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The enormous success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise could certainly be attributed to Johnny Depp, whose performance as Captain Jack Sparrow has enchanted viewers for almost 20 years. In the first movie alone Disney earned more than $650 million at the box office, before earning multiple billions with its four sequels.
Depp has now revealed that he is responsible for many of the loveable pirate’s best-known features.
Depp spoke out during his trial against ex-wife Amber Heard this week. During the court case, he was quizzed over The Curse of the Black Pearl and how its success changed his life.
He said: “Cartoon characters can get away with things we can’t. Captain Jack Sparrow can do things that I could never do. He could say things that I could never say. So it was, for me, a way to stretch the parameters of a character and take a risk in doing that.”
Although he enjoyed taking on the role of the outrageous character, he revealed he had a lot to do with how Sparrow was brought to life on the big screen. Depp said: “I thought that [the film] had all the hallmarks of a Disney film – that is to say, a kind of a predictable three-act structure. The character of Captain Jack was more like a swashbuckler type that would swing in shirtless and be the hero.”
He added: “I had quite different ideas about the character.”
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Depp’s disagreements with Disney have been well documented over the years.
He was famously asked by Pirates of the Caribbean bosses why he was playing the character as a “gay drunk”.
At the time, the American actor recalled: “When they asked if it was gay, I said: ‘Didn’t you know all my characters are gay?’ I really expected to be fired but I wasn’t for some reason. They were actually gonna put subtitles under my character, they couldn’t understand Captain Jack.”
But, eventually, everyone seemed to get on board with the character.
Depp continued in court: “So I incorporated my notes into [the] character and brought that character to life. Much to the chagrin of Disney, initially.”
Eventually, he felt Jack Sparrow was a success.
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Depp went on: “I thought that it might be a character who would be accepted by five-year-olds and 45-year-olds, 65-year-olds and 85-year-olds in the same way that Bugs Bunny is.”
He added that he knew Jack Sparrow better than the writers of the franchise.
Depp confessed: “It’s not like you become that person, but if you know that character to the degree that I did – because he was not what the writers wrote, so they really weren’t able to write for him… Once you know the character better than the writers, that’s when you have to be true to the character and add your words.”
Although Depp hand-crafted Jack Sparrow to be welcomed into the homes of people of all ages, he never went on to see the final film.
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Depp was asked about how he thought the final film turned out.
The Edward Scissorhands star replied: “I didn’t see it. But I believe that the film did pretty well, apparently, and they wanted to keep going, making more and I was fine to do that.”
Depp went on to play Jack Sparrow again in four more films. Collectively, to date, the franchise has made more than $4.5 billion at the box office. However, it didn’t end well for the star. By the time shooting began on Depp’s final film, Salazar’s Revenge, in 2017, he was reportedly being fed his lines through an earpiece.
Since then, he has been removed from the series because of claims he was a “wife-beater”. He has been replaced by an Australian star.
Harley Quinn star Margot Robbie has confirmed that she will be the star of the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film.
Details surrounding the film have been shrouded in mystery, but it has been reported the upcoming sixth movie is going to be a full reboot of the franchise.
Further reports have suggested the movie will be repositioned to focus primarily on female pirates for the first time.
The Pirates of the Caribbean films are available to watch on Disney Plus now.