Johnny Depp Explained How He Created Captain Jack Sparrow
For those that didn’t know, Captain Jack Sparrow has never been portrayed the way Disney intended. Johnny Depp appeared on set, saw the script, and then decided he wanted to do something completely different. A lot of people have attributed his character portrayal to that of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, but there’s a little more behind how Depp created the character. The actor recently spoke about the creation of Sparrow in an interview with Collider and said the character came to him during an intense sauna session:
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. I had different ideas for him. This sounds weird but Captain Jack was born in a sauna. 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. So I cranked the sauna up to about 1000 degrees and sat in there as long as I could until it started to affect me mentally. It was very, very hot, as was my brain. While you’re in there in that kind of heat you can’t stand still, but the worst of it is if you move, it kills you. So that gave me the idea that his brain has been par-boiled to some degree. Also in terms of his body language I felt that when he was on the ship he would be fine as the ship would be bounding away. He would have sea legs, but when he gets on land he cannot get land legs. He would be looking wobbly and Disney disagreed.
Disney was not happy with the early footage they saw of Depp playing Sparrow. Some interpreted his character as insane, others incredibly drunk, and some thought he was turning Sparrow into a gay character. It led to several discussions with angry executives trying their best to get Depp to change things up. Depp refused, and said they’d have to fire him if they wanted Sparrow played differently. Firing Depp would’ve been a bad look for Disney so they kept them, and the rest is history.
It’s actually hilarious Disney was so against the portrayal before audiences saw it, and then absolutely ran Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise into the ground by over exposing the character. Can you imagine what would’ve happened to this franchise had Disney fired Depp? Do you think it would’ve been nearly as successful?