There are few guarantees in life like a box office hit for a Johnny Depp-led Pirates of the Caribbean film. Fans have laughed and bought tickets for Depp’s various portrayals of Jack Sparrow, with each film generating a lot of money at the box office. But did you know Johnny Depp was almost dismissed from the first film in the series by Disney? Johnny Depp later stated that it would have been for a rather embarrassing cause.

Johnny Depp’s brilliant acting career

Johnny Depp

For nearly 30 years, Johnny Depp has been one of Hollywood’s most famous and sought-after actors. Depp is well-known for his chameleon-like ability to adapt himself to various roles. Early in his career, he appeared in the drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, but he is best known for playing the eccentric lead role in Edward Scissorhands. Since then, he’s portrayed nearly every type of character imaginable, including:

  • The eccentric Willy Wonka
  • The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland
  • Mobster Whitey Bulger
  • The drug dealer George Jung
  • The voice of a cartoon lizard in Rango
  • The evil wizard Grindelwald in the Harry Potter universe

It is apparent that Johnny Depp has a wide range. He’s played an exceptionally diverse range of characters. Depp has also starred in several successful blockbusters and franchises. None of the franchises has done as well as Pirates of the Caribbean.

Johnny Depp

How Johnny Depp made ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ a worldwide phenomenon

Johnny Depp plays Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Based on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Sparrow is a hard-drinking, scatterbrained pirate with a strong moral compass. Sparrow’s experiences bring him into contact with a wide range of good and bad personalities.

Many characters appear to have a history with Sparrow, as they are frequently unhappy to see him again. Depp plays Sparrow with a physicality reminiscent of Buster Keaton. He also has the mischievous spirit of Bugs Bunny in him. All of this adds up to Sparrow being one of the most memorable characters from a recent movie trilogy.

The Pirates’ flicks have all been enormous box-office successes. According to Box Office Mojo, none of the five films in the series have earned less than $172 million. The highest-grossing film in the franchise was Dead Man’s Chest, which grossed $423 million.

While the films are full of colorful characters, exciting action, and brilliantly filmed set pieces, there is no doubt about who drives their success. People keep coming back to see Depp’s Sparrow.

The time Johnny Depp was nearly fired from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’

While it’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Depp in the role of Captain Jack, Disney executives almost fired him. Before the film was released, some Disney executives were concerned about Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow.

Michael Eisner, then-CEO of Disney, was particularly perplexed. In an online interview, Depp revealed that he was almost fired for making the role too “gay.”

“Yeah, they wanted to fire me…It trickled back to me that [former Disney CEO] Michael Eisner went on some sort of bent about how ‘G*dd*mnit Johnny Depp’s ruining the film! Is it drunk? Is it gay?’ So I fully expected to be fired.”

Johnny Depp embraced the criticism, assuring the studio executives that all of his characters were gay. Of course, he wasn’t fired, and both Disney and Depp profited handsomely. It just goes to show that Hollywood executives who consider themselves to be creative should probably leave filmmaking to the artists. What’s wrong with Captain Sparrow being gay?