Captain Jack Sparrow's back on deck

At Beverly Hills' Montage Hotel, the 47-year-old from Owensboro, Kentucky, is reminiscing about how his early ambition was to be an actor who worked on interesting independent films, but along the way he became a heart-throb and face of the multi-billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.

"It's interesting to experience that kind of a ride after essentially 20 years of enjoying a career based on failures, then suddenly something clicks," Depp says.

"The weird thing is I never changed a thing. The process is still the process. The fact people decided to see a movie I was in was probably the most shocking thing I've been through."

The fourth chapter, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, will earn Depp a reported $33 million, one of the biggest pay days for an actor in Hollywood.

"It's not my fault," he says, laughing. "I did my best, you know, even to a point of trying to get fired on the first one, but they couldn't bring themselves to do it."

It has largely been forgotten, thanks to the $2.4 billion the first three Pirates films earned Disney, that studio executives had questions about Depp's decision to portray Capt Jack Sparrow in the original, 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, as an odd, slurring, wobbly character.

Executives wondered if Sparrow was supposed to be drunk. They worried whether this was the way the lead of a $130 million family film should act.
While he and Australian Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, as the indestructible Capt Hector Barbossa, return in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are not part of the cast.

Another Oscar winner, Penelope Cruz, is introduced as Angelica, a feisty Spanish pirate and former love of Sparrow, while British actor Ian McShane is introduced as the notorious Blackbeard.
Audiences will quite likely eventually see Capt Sparrow in a wheelchair, with Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirming fifth and sixth chapters are in the pipeline.

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