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Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is one of the primary reasons for the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. However, the studio executives weren’t initially thrilled with the actor’s performance. Depp once recalled a meeting with Disney over how many ‘dangly bits’ and gold teeth he had in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The studios considered ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor Johnny Depp ‘box office poison’

'Pirates of the Caribbean' star Johnny Depp holding his hands out wearing a blue suit
Johnny Depp | Jun Sato/WireImage

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross brought Pirates of the Caribbean star Depp and filmmaker Tim Burton to speak about their projects. Burton joked that a journalist previously misspoke that the actor/director duo worked together for a total of 10 decades. Nevertheless, they haven’t always had the easiest time getting to work together.

The filmmaker regularly had to defend his choice to bring the actor onto several projects.

Charlie [and the Chocolate Factory], that was the first time the studio said, ‘What about, you know, this guy?,'” Burton said, referring to Depp.

Depp explained that the studios called him “box office poison,” but Pirates of the Caribbean turned it all around.

Johnny Depp recalled Disney initially hated his Jack Sparrow and put a limit on the number of ‘dangly bits’

Host Jonathan Ross was surprised that Depp had such difficulties before Pirates of the Caribbean. He acknowledged that in hindsight, his performance as Sparrow is excellent. However, he guessed that Disney studio executives might not have been on board at the start.

“They were most definitely upset, yeah,” Depp said. “I mean, sitting in a great, big conference room speaking with grown men about how many gold teeth, how many dangly bits from your hair.”

Ross laughed and confirmed that studio executives wanted to put a limit on how many “dangly bits” and gold teeth Depp wore in his portrayal as Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

“Pretty much, yeah,” Depp said. “It was very strange.”

The host asked if he felt confident from the start in his own performance.

“I did,” Depp answered. “Didn’t do anything differently. I made choices for a character that I believes in and I knew who that guy was. So, I basically just said to them, ‘Look, this is the guy and if you don’t like him, you’re welcome to fire me. You can pay me.'”

The actor took part in the original Disneyland ride


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However, Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean earned major critical and financial success at the box office. As a result, Disney predictably changed their mind about the actor’s performance. The Walt Disney Studios YouTube channel even shared how Depp joined the original ride at Disneyland to surprise fans as Sparrow.

Fans cheered and squealed with joy seeing the real-life Depp amongst the props and animatronics. Movie audiences love the actor’s iconic delivery in this role. This was clearly a way to promote the latest film installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.