Everyone's favorite swashbuckler talks about returning to his most coveted character
Johnny Depp is one of he coolest guys you'll ever meet! I can remember in 1989 in Baltimore, Maryland watching him shoot Cry-Baby on the streets and in my middle school - everyone wanted to be him and just hang out with him.
Well, now the whole world is getting to know Johnny as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When you watch him on screen, you can just tell he's having fun - he doesn't take this stuff seriously at all.
Once again, he's teamed up with Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly for the second in the series, Dead Man's Chest. Jack has a debt to pay the evil sea creature, Davey Jones (Bill Nighy), and with the help (or lack of help) of Will Turner (Orlando) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira), he tries to save himself and recapture the Black Pearl.
While sitting down with Johnny, we got into what makes playing Captain Jack so enjoyable, and is he ready to shoot future Pirate movies anytime soon.
Check out what he had to say:
Why is this the character you can revisit over and over?
Johnny Depp: I just feel like I'm not done; I just feel like there are more things you could do. Because, I suppose, with a character like this, the parameters are a little broader, so there are more possibilities I think, and he's a fun character to play. I was really not looking forward to saying goodbye to him.
Any pirate adventures you still want to do, not touched on in Pirates 3 yet?
Johnny Depp: Time travel, why not? No, I don't know; Ted (Elliott) and Terry (Rossio), the writers, and Gore (Verbinski), what they were able to do on the first one and then taking that to what they've done now with the second one and then going into the third, it's pretty amazing. We're getting close to just even stretching the boundaries a bit more.
How much freedom do you have to improvise?
Johnny Depp: I think with everything you do, it's always - you have the basic structure, you have your basic bones and a solid foundation. But with every one, you do your best to kind of explore it as much as possible while you're shooting. It could be something that comes to you, like sometimes it just comes to me when I'm reading a script. A line will just come to me and I'll incorporate it into the thing and obviously run it by Ted and Terry and Gore and the other actors certainly. So it can happen that way or it can just happen in the spur of the moment which is more fun in a way, when something just happens because if you feel it and you do it in a big, wide master shot, it alters the rhythm for a second and it kind of throws the thing, takes the bottom out from under you for a second which is quite fun because you sort of see honest reactions all around. People panic for a second, and that kind of panic is fun and I think important, good for you.
The executives panicked the first time; did the audience prove you right?
Johnny Depp: The executives did panic; I mean, bless 'em, they did panic on the first one, and probably to some degree for good reason. But also, I think it's prerequisite to become an executive, you have to have that capability to panic instantly and do your best to resolve it as quickly as possible. So breaking the thing yourself and then fixing it so you look good, it was a case on the first one where I was totally supported by a few in the sort of close knit group. Like Gore was a great support during that time but really it was a case where the audience, the viewers actually came in and they were the ones that saved me.
Were you surprised it became so popular, that you're a crowd pleaser now?
Johnny Depp: I was definitely never a crowd pleaser. May not be after this one, you never know. I was very surprised, incredibly surprised - still am that Pirates did as well as it did and that the character made some friends out there. I am still surprised and touched.
Why do you think it struck a chord?
Johnny Depp: I've said for a long time, I for the most part had in terms of commercial success or box office bonanzas, I had about 20 years of sort of studio defined failures. To me they were all great successes because we got them done. In terms of what struck a chord with Pirates, I said for a long time and I really believe that studios were underestimating the intelligence of the audience or their needs. You go to the movies to be stimulated certainly, but you don't go to the movies to know what the end is going to be. You want to be stimulated so I think that it was such a kind of different angle, that film, that people were ready for that kind of thing. That hyper kind of realism, the action sequences were insane. It wasn't something they've seen all that much I think; I believe that's what it was.
Is it true you might be working with Tim Burton on an Edgar Allen Poe movie?
Johnny Depp: No, not that I've heard of but boy, that's an exciting possibility. We've been talking about doing Sweeney Todd together which is very exciting.
How close is that?
Johnny Depp: Don't know, Tim and I talked about it a long time ago actually, or the possibility a long time ago so now the people who panic are working out all the people who panic are panicking.
The musical version?
Johnny Depp: I'm assuming.
Do you sing?
Johnny Depp: Not yet.
What was it like to stay in character when you went home to your family?
Johnny Depp: See, I'm never aware of it, that I'm in character. It never feels like I'm in character. It always feels like you have those moments just before the take and it kind of winds down after the scene is done.
Did you wear the dreadlocks to bed?
Johnny Depp: No, I did not, no. There's still time; we've still got to finish 3.
You've done a lot of really inventive characters- -
Johnny Depp: You're saying I'm a weirdo?
Have you ever thought of playing a straight romantic character? Or am I missing something?
Johnny Depp: It's probably me missing something. I'm probably missing a lot. For example, Donnie Brasco was one that I felt was a straight-ish.
He was pretending to be someone else.
Johnny Depp: Yeah, but I guess in terms of playing like a straight leading man type thing, I feel like all these guys are kind of not necessarily leading men but straight kind of characters. Even though they may seem bizarre or strange, I feel like I think everybody's nuts. I mean, I really do. And the weirdest thing in the world is to see some guy who is just super earnest. He's probably crazier than any of the guys I've played. And as far as really doing that, it would have to make sense to me somehow. It'd have to be something underneath for me to make that work. Otherwise, there are a bunch of guys out there, actors, actor types who do that kind of thing very well. I don't think I could for myself. There's got to be a bunch of different things going on, layers to stuff.
What was your most fun scene to shoot?
Johnny Depp: Which scene was the most fun in Pirates 2? Boy, oh boy. Well.
Johnny Depp: G-d, that was horrible, that was just horrible. But the good news is I was expecting the worst and it was horrible but it wasn't as bad as I suppose it could have been. I didn't inhale any of the slime which is good. I guess the most fun was just one scene that comes to mind is when Jack realizes that there's a moment when Elizabeth is talking about how she wants to get married and he has that sort of moment of weakness of 'Ah well,' that was a lot of fun to play - that was a lot of fun to shoot.
Now that it's almost over, are you getting sad again?
Johnny Depp: No, I figure because we've got a few more months to go. It's the home stretch so I think probably the last month I'll start going into that deep, dark depression.
,b>Do you have the rights to the Nick Hornby book?
Johnny Depp: Oh, A Long Way Down - I don't know that I'll be acting in it but just kind of hoping to get it made I suppose.
They're doing a 21 Jump Street movie.
Johnny Depp: I think it's a great idea.
Are you far enough past it that you'd do a cameo?
Johnny Depp: Wow, I certainly - why don't I just go back and play - it'd be good at 42. That would be interesting. To go back and play the same character I played 20 years ago with no one saying anything. A bunch of people going, they don't' say anything to him but they talk behind his back, 'Is he out of his mind? He's really old now but he thinks he's still young.' That, I would love to play.
What's it like being in the Disney ride?
Johnny Depp: Boy, that's so exciting. They showed me the drawings and the plans for what it might be.
You can see Johnny as he dons the Captain's reigns in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest when it opens in theaters July 7th; it's rated PG-13.