Captain Jack Sparrow has a number of popular accessories, but few of them mean as much to him as his hat. He only takes it off willingly a few times, and when it does come off, there seems to be nothing he wants more than to get it back on. It seems that might be something of a case of art imitating life, as apparently keeping Jack Sparrow's hat on his head was quite difficult during Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. This resulted in the costume designer taking the unusual step of making the hat (eventually) not out of leather, but out of rubber.
This Friday, Disney+ will debut a brand new series, Prop Culture, which dives into the history of some classic Disney films through their props. In one episode dedicated to the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, costume designer Penny Rose reveals that she ended up making Jack Sparrow's iconic hat out of rubber, because Johnny Depp kept tossing it in the water. According to Rose...
This is in rubber, because he kept throwing them overboard. So, after we’d gone through about 10, I was exasperated and had it copied in rubber. But it looks identical in every way.
It seems that the hat was made out of leather at first, but Johnny Depp kept losing them overboard, and since water and leather don't mix, the hat kept needing to be made over and over again. Eventually, the costumers got tired of it and simply made the hat out of rubber, because it would withstand the water, and also, it floats, meaning they wouldn't lose the hat again. It seems there might be a few genuine Jack Sparrow hats on the sea floor off the coast of the island of St. Vincent.
It's not entirely clear why Johnny Depp kept throwing his hat overboard. Perhaps he was just being silly or perhaps he was doing it out of anger. Maybe it was just 10 accidents that kept happening to the same piece of costuming. We may never know.
It's a pretty impressive creation, as even the close up look that Prop Culture has doesn't make it obvious the hat is made from rubber. It certainly looks like it could be leather. It would seem that some of the shots in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl show Jack Sparrow with a leather hat, and some with a rubber one.
The hat of Captain Jack is just one of the insetting prop items on display on the Pirates of the Caribbean episode of Prop Culture. Technically, the Pirates episode is the 4th of the series, but all eight episodes will be dropping this Friday, when the series debuts, so you'll be able to check that one out first if you wish. Unless you'd rather check out the episode about the original Tron, which has some interesting details of its own to reveal.