Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will always be Johnny Depp’s most memorable and iconic movie role as the franchise has reached the towering height of success. The franchise, a collective of five films, has grossed over $4.524 billion at the box office.
But the eccentric Jack Sparrow was even weirder for the Disney executives as they were worried about the fresh piece of acting from the actor could go wrong on several potential levels. Although Depp enjoyed every bit of the character which later become a 21st-century pop-cultural icon, the studio was not so sure about it.
When Disney Executives Were Worried About Johnny Depp’s Performance as Jack Sparrow
Since the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Johnny Depp’s iconic portrayal of the titular character Jack Sparrow has grabbed instant attention. The movie was a big hit, and so is the character. As per reports, Depp added his own version of the character making a change to the original plan for the character. “The executives made some comments at film tests for hair make-up and wardrobe when I presented the character,” Depp said in an interview with New York Post.
“They were like, ‘What’s he doing?’ Then I got phone calls: ‘You’ve got to lose the dangly things and what’s that sore on your face?’ ‘What’s going on? Is he mentally just gone, left the building a long time ago, or is he just incredibly drunk or is he gay?’”
Further, Disney’s head at the time Michal Eisner solely believed that “Depp is ruining the film” with his eccentric style for the character. Even suggested subtitling the film as Depp was not easy to understand what he was doing and saying.
“The next thing, Michal Eisner, the head of Disney at the time was screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Depp is ruining the film! We’re going to have to subtitle it. Nobody can understand what he’s saying. What is he doing?’ I can understand where they were coming from because their previous movie was Country Bear Jamboree, which I was not part of,” Depp recalled.
But the Edward Scissorhands actor was adamant in his approach and refused to make any change for the character.
“They were uncomfortable and I put it to them that they were welcome to fire me or replace me if they wanted, because I wasn’t going to change what I had built. I believed in what I’d built, I believed in the character wholeheartedly and I felt I was onto something,” Depp said.
Jack Sparrow was very special to Depp as he immersed in the character and bring out the fan-favorite drunken captain. But the actor got first approval from his kids.
Johnny Depp’s Inspiration Behind Jack Sparrow
Of course, Depp’s take on the character was rather energetic or even fresh. According to Depp, he was not really satisfied with the original screenplay version of the character. “In the original screenplay Captain Jack was written as a swashbuckler, a pirate who swings in, sort of fights a little bit and then swings out, grabs a girl and that’s it,” Depp told Collider. Depp insisted on a different version of the character, “I had different ideas for him,” he added.
The Sleepy Hollow actor further said that he went to a sauna to draw inspiration for his own version of the captain as the character spend the majority of his life on the high seas.
“My sauna. I was looking at various aspects of the character and I figured this guy has been on the high seas for the majority of his life and therefore has dealt with inescapable heat to the brain,” he said.
He “cranked the sauna up to about 1000 degrees and sat in there” pushing his tolerance level to the edge “until it started to affect me mentally. It was very, very hot, as was my brain.”
Depp further said that his kids also had a role to play when he was preparing for the role. “I started out secretly testing characters on [my kids] to see how their reactions would be,” Depp said.
“With my daughter we’d be playing Barbies and I’d try out these voices on her and she’d just say ‘stop,’” the actor added.
Depp also said that Rolling Stone member Keith Richards and cartoon character Pepe Le Pew also inspired building his Jack Sparrow.
Source: Showbiz CheatSheet.