Depp Candid About Roles, Money

Actor Johnny Depp took some risks that really paid off when he played Captain Jack sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean." Now he's back in the sequel, "Dead Man's Chest," which opens nationwide Friday.

People Magazine editor-at-large and The Early Show entertainment contributor Jess Cagle spoke with Depp about the new movie and his unique role.

For Depp, the first "Pirates" movie led to superstardom, mega-paychecks, and even an Oscar nomination. But the actor says those were the last things on his mind when he took the role and signed on for two sequels.

"You've said that 'Pirates' initially came from a desire to do a movie for the kids. And I wanted to know what kind of feedback have you gotten from your kids about the movies?" Cagle asks.

"The kids have been incredibly sort of supportive," he says. "They enjoy the character a lot. Every now and again, very rarely, but they'll ask me to sort of, say something like Jack Sparrow. Or do something like Sparrow. My son for example, used to think that — it was the cutest thing in the world — he always thought that the character's name was 'Captain Jack Sparrow Savvy.'"

Depp was practically a kid himself when he starred in the TV drama "21 Jump Street." Director John Waters saw that Depp was capable of much more and gave him his first big-screen starring role in "Cry-Baby."

"John Waters said he thinks Captain Jack is actually, of all the characters you've played, the character closest to you," Cagle asks, laughing. "Is there, first of all, why would he say something like that, is there any truth to it?"

"I'll never reveal the truth … I cannot and will not say. No, I think with all the characters, you know, they're still in there, you know. Ed Wood pops up every now and again," says Depp. "Captain Jack, certainly. Closest to me? You know, maybe. It's hard for me to say."

"After you left television and you were trying to do movies that you were passionate about, was it ever really hard to say 'no' to more money or 'no' to bigger movies and really follow your heart?" Cagle asks.

"Oh, yeah, definitely," Depp admits. "There were moments when, you know, sort of, whopper buckets of money were offered, where, you know, even in sort of your purest state you are tempted, you know? There is that temptation. But that's important to go through. I always figured that if there was gonna be money, you know, if I was able to stick it out, it would come later, you know? So I was patient. I couldn't do the work for the money. It couldn't be about that."

"I think about a decade ago, people saw you as a much darker character. I think you've even said you're much more at peace now. What changed for you?" Cagle asks.

"Very simply, just … instant perspective, you know, of having kids, you know?" Depp replies. "When Vanessa and I welcomed the arrival of our first child, it was, suddenly everything made sense, you know? Whereas before, for years and years, none of it made sense to me. At all. I was confused by it. Didn't know what it was all about. What everything was for. And then suddenly when you're holding your child in your hands, you go, 'Oh, OK. I get it. I was an idiot. Sorry.'"

If you're wondering about Johnny's gold teeth, he's still wearing the caps that he had put on to play Captain Jack. Filming on the next "Pirates" sequel continues next month.
  • Daniel Schorn

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