“It’s too Intense and scary”: Top Gun Producer Made 2 Promises to Disney Before Building a $4.5 Billion Worth Franchise With Johnny Depp

"It's too Intense and scary": Top Gun Producer Made 2 Promises to Disney Before Building a $4.5 Billion Worth Franchise With Johnny Depp
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Pirates of the Caribbean is helmed as one of the most important IPs of Disney from which we haven’t received any content for a long period. One of the primary reasons behind the success of the franchise is its producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The producer who was already famous for heading projects like Top Gun and Armaggedon made some fruitful promises to Disney that manifested into one of the best franchises of all time.

Johnny Depp from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Johnny Depp in a still from Pirates of the Caribbean

It is noteworthy that 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was the first PG-13 movie from the studio that usually featured strawberry worlds of animated characters or Disney princesses. Initially, the Johnny Depp movie was planned in a similar way before Jerry Bruckheimer entered the picture and made some incredible changes to the movie.

Also Read: “I’ll be doing this till I’m…”: Johnny Depp Was Surprised by Disney’s Obsession With Pirates Of The Caribbean Before Getting Fired After Amber Heard’s Accusation


How did Jerry Bruckheimer help Disney in creating the Johnny Depp franchise?

Jerry Bruckheimer speaks on the future of Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp with Jerry Bruckheimer

As soon as Jerry Bruckheimer was attached to the movie, the initial Pirates of the Caribbean script was scrapped for being too bland and normal. He even admitted to Disney that the plot was too simple and he didn’t know what to do. The Bad Boys producer wanted to add a “supernatural spin” to the plot and hence brought the Shrek writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio on board who thought of adding the concept of a curse to it.

One of the major changes that Jerry Bruckheimer promised was the introduction of a PG-13 rating in the movie. Despite not having any s*xual themes, the film was rated PG-13 for its slight bloody and violent nature. The then Disney production chief Nina Jacobson said that she couldn’t let her 5-year-old son watch the movie- “I think it’s too intense and scary”. It was not the first time, the studio released a mature product but the former movies Touchstone Productions banner which primarily focused on mature movies like Pretty Woman and Splash. It was the first time for the Walt Disney Pictures banner.

Also Read: “Either trust me or give me the boot”: Johnny Depp Asked Disney Execs to Fire Him From Pirates of the Caribbean If They Don’t Agree to His Conditions Over Jack Sparrow


According to the LA Times, as the introduction of the PG-13 banner in Walt Disney Pictures raised quite a buzz, Jerry Bruckheimer stated that the studio was evolving with time.

“They see all these huge movies that are acceptable to parents that are PG-13. They’re moving with the marketplace.”

Nonetheless, it was repeatedly made clear that the movie shouldn’t have “foul language, s*x or drug abuse”. Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook showed his trust in Bruckheimer as well. He said that with the inclusion of the producer, they knew they “would be making a thrill ride”. The 80-year-old producer was also determined to take in The Ring director Gore Verbinski and a star who is not a regular part of lighthearted family movies.

Also Read: Grant Gustin’s Career Regret: Johnny Depp’s Pirates 4 Co-Star May Have Beaten Him for Major Role in Jennifer Lawrence’s The Hunger Games


The role of Captain Jack Sparrow didn’t go to Johnny Depp at first

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp

The role of Johnny Depp as the character of Captain Jack Sparrow is also huge in the success of the $4.5 billion franchise. Interestingly, the role that elevated Depp to international fame was not offered to him at first. It made rounds in the hands of several notable names like Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken, and Jim Carrey.

Although the character was written keeping Hugh Jackman in mind, his lack of popularity led Disney to cast a more popular face like Johnny Depp. Jerry Bruckheimer also felt that Johnny Depp was “an edgy actor” and would appeal to all the audiences.

Also Read: Original Choice for Jack Sparrow is the Perfect Replacement for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean 6


Unfortunately, the studio was embroiled in controversy regarding the franchise when Johnny Depp won the defamation case against his former wife Amber Heard. Although Bruckheimer stated that a sequel and a spin-off are in development, it is quite evident that if Depp is absent, the movies are bound to face consequences from avid fans.

All the Pirates of the Caribbean movies can be streamed on Disney+.

Source: LA Times

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Written by Subham Mandal

Articles Published: 1214

Subham Mandal is currently working as a content writer for FandomWire with an ardent interest in the world of pop culture. He has written more than 1000 articles on different spheres of modern pop culture and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He’s also an experienced student journalist having demonstrated work experience with the Times of India. He aspires to be a column writer in the future.