“He’s a friend, a terrific actor and it’s unfortunate that personal lives creep into everything we do.”
Although it’s still unclear if Johnny Depp will reprise his role as Jack Sparrow in future “Pirates of the Caribbean” films following his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, producer Jerry Bruckheimer isn’t ready for him to walk the plank and exit the franchise.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, published on Monday, Bruckheimer, 79, shared his thoughts about Depp’s possible future in Disney’s swashbuckler film franchise. THR asked the movie producer if he believes Disney would consider having Depp “front and center” in a “Pirates” film again after he won in court and settled their dueling defamation lawsuits with Heard.
“You’d have to ask them. I can’t answer that question. I really don’t know,” Bruckheimer said, before suggesting that he would be interested in working with Depp again. “I would love to have him in the movie. He’s a friend, a terrific actor and it’s unfortunate that personal lives creep into everything we do.”
Depp, 59, has starred in five “Pirates of the Caribbean” films from 2003 to 2017. Before the defamation trial, there were reportedly plans for him to reprise his role as Jack Sparrow once again in “Pirates 6.”
At another point during his interview with THR, Bruckheimer revealed whether or not he would ever kill off Sparrow. “You can’t,” he said, “We tried to kill him. It didn’t work.”
On June 1, after six weeks of testimony and wall-to-wall media coverage, a verdict was reached in the defamation trial — and a jury totally sided with Depp, ruling that Heard had defamed Depp in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.
The jury ruled unanimously in favor of Depp, saying that Heard made her allegations “with actual malice.” They also awarded $10 million dollars to Depp in compensatory damages, plus $5 million in punitive damages. Since there’s a cap on punitive damages in Virginia, Heard is only required to pay $350,000 of that $5 million.
Heard did score a minor victory herself, with the jury deciding statements made by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman were defamatory — and awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages.
The actress initially filed to appeal, however, this past Monday, she released a statement in which she revealed that she decided to settle with her ex-husband. “This is not an act of concession,” Heard said in part, per TMZ. “There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”
Depp’s role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” came up at one point in the trial, with the Oscar nominee admitting that he felt “betrayed” by Disney after it was reported that the studio wouldn’t continue to cast him as Captain Jack Sparrow in future “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
When his team asked when he learned about Disney’s alleged decision, Depp said it was about 2-3 days after the op-ed, referring to an interview Disney’s Sean Bailey did with The Hollywood Reporter, which was published two days after Heard’s WaPo piece and insinuated they’d be continuing the franchise without him.
“Captain Jack Sparrow was a character I built from the ground up and was something that I, of course, put a lot of [myself] into the character and also having worked on these films with these people and added much of myself, much of my own re-writing of the dialogue and scenes and jokes,” claimed Depp. “I didn’t quite understand how, after that long relationship and quite a successful relationship certainly for Disney, that suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent.”
He said he had been approached “to take part in Pirates 6,” adding, “My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye, as it were. A franchise can only last for so long and there’s a way to end a franchise like that and I thought that the characters deserved to have their way out, to end the franchise on a very good note. I planned on continuing until it was time to stop.”
When asked about Heard’s lawyer referencing Depp saying that he wouldn’t return to the franchise for $300 million and a million alpacas, he said he made those comments after “there was a very deep and distinct feeling of having been betrayed by the people that I had been working with, the people I had worked hard for, people I had delivered a character to that they initially despised.” He added that he said that in 2021. The op-ed and Bailey’s comments came out in 2018.