Film bloggers aren't taking kindly to The Wrap's report that Johnny Depp is "close to signing a deal" to star in a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. "Congratulations, layabout future generations of the Depp lineage!" enthused Vulture's Amos Barshad. Empire Online drily advised readers to "look shocked" by the prospect of Depp taking another big payday from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. At Hollywood Elsewhere, Jeff Wells used the first-person to try and get inside Depp's head.
"'I can't just keep taking one reprehensible paycheck job after another,' Johnny Depp is probably saying to himself. 'Pirates, Lone Ranger...I have to break the cycle. How much more do I need...really? How much better can I live? How many hundreds of millions must I have in my bank account before I stop tarnishing my rep? I know that people of taste hated the last one and the third one. They're starting to hate me in a way, I think. The cool people, I mean."
Considering Depp's $35 million up-front fee on the last Pirates installment (June's On Stranger Tides), it's hard to make a case that he's reprising the role of Captain Jack Sparrow strictly for the sake of his art. Is it selling out if they're just paying you lots more money to do what you've always done?
We're not sure. Five installments of any one series is enough to run the risk of repeating oneself. And there's also something more forgivable about spending five films playing a character you created for the screen than a 40-year-old comic book character that Hollywood's CGI is only just now catching up to. We're not Pirates of the Caribbean cultists here at The Atlantic Wire (they're too long, and make us vaguely sea sick), but it's worth noting Depp's performance in the 2003 original was impressive enough to earn him a surprise Best Actor Oscar nomination.
Depp's oddball whimsy was also on display in Alice In Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You don't have to like it, and can make the point that Depp would be well-served trying to recreate his performance in Donnie Brasco rather than Edward Scissorhands, but that's the man's brand now he's done with tearing up hotel rooms. Considering that the last Pirates film just became the eighth movie to pass $1 billion in global box office grosses, the people have spoken on how they like their Johnny Depp. Not chasing after Angelina Jolie as a regular guy in The Tourist. Not as a mumbly John Dillinger in Michael Mann's Public Enemies, $97 million domestic box office take not withstanding. People like Johnny Depp the same, but in a different funny hat.