Perhaps his best recent role is of humanitarian. The actor, currently shooting the fifth film in the “Pirates” series, took a break in July to visit Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. Dressed as his famed Captain Jack Sparrow character, Depp delighted the children at the hospital as a distraction from their medical woes.

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The actor, along with “Pirates” co-star Stephen Graham who plays Scrum, spent more than three hours with the children, snapping photos and selfies along the way.