Johnny Depp revealed that he has been the victim of homophobia, even though he’s not gay — and it almost cost him one of his biggest roles.
Depp explained to fans at the AFI Fest 2015 that he was almost fired as Jack Sparrow in the huge hit film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean because movie studio execs could not understand how he was playing the character — and one in particular did not like that the pirate seemed to have a specific sexuality.
“They wanted to fire me,” Depp told the crowd. “I remember it trickled back to me that [former Disney CEO] Michael Eisner went on some sort of vent about how, ‘Goddammit, Johnny Depp’s ruining the film. What is it? What is that thing? Is it drunk? Is it gay?’ So I fully expected to be fired.”
Eisner had another exec confront Depp about his portrayal of Sparrow, and he had the most perfect response ever.
“I said, well, didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?” he explained.
“I was really expecting to be fired. But they wouldn’t for some reason. They were actually going to subtitle my character — they couldn’t understand Captain Jack,” he said.
Depp went on the earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for the role.
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This isn’t the first time Depp has brought up the homophobic run-in with the studio over the movie. Back in 2010 he told Vanity Fair, “They couldn’t stand him. They just couldn’t stand him. I think it was Michael Eisner, the head of Disney at the time, who was quoted as saying, ‘He’s ruining the movie.’ Upper-echelon Disney-ites, going, What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?… And so I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite… ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous.”
Depp’s latest film, Black Mass, is currently in theaters.