Jerry Bruckheimer talks Johnny Depp "Pirates" casting, secret to his commercial success

Johnny Depp celebrates iconic film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer in the forward of the new book "Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightening Strikes, Four Decades of Filmmaking." Depp calls Bruckheimer a "dear friend" and a "treasured confidante."

The words come after years of working together in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. But that working relationship may have never happened had Bruckheimer not pushed for Depp to play the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow.

The role, now one of Depp's signature performances, was Bruckheimer's brainchild, who said he was looking for something special for the role.

"(Depp is) just phenomenal," Bruckheimer said. "He had been in smaller movies. I felt that 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' being a theme park ride, it needs to tell the audience, 'This is something different.' ... You get a great actor like Johnny Depp who would never do a commercial movie like 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' and you put him in a commercial movie and look what happened."

But what is the key to Bruckheimer's commercial success? Bruckheimer said it's rooted in what he likes himself -- and not what he thinks audiences want. "I don't know what they (audiences) like," he said. "I really don't. I know what I like and that's what I try to put on the screen, whether it's a big screen or small screen."

Some of Bruckheimer's more than 50 films include mega hits like "Top Gun," "The Rock," and "Armageddon." His movies have grossed more than $15 billion worldwide.

And his success isn't limited to the big screen. On CBS, his "CSI" franchise is about to spin off yet again, and "The Amazing Race" has won 14 prime-time Emmys.

Bruckheimer said he never dreamed he could become a movie producer, but loved the movies since he was a child.

"I loved going to Mercury Theater in Detroit on Seven Mile Road and just getting lost in the wonderful Hollywood life, the great actors, the great storytelling, the directors, the wonderful things that Hollywood brings you. And I wanted to bring that to audiences, too."

For more with Bruckheimer, watch his full "CTM" appearance above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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