Depp, known for playing quirky characters in films such as "Edward Scissorhands," "Sleepy Hollow" and "Chocolat," visited The Early Show Thursday to discuss the swashbuckler movie based on a Disney amusement ride.
Depp says he was not hesitant to work on the film once he learned that the "Shrek" writing duo, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, was working on the pirate movie. And, he explains, he always dreamed of playing a pirate.
The 40-year-old actor brings humor and some oddball antics to his character, Captain Jack Sparrow. He says he had the opportunity to create his character from scratch because the movie wasn't based on previous pirate tales or movies such as the classic "Captain Blood," "The Crimson Pirate," or "The Black Pirate."
Depp says he modeled a large part of Captain Jack Sparrow after legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, added a bit of the cartoon character Pepe Le Pew and tossed in some modern day Rastafarian.
Wearing cakes of black mascara, twisting his hair in locks and filling his mouth with gold teeth, he hardly looks like a '80s teen heartthrob.
In the movie, Sparrow is a roguish criminal, who may be more comfortable at sea then on dry land. He loves his ship, the Black Pearl, but loses it to his nemesis, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).
Jack's one mission is to get back his ship. But, Barbossa has other plans. Barbossa and his crew are really cursed pirates who must return all the treasure they stole in order to rest in peace. They kidnap Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), who holds a medallion, the last piece of the cursed treasure.
Elizabeth's childhood friend, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), joins forces with Jack to commandeer the fastest ship in the British fleet, the H.M.S. Interceptor, to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl.
Depp, grew up in Florida, where he developed an early interest in music. Joining a rock band named Kids, Depp found his way to Los Angeles. When the band broke up, he turned to acting. The actor made a impression in the teen movie thriller, "Nightmare on Elm Street." He went on to earn roles in several other films, including "Slow Burn" and the Academy Award-winning "Platoon."
His breakthrough role came from television. Depp played undercover detective Tim Hanson on the popular Fox television show "21 Jump Street."
After four seasons on "21 Jump Street," he went back to Hollywood, and was awarded lead roles in such movies as "Cry-Baby," "Edward Scissorhands," "Sleepy Hollow" and "From Hell."
Depp is currently filming "Secret Window, Secret Garden," based on a novella by Stephen King. The film co-stars Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Ving Rhames and John Turturro, and is directed by David Koepp.
He will next appear on the big screen this fall alongside Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in Sony's "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," in which Depp plays a corrupt CIA agent who demands retribution from his worst enemy to carry out the drug lord's uprising against the government.
Depp will also star in Miramax's "Neverland," opposite Kate Winslet.