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Johnny Depp recalls telling Disney bosses confused by Jack Sparrow: 'Didn't you know all my characters are gay?'

Depp thought he was going to be fired from Pirates of the Caribbean for his wacky portrayal of the pirate

Jess Denham
Tuesday 10 November 2015 09:45 GMT
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Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean (Rex Features)

Johnny Depp’s rum-loving, decidedly camp pirate Jack Sparrow is one of film’s most iconic, but once again, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor has insisted that when bosses asked if he was making the character gay, he replied: “Didn’t you know all my characters are?”

Depp, 52, was discussing his career and recent role as mobster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass at the American Film Institute festival in Los Angeles on Sunday when he revealed some lesser known facts about his life in movies.

He might be a leading, if not the leading man, in Disney’s $1 billion plus grossing franchise, but Depp came close to being fired from the set of the first Pirates film because execs thought he was going over the top. Johnny Depp, over the top, what were they thinking?

“It trickled back to me that [former CEO] Michael Eisner went on some sort of bent about how ‘Goddammit, Johnny Depp’s ruining the film! What is that thing? It is drunk, is it gay?’” he said, before recalling a meeting with “the upper echelon”.

“What the f**k are you doing?” he was asked. “When they asked if it was gay, I said: ‘Didn’t you know all my characters are gay?’ I really expected to be fired but I wasn’t for some reason. They were actually gonna put subtitles under my character, they couldn’t understand Captain Jack.”

Black Mass - Trailer 3

Fortunately, Black Mass director Scott Hooper thinks his disregard for screen directions and, well, anything but the dialogue, is what makes Depp a “genius”.

“I black out all screen direction. Why should I know what’s supposed to happen? I think it should be much more organic,” he said, adding that he takes many more liberties when playing a fictional character.

“Playing a character like Jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka, that requires nothing but a degree of responsibility to the intent of the story - responsibility to the filmmaker to deliver the goods. More than anything it just comes down to imagination: what are the ingredients for this character?”

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