From the moment Johnny Depp makes his entrance in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” confidently posed atop the mast of a sinking ship, there was little doubt that a unique and daring comic performance was unfolding on the screen.
“That is one of the best entrances any character’s ever had in any movie,” says his co-star, Orlando Bloom. Bloom played young swordsmith Will Turner, who finds himself awed by Depp’s deceptively dissolute but resourceful pirate captain, Jack Sparrow. Bloom wound up following Depp’s lead as an actor just as Will follows Sparrow as a pirate.
“I just played it like he’s completely mad,” Bloom says. “I used it as a character thing. I think that’s how he intended it and that’s how we made it work.”
Sparrow had been written as a “swashbuckling, obvious proper hero,” in Bloom’s words, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer courted Depp from the outset.
“I wanted to make sure the audience knew this was not a normal Disney movie, that it was something special, and Johnny’s body of work will tell you that. (He) gives it a little spin, and that’s what I wanted.”
Depp’s spin was to turn Sparrow into Keith Richards with sea legs.
“He created this thing that was incredibly comic and witty,” says Bloom. “What struck me was how courageous it was.”
Almost too courageous. “There were phone calls from the studio saying, ‘You can’t do this,’ ” remembers Bloom, and Bruckheimer had to step in to calm Disney execs down.
“(I said) ‘It’s going to be a unique picture and he’s a unique actor and that’s why you hire him.’ ” recalls Bruckheimer.
Coming attractions: “Secret Window,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Libertine,” “Pirates of the Caribbean 2”