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INT: Johnny Depp

Interview 1: Jerry Bruckheimer/Ted Elliot
Interview 2: Keira Knightley
Interview 3: Orlando Bloom
Interview 4: Johnny Depp

It isn’t surprising that Johnny Depp steals the show in the upcoming PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL. After all, the enigmatic actor has made a career out of playing unique, oddball characters that grab your attention from the moment they appear on-screen. What’s amazing about PIRATES is that Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow, bears no resemblance to the one in the script. It takes some serious cajones to show up on the set of a film being produced by two mammoth corporate entities (Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer) and essentially say, “By the way, I’ve completely altered the lead character of your $100 million event film.  Hope you don’t mind.” Lucky for us, the suits let him do his thing. 

Still wearing his gold teeth, Johnny sat down to talk about playing Captain Jack.

JOHNNY DEPP

You looked like you had a wonderful time with this character.

It was criminal. I had so much fun playing this part. There were moments when Gore (Verbinski) and I or Orlando (Bloom) and I would look at each other and go, “Can you believe we get to do this?” It was really like that.

It doesn’t get much better, for me, than playing Captain Jack. I really loved being the character. When the film wrapped – and this has happened to me before – you go through sort of a decompression.  And a depression. You feel like, “God, I’ve just been this other guy for six months, and I’ll never see him again.” It’s very strange. And I’m not really into that whole “You must become the character” or anything. That’s not it at all. Knowing someone so well and having this second nature – it becomes very natural to you.

Why Keith Richards? How did he become your inspiration for Jack Sparrow?

I started trying to figure out pirates of the eighteenth century and what that was all about. Initially, you think it’s money, but I think it also has much more to do with freedom. To be out there, moving forward. I sort of thought that pirates would be the rock and roll stars of the eighteenth century, you know. And when you think of rock and roll stars, the greatest rock and roll star of all time – the coolest rock and roll star of all time, in my opinion – is Keith Richards, hands down. And Keith, if you spend time with him, he’s really, very much a pirate.

You also threw in a little Pepe le Pew?

Yeah. What I loved about Pepe le Pew was that this guy is absolutely convinced that he is a great ladies’ man. And he’s a skunk. You watch these cartoons, and this guy falls deeply in love with this cat. The cat clearly despises him, but Pepe le Pew takes it as playing hard to get.  “She’s shy – the poor thing” and all that. I always loved a character like that – no matter what the actual reality is happening around him, this guy sees only what he wants to see. And Pepe le Pew is the kind of character who is always able to run between the raindrops.

When the dailies starting coming in and the suits got a look at them, was there any resistance from the studio about your take on this character?

Yes. But at the same time, there were quite a few who were extremely supportive of my choices. Dick Cook, over at Disney, was an absolute gentleman from the first second I met him. He’s been great about the choices that I made since early on. There were a number of other people who were worried – and rightly so. I got it – I understood why they were worried and concerned that I was, you know, ruining the movie. But I sat down with them and said, “Look, I respect your position. I understand that you’re concerned. But you have to trust me. You hired me to do a job and I really believe that I know this character well. I believe I can build something that will please you in the end. It may take you a month or so to catch on, or maybe longer. But I think I can do it. So, you’ve gotta trust me, and if you can’t trust me, you gotta replace me.”

But Jerry (Bruckheimer) was an ally, wasn’t he?

Jerry was great. I remember sitting down with Jerry and Dick and I had two more gold teeth than I have now. Actually, three – I lost one the other day. I was eating lunch and one popped out of my mouth. But I had two more up here (in front), and when they saw the camera tests, they thought it was a little much. They said, “Why don’t we just lose the gold teeth.” I was like, “No no no no. Why don’t we lose dingles, or the braids?” So, my compromise was to take two of the teeth off. 

Are you keeping the gold teeth?

What happened was, I finished the film, and when you finish a film there’s always the possibility of re-shoots. I remember saying that I would keep them for three more weeks and that’s it. Three weeks passed and they said they weren’t doing any re-shoots. I was over in Europe and realized that I was 5,000 miles away from the dentist who put these things on. And you can’t just go to any guy to have them taken off, because they’ll just start grinding your teeth away. I just got in to Los Angeles, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll have them taken off.

Who’s idea was the eyeliner?

I remember seeing photographs of these nomads in Northern Africa, and they took charcoal and lined their eyes. It’s protection from the reflections on the sand and the water, and it’s also medicinal. So I thought that this guy (Jack) would do it. It’s like an athlete today, where they put the black stripes on their faces. This guy would probably have years of this charcoal around this eyes. I mean, he’s not particularly vain, in the sense that he would take it off and redo it.

You seem to have such great chemistry with Keira Knightley on-screen. What was it like to work with somebody that young?

Great. She’s wonderful. She’s the sweetest kid in the world. Smart, funny, charming. A real doll. I remember, early on, thinking, “God she’s so amazing. I hope she can stand up against the things that she’ll be facing along the road.” The road gets pretty bumpy at times. After working with her for a while, I thought, “She’s gonna be just fine.”  She’s tough. She’s not afraid to open her mouth.

Orlando, too. I was really impressed with Orlando.

Would you be up for a sequel?

Yeah. I’d love it. If we get Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio again, I think we’re golden. And if we have Gore Verbinski again, it’s smooth sailing.  We’re in good shape. I’d love to see Jack again; I’d love to meet him again. I’d love to be him again.

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And that's it for our week-long interview sessions with cast/crew of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. If you missed any of them, check them out below. JoBlo's review of the film should be up on Wednesday.

Interview 1: Jerry Bruckheimer/Ted Elliot
Interview 2: Keira Knightley
Interview 3: Orlando Bloom
Interview 4: Johnny Depp
Source: JoBlo.com

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