If you believe the man himself, Johnny Depp may walk from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, after his friend and Chairman of Disney Dick Cook was ousted at the weekend.
As he waits to base his decision on the strength of the script, currently being laboured over by a team of highly skilled hacks chained to typewriters, we thought we'd cast an eye on a Depp-less future for Pirates 4.
There is little doubt that the film will go ahead, after all the franchise has grossed over $2 Billion at the box office. So they are left with two choices; write out the character, or recast the part.
While we wouldn't like to think about a Sparrow-light Pirates film, it's slightly more palatable to consider who might have a go at filling those magnificent boots...
Join us then, as we make the case for 7 Actors For Jack Sparrow...
Joseph Gordon Levitt
Who? Often touted as the finest young actor working today, Gordon-Levitt got his start in Third Rock From The Sun and 10 Things I Hate About You before graduating to Mysterious Skin, Brick and (500) Days of Summer more recently.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: One of the brightest and most versatile young actors of his generation, he isn’t too much of an acting snob to throw himself into a role that requires acting the fool – see GI Joe for evidence.
He also has the comedy pedigree, honed over his lengthy stint on Third Rock From The Sun, to manage a Jack Sparrow, whereas many of his serious actor counterparts might take themselves way too seriously (Ryan Gosling).
Plot Adjustments: Taking a step back in time, Pirates 4 would go the prequel route, Jack Sparrow: The Early Years. With his pirate dad constantly embarrassing him and putting him down, Jack sets out to make his name.
Joining a crew, Sparrow makes his mark with his pirate skills and remarkable ability to fight better when he’s drunk, though he has a habit of getting into trouble.
The film shows Sparrow and crew stealing the Black Pearl, and introduces us to his first mate Barbossa, who leads a mutiny against Jack, deserting him on the island from where he makes his famed escape.
Next: Robert Pattinson
Who? Current hottest actor on the planet, ask any girl under the age of 65 about R-Pattz and they’ll just start blubbing and giggling simultaneously, while screaming at the top of their lungs. He’s in Twilight apparently.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: If Disney want to shift some tickets for this sham, then they could do worse than bringing Pattinson’s massive following into the Disney family.
We’re not convinced he’d be able to handle Jack’s surly, witty persona, in fact Sparrow would likely be a much paler, more brooding affair with Rob in the role, but boy if it wouldn’t put bums in seats – and that’s what matters, fact fans.
Plot Adjustments: Forget Orlando Bloom, Jack Sparrow is the romantic lead in this sequel, and Disney aren’t shy about hiring the hottest and most desirable young actress to surround Sparrow.
Separated from his one true love when she is taken away by her evil father, Sparrow gathers his crew and sets sail on the high seas, drinking and whoring his way around half the world.
But when word reaches Sparrow of his true love’s peril, he risks life and limb in an epic quest to reunite with her. Swoon.
Next: Robert Downey Jr.[page-break]
Robert Downey Jr.
Who? From enfant terrible to bankable leading actor, Downey Jr has emerged from his drug-addled past to rule the box office and our hearts in the latter half of this decade, from Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang to Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: He’s versatile, charismatic, charming, witty, amazingly talented and funny as hell – if ever there were a heir-appartent to Depp it’s Downey Jr.
Cool, confident and not afraid to court controversy, Downey Jr. is exactly the kind of guy who’d accept the Sparrow challenge, just to see if it could be done – and as Tropic Thunder proved, he can transform himself to fit any role.
Plot Adjustments: You wouldn’t need any. Just follow the plot of Pirates 4 as Jim Elliot and Terry Rossio have penned it, and simply substitute Bob for Johnny – he’s so good people probably won’t even notice!
Perhaps as an homage to Downey’s battle against addiction, the film could portray Jack trying to go clean. That would be quickly done away with when it turns out Jack needs to be sizzled to be effective.
Consuming enough rum to drown most sailors, Sparrow returns in the climactic finale as pissed as a priest and twice as surly, saving the day and sailing triumphantly into the sunset. Depp who?
Who? Only one of the finest and most beloved comedy performers and actors of a generation, star of genius such as Ace Ventura, The Mask and Liar Liar, he’s also nailed more dramatic roles in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: Nobody does quirky like Carrey. His gift for physical comedy is a trait attempted by many but matched by none. The time is ripe for JC to star in a major franchise, and why not the second Pirates trilogy.
He’d take Jack Sparrow’s crazy to a whole new level, with his uniquely rubber face, boundless energy and explosive delivery, he’d ad-lib his way over any doubts about his pedigree to replace the irreplaceable Depp.
Plot Adjustments: More insane than ever, Sparrow must try to convince his crew he can still lead them to the famed treasure of something or other, but a curse put on him by a witch has rendered him unable to say the letter ‘R’.
Flopping his way around the Caribbean trying to command a near-mutinous crew, Sparrow finds himself in all manner of difficulty trying to direct the ship, fighting against the curse and anything he can think of to break it.
In the end, Jack gets around his ailment, finds the treasure, and realises the only way to break the curse is to give all his riches away, learning not to be so selfish. It doesn’t last long.
Next: Sean Penn[page-break]
Who? Two-time Oscar winner for Mystic River and Milk, Penn has a chameleonic ability to immerse himself into a role, whether it be a gay politician or a hardened gangster, he is quite simply one of the best actors of all time.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: Although Johnny Depp brought massive credibility to Jack Sparrow, Penn would bring an extra dimension to the character, flushing out and exorcising the demons that haunt Jack Sparrow.
He can do funny, and doesn’t take himself that seriously, well not all the time (have you seen Carlito’s Way?), and his Oscar winning pedigree speaks for itself – Jack Sparrow in his hands would be an interesting proposition.
Plot Adjustments: Jack Sparrow has a wife and a newborn child. When a rogue band of pirates seek to make themselves top dogs by removing the competition, they slay his wife and child and leave Jack for dead.
Injured and alone, Jack must put to rest his pride and ask for help from old friends in order to track down the pirates and get his revenge. On the journey, Jack loses himself in his thirst for vengeance, and it almost destroys him.
Realising the error of his ways, Jack makes peace with his guilt for failing to protect his family and finally catching up with the culprits, he turns them over to the authorities rather than kill them, sailing off a changed man.
Next: Russell Brand[page-break]
Who? British stand-up comic, actor and presenter made infamous by the Sachsgate scandal, had a hilarious turn in last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and is set to star in a spin-off, Get Him To The Greek.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: Rumoured to be playing Jack Sparrow’s brother in On Stranger Tides, Brand has the certain essence required for the role; namely he’s as random as flying rock and may have been hit by a few.
Wouldn’t be much of a stretch in make-up and hair terms, and he can probably provide his own wardrobe. The accent too is fairly Sparrow-esque, and he’d probably do it for a tenth of Depp’s rate.
Plot Adjustments: Arrested and incarcerated aboard a rehab vessel for rum abuse, Sparrow leads the scurvy riddled patients to a mutiny.
Taking control of the ship, and their hefty supply of rum, the crew set sail for the Port of St. Lucia for a hedonistic retreat of twenty-four hour opium-fuelled orgies with the local lovelies.
When the British arrive to ruin the party, Jack arranges an impromptu defense of the island with coconut grenades and syphilis. Legend.
Next: Christian Bale[page-break]
Who? Putting the Angry in A-List, Bale is one of the most bankable stars of his generation, currently heading two franchises and with a slate of high profile films coming in the future.
Why He’d Be Good For The Role: Bale brings a presence to any role he inhabits, and immerses himself so completely he’ll often stay in character not just for the duration of the shoot, but for all the press afterwards.
After Depp, there’ll be a rather large pair of metaphorical boots to fill, and Bale certainly has the clout. Though any Jack Sparrow played by Christian Bale is going to be a very different proposition indeed…
Plot Adjustments: Everything just got very serious in the Caribbean… deadly serious, and Jack Sparrow is proper pissed off.
Storming around the seas like a one-man squall, Sparrow chews more scenery than a Jack Nicholson vs. Al Pacino Scenery Chowdown, gruffly barking his dialogue at anyone and everyone in earshot.
Turns out that someone has interrupted his work flow, and Jack isn’t going to rest until that person loses their job, their family and their lives…
Who, if anyone, could you see replacing Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow? Comment me-hearties!
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