Why Disney Hated Johnny Depp's Pirates Of The Caribbean Performance

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
(Image credit: (Walt Disney Pictures))

With Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald soon approaching theaters, audiences will soon get to see the unconventional Johnny Depp make his mark on yet another beloved franchise as the film's sinister villain. Although the 55-year-old actor has roots as a rebellious indie favorite in the 90s, he is best known as the leading high-earning family friendly franchises that he has twisted on its head with his unique performances. Depp's shift into super-stardom began when he first played Jack Sparrow in 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. The Disney character became so iconic that Depp was added to the classic Disney park ride dating back to 1967. However, Depp said when he first introduced his interpretation of the pirate on set, the studio had quite a bit of criticism about it. In his words:

"Disney hated me. [They were] thinking of every way they could to get rid of me, to fire me. 'Oh, we're going to have to subtitle him.' 'We don't understand Captain Jack Sparrow. What's wrong with him?' 'What's wrong with his arms?' 'Is he drunk?' 'Is he mentally fucking stupefied?' 'Is he gay?'

Johnny Depp's comments come from a completely unfiltered interview with GQ. It's no secret that Depp and Disney had their differences. The actor has previously how he expected the studio to fire him because he wasn't following its wishes. He reminisced how he would get on set and go completely "rogue", tearing up the script and muttering what he felt was best for the drunken scoundrel. After working in a collaborative environment on independent films, working under a big studio was a new experience for him. And Depp felt that if he wasn't challenging the values of Disney and making them unhappy, then he wouldn't be doing his job as an actor right. Depp continued by divulging another conversation with a Disney executive:

They asked me, 'Is he gay?' and I answered the question over the phone. It was a lady called Nina Jacobson from Disney at the time and she asked me a couple of questions and then said, 'What is it, Johnny? Is he gay?' My tendency, of course, is to be irreverent so I said, 'Nina, didn't you know all my characters are gay?' That was a pretty abrupt end to the conversation. And I just continued shaping Jack the way I believed was best.

Johnny Depp's unhinged name drop is regarding former Disney executive, Nina Jacobson who was president of Buena Vista until 2006. Jacobson is a gay woman herself, who currently helms her own production company-- best known for producing the Hunger Games franchise. Despite Disney's alleged comments to Depp, his controversial performance became a huge success and he went on to make four Pirates sequels along with working with Disney again with the new Alice in Wonderland franchise. You can see Depp next in Crimes of Grindelwald, coming to theaters on November 16.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.