In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was released, and while no-one expected anything good from a film based on a theme park ride at Disney World, it was phenomenal.
It was wonderfully written and performed, and it birthed some of the most recognisable characters in modern film. Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow was inspired as a piece of casting and acting and it became his legacy.
However, as the franchise progressed and more films were pumped out, it became more and more generic, serving as more of a cash-grab than a passion product from most involved.
Depp was more or less at the centre of this decline, as his performance became, essentially, a caricature of the character he made. In the latest additions of the Pirates franchise, he was indistinguishable from the hobbyists who dress up as Sparrow for functions and comic-cons; just swaying a bit and slurring.
In light of that, Disney’s production chief Sean Bailey has announced that that film franchise has moved on from the 55-year-old actor, saying:
“We want to bring in a new energy and vitality.
I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
Meanwhile, Disney have met with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who you may know for their work on Deadpool and Zombieland to reboot the pirate franchise.
Stuart Beattie, the Pirates of the Caribbean writer, hinted that the veteran actor could be on his way out, saying that he had “a great run”. He told the Daily Mail:
“Obviously, he’s made that character his own and it’s become the character he’s most famous for now.
And kids all over the world love him as that character so I think it’s been great for him, it’s been great for us, so I’m just very, very happy about it. I think Jack Sparrow will be his legacy. It’s the only character he’s played five times, it’s the character he dresses up in to visit children in hospitals, it’s what he’ll be remembered for.”
Obviously, it’s worth saying that this could have a lot to do with the allegations made against him by his ex-wife, Amber Heard, but this hasn’t stopped him acting in one of the biggest films of the year, Fantastic Beast: Crimes Of Grindelwald.
Perhaps Disney saw the uproar caused by his casting and decided he’s no longer the money-maker he used to be, or maybe they actually have a collective conscience and don’t want him working for them for non-monetary reasons.
Of course, they could have just realised that Pirates of the Caribbean and Jack Sparrow have gotten dangerously stale. Who’s to know.
Images via Disney