Johnny Depp: A Pirate's Life For Me
Johnny Depp is Jack Sparrow and to separate the two would be an effort in silliness when it comes to the Disney franchise. There is not one actor on the planet who could have better captured the essence that is Captain Jack Sparrow. It is clear from our chat with Depp on a recent day in Los Angeles, that the Jack Sparrow character is one of his favorites to play. But, could Depp see doing the Pirate dance forever? You’d be surprised.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth time Johnny Depp has donned Captain Jack Sparrow's dreadlocks. The previous three films have grossed over a billion dollars. That's pretty incredible since the actor once commented decades ago that he makes films that no one sees. Fast forward to today and Depp is one of the cinema's most bankable stars, not simply because of Pirates, but because of his stellar body of work.
Depp sat down for a chat to talk Pirates and whether he would walk the plank with Jack Sparrow for a fifth film, as well as how the character manages to pop into his real life at the most silly of times -- think Depp as Captain Jack sending his kids off to school!
Arrrr, it's Johnny Depp & SheKnows!
SheKnows: You used to say, your movies would never make any money. Considering Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is part of a billion dollar franchise, have you eaten your words yet [laughs]?
Johnny Depp: [Laughs] It's not my fault. I did my best, even to the point of trying to get fired on the first one and they just couldn't bring themselves to do it. No, it's kind of interesting to experience that kind of ride after, well, essentially 20 years of enjoying a career based on failures and then suddenly something clicks. The weird thing is, I never changed a thing. The process is still the process as it ever was. The fact that people decided to go and see a movie that I was in was probably the most shocking thing that I've ever been through.
SheKnows: Are there any similarities between you and Captain Jack?
Johnny Depp: With every character you play, there's a part of you that goes into that in terms of the ingredients of making this stew. There's most definitely a part of me in Captain Jack and now, fortunately, or unfortunately, there's a great part of Captain Jack in me as well. Basically, I can't shake it. He won't leave me alone. He just sort of keeps showing up at odd times. In fact, he arrived this morning when I was getting my kids ready for school. I had to shoo him away [laughs].
SheKnows: Do you see Captain Jack as someone you could play more?
Johnny Depp: Yeah, I think they could wheel me in, yeah. Might have my dreads get tangled in the wheels of my chair. I don't know, I mean, sure. Interestingly enough, for me, a character like Captain Jack, you feel like you could just continue. The possibilities are endless. There's any possibility of madness and absurdity that could commence. So you feel with this character, you feel you're never really done.
What Johnny dreams
SheKnows: You're playing a pirate, live the life of a superstar, what dreams do you have left?
Johnny Depp: Well, smooth sailing. That's what I hope for. I'm okay with no big ups, no big downs, it's all right. Just go full steam ahead, all things well and good. As a family man, all you want is pure happiness for your kids. That's a universal parent thing. That's it, that's my dream, happy kids.
SheKnows: You're working with Penelope Cruz again after you two bonded on Blow. How was it reuniting with her? Has she taught you any Spanish?
Johnny Depp: She taught me the raunchiest Spanish [laughs]. I mean, it's so foul that I couldn't bring myself to repeat it here and now. Going to work with Penelope again, having done the film Blow together 10, 11 years ago, was weird. It felt like when we saw each other, it felt like we'd wrapped the film Blow like a week before or a few days before. It just sort of clicked instantly. Whatever exists in terms of chemistry was just instantly firing on all cylinders. It felt completely right. It was Rob's brilliant idea to bring her in. I think when he brought up the idea to me, he maybe got out the consonant and I went, "Great idea." [Laughs] So I was very, very excited to have Penelope come into the film. I knew that she would be not only a worthy opponent but someone who could just kill the scenes and she did. She was incredible.
See the new OPI nail colors inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean! >>
SheKnows: What are your thoughts on director Rob Marshall taking over the ship after his success with musical movies such as Chicago? How did that work with the broad scope of a Pirates movie?
Johnny Depp: Rob Marshall... what a gift to have someone of his caliber, someone of his talent to come in and drive this beast. He shaped this strange animal into something. It was incredible to experience. Some filmmakers go into a film and it's shot and cut in their head. I didn't get that feeling from Rob. What I got from Rob was that he heard it as music in a weird way or rhythmic -- and sort of new tempo. It was an incredible experience. His timing, and that's not just to say choreographic timing or anything like that, but his sense of comedic timing is impeccable. He would have us just shave like an eighth -- just an eighth of a millisecond -- just a tiny little sliver off of a beat, and it would change the whole dynamic of the scene. It was quite something. The only problem is he's really mean. He's really mean [laughs]. Seriously, he's the kindest man alive.
SheKnows: Would you ever direct after directing Marlon Brando in The Brave in 1997?
Johnny Depp: No, no, I tried that once. Yeah, first one's free [laughs]. No, no, even the idea of directing a film is a strange one for me. Maybe I'll just make little films at home with my phone, never to be released.
SheKnows: Talk about shooting in London for the fourth Pirates. That escape scene was pretty hairy, was it hard to film?
Johnny Depp: It was horrible. It was grueling [laughs]. No, I mean, that's a very obtuse, very strange little sequence. I thought of doing many things in my life under the influence of, well, life. And I've never actually thought of straddling carriages while they're moving before -- so that was an interesting experience. And jumping on people's heads and jumping onto charts and then the thing catches fire -- it's all a bad dream, isn't it? And this is how daddy brings home the bacon [laughs].
SheKnows: You're part of Disney history with Pirates emanating from the ride at Disneyland. Where does that resonate for you?
Johnny Depp: It's quite an honor in a weird way. It's a great honor -- something that you took part in creating becomes this forever sort of object. Incredible.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
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