The Pirates of the Caribbean series is one of the most well-known movie franchises of Hollywood. While there have been five Pirates of the Caribbean movies, its first installment is almost unanimously considered the best of the lot. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is known for two things – making pirates mainstream again in the movie theaters and introducing us to one of the greatest Hollywood sensations ever that is Johny Depp. Johnny Depp became the man he is today only because of the Curse of the Black Pearl. Here’s how the Curse of the Black Pearl turned Depp into a Hollywood Star.
Everyone knows Johnny Depp. He is Captain Jack Sparrow. Everyone also knows Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp is one of those guys who turned his own character into a bigger sensation than the guy playing it on screen. His talent with wiggly words and drunk up stupor and his cat-like walk on the decks of medieval ships is a sight for sore eyes. His humor is a dark, dank and top notch. Some say he even carried some of his character’s persona off-screen. As far as actors go, Johnny is one of if not the finest in Hollywood. Heath Ledger, Clint Eastwood, and Tom Hanks will always be the best. Johnny Depp is a close third. The plethora of oddball characters he has managed to pull off in the Big Screen and the eventual applause he has received is a testament to that fact.
He has played several peculiar, even non human characters on screen. He played Willie Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands, The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Tonto in The Lone Ranger and a busload of other characters from famous movies. If we start talking about the diversity of characters Depp has played on screen, it will take up the whole page so we will leave it to your own devices.
Coming to the topic at hand, Depp has only become a household phenomenon after portraying Captain Jack Sparrow on screen. Sure he has had several movies before that and he played the lead in most but don’t for a second expect any other character to have made as much a splash for Depp like Jack Sparrow did in Hollywood.
Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was the first guy ever to have made pirates mainstream. There were several movies in the past portraying a ravaging band of misfits being passed as pirates on screen but no movie had ever explored the world of piracy as in depth as the Curse of the Black Pearl did. Depp became the face and the voice of all pirates on and off screen. He made the audience think that pirates don’t just say ‘Arrrr!!’ as they jam the fish hook into a sailor’s tummy. They have a back story, they have a goal and they have emotions and a big heart too. Depp made the world realize pirates are not savages. They are complex human beings who wish the world could acknowledge them.
Depp was also flabbergasted and looked down upon when he took over the role of Jack Sparrow. Some people still do. He wasn’t a known name in Hollywood so Disney was criticized for casting an obscure and controversial face for the lead role. Depp took it like a champ. Not once did he ever let out his anger for the critics that said he will never be a big enough star in Hollywood. Even after the Curse of the Black Pearl became a humongous blockbuster in Hollywood, he still stayed mum when it came to his so-called ‘critics’/haters.
The third reason is the most important one. Depp was almost fired from the sets of the Pirates of the Caribbean for portraying Jack Sparrow as too ‘drunk’ and a ‘sexually ambiguous’ character in front of the cameras. Depp was almost forced to leave the movie entirely by the Studio. They asked him to change his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. The studios wanted a straightforward lead that could carry the movie. Depp never bent over to the Studios’ demand. His decision was final – He will portray Sparrow the way he believes to be the best for the character or he walks. The Disney Studios, a multi-billion dollar entity, bent to the will of a single man. Johnny Depp portrayed the character just like we know it – a drunkard, wobbly troublemaker whose luck never leaves his side. Honestly, we don’t see how the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would have happened without Depp’s terrific, oddball portrayal of the swashbuckling, rum-loving Captain Jack Sparrow with a weirdly worded vocabulary and ridiculous seaworthy accent.
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise may not have been doing well in recent times. But the Studios and the fans still have faith in it. The last two installments weren’t as critically acclaimed as the Curse of the Black Pearl but fans still flocked to watch them and made them blockbusters. Had it not been for Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow, this would have never happened. Like Depp once said –
“Who needs an Oscar?!?! To me, the greatest gift is when a kid walks to me and says ‘I love Captain Jack Sparrow’. That is the happiest moment of my life.”