- Johnny Depp was questioned about the ending of “Pirates of the Caribbean” in court Monday.
- Depp was dropped from the franchise in 2018.
- “I planned on continuing until it was time to stop,” Depp tested.
Johnny Depp tested Monday in a Virginia court that he had plans to formally conclude the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series before he was dropped from the franchise by Disney.
In the series, Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow, a dangerous yet charming pirate known for his powers of persuasion.
The actor spoke about his disappointment that the series ended abruptly on the stand in a county court in Fairfax, Virginia, as part of his defamation suit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Depp is accusing her of ruining his reputation and career by saying in a Washington Post op-ed that she was a victim of domestic violence — although Depp wasn’t named. Heard has countersued Depp for $100 million and denied the claims in his lawsuit, claiming he did physically abuse her multiple times throughout their relationship.
Variety previously reported that under questioning from his own lawyer last week, Depp said that Disney dropped him from the sixth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” days after the Post published Heard’s op-ed. Variety later reported that last week Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, asked if Depp had been fired from the franchise before the op-ed ran. Depp clarified in court that it wasn’t the case.
“A franchise can last only so long. And there’s a way to end a franchise like that,” the 58-year-old actor said Monday. “And I thought the characters should have a way out, to end the franchise on a very good note. And I planned on continuing until it was time to stop.”
The film has not been produced and is currently in “dangle mode,” Depp added in court.
Later during Monday’s testimony, Depp spoke at length about how he was disappointed at Disney at the ending of the “Pirates” film franchise.
“Captain Jack Sparrow was a character that I had built from the ground up, and was something that I put a lot of… you put a lot of yourself into characters,” he began.
“And also having worked on those films with those people, and having put a lot of my own rewriting, dialogue, scenes, and jokes and whatever they are,” Depp continued, “I didn’t quite understand how, after that long relationship , and quite a successful relationship, certainly for Disney, that suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent.”
Insider reached out to a rep for Disney but didn’t immediately hear back.
Depp later added that he discovered Disney would not re-cast him in “Pirates” two or three days after Heard’s Post op-ed was published. The article, he tested, left him in “shock.”
“At that point, it had been a good, solid two or so years of the allegations, planted firmly on my back. It was something I had to carry with me. And I just couldn’t believe it was continuing in such a way ,” he said.
“It was clear that the more bad press, the more hit pieces that came out on me, the more stories of Ms. Heard and her righteous chase against me, it was stopping. And it’s difficult, once you’ve chewed on it for a couple of years, it becomes difficult to swallow anymore,” Depp added, “as it was completely untrue.”
As Insider previously reported, Depp lost a libel case in the UK against the publisher of the British tabloid The Sun in November 2020 over a 2018 headline that called him a “wife-beater.” Heard had accused him of physical abuse in 2016. The two settled out of court.
A 2018 report described Depp’s ‘troublesome behavior’ on the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ set
Although Depp seemingly blames the end of his relationship with the “Pirates” franchise on the WaPo op-ed, in 2018 The Hollywood Reporter published an investigation into issues Depp was having on the set of the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.
Citing sources close to the production, THR reported that Depp displayed “troublesome behavior” and was a cause for concern for the film’s producers due to his “heavy drinking” and frequent tardiness. It reportedly led the movie’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney production chief Sean Bailey to create a shooting scheduled tailored around Depp.
One source told THR that Depp’s lateness became so frequent that a production staffer was assigned to stake out his home at the Coomera, Queensland, compound, which he had rented while shooting the film. The staffer was stationed outside the house in an unmarked car and was told to alert his superiors of Depp’s movements, including when a light was switched on in the morning, signaling Depp was awake.
“When he got up, he’d turn on the light, and the moment the light went on they’d call the line producer, who would then call the directors [Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg]: ‘He’s up! He’s getting ready!'” a source from the set told the publication.
“They even had a special code term, like ‘The eagle has landed.’ Johnny had no idea this was going on.”