Five years after his last film – and a lot of water under the bridge – US actor and star of the multi-billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Johnny Depp, is rumoured to be reprising his role as the scallywag pirate Captain Jack Sparrow.
In a bombshell report in Britain’s The Sun newspaper on Thursday (AEDT), sources close to the Disney production say they have spotted a call sheet – and his name is on it.
Depp, 59, who made five films between 2003 and 2017 that grossed $US4.524 billion ($6.76 billion) at the box office, is apparently scheduled to turn up for a test shoot in Britain in February.
This is despite declaring he’d never do another Pirates movie, and despite other media outlets claiming the report is false.
Depp and Disney parted ways in 2018 after his ex-wife Amber Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about their relationship.
During an explosive six-week defamation trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, which he won and was awarded damages against Heard, Depp vowed he’d never work on a sixth Pirates movie.
When he was being cross-examined during the six-week court case – live-streamed around the world – Depp suggested there was nothing Disney could possibly do to win him back.
“The fact is, Mr Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film? Correct?” asked cross-examiner Ben Rottenborn.
“That is true,” Depp replied.
Five months is a long time in the movie business.
Insiders told The Sun the working title of the new Disney film was A Day At The Sea, a surprisingly lukewarm title compared to the previous blockbusters.
There’s been The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At World’s End (2007), On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
“Johnny is set to return as Captain Jack Sparrow and is scheduled to start filming at the beginning of February at a top secret location in the UK,” the paper was told.
“Everything is in the early stages and there is still no director attached to the project, which is being called A Day At The Sea.
“Johnny is expected to do a test shoot in early February before the production gets fully underway.
“A call sheet has been distributed among those in the know.
The paper reported the film’s executive producer was Bruce Hendricks, who worked on the first three films. He left Disney in 2011.
According to his IMDb profile, another Pirates movie is not slated, but he’s listed as producer on two upcoming releases, The Swiss Guard
and Love & Honor.
But, if it’s the entertainment industry’s biggest top secret du jour, that’s to be expected.
“All the other details are being kept under lock and key. The whole project is shrouded in secrecy and Disney want to keep everything under wraps as best they can,” the source told The Sun.
Long-time Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed in May that there were actually two scripts in the works for the sixth instalment.
One included Hollywood’s favourite actress, Australian Margot Robbie, who on November 15 told Vanity Fair the project starring her was dead in the water.
Bruckheimer was asked whether Depp would come back to play the bejewelled boozy pirate and replied: “Not at this point … the future is yet to be decided”.
Could fans of the Pirates franchise finally have their wishes granted?
One former Disney executive says so, telling People: “I absolutely believe post-verdict that Pirates is primed for rebooting with Johnny as Capt. Jack back on board.
“There is just too much potential box-office treasure for a beloved character deeply embedded in the Disney culture.”
One Depp fan petition also hopes it is Depp, with 800,000 change.org signatures asking he come back “to rule the seas” once again.
Meanwhile, Depp has not been idle.
The iconic star has enjoyed himself since the June verdict, and spent most of his time in the UK and Europe.
He has toured with Jeff Beck and his band across the UK and filmed a feature film, Jeanne du Barry, playing French king Louis XV.
In August, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Depp would be directing a biopic about Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani. He is also co-producing the film with Al Pacino.
His redemption continued after signing a multi-year contract with Dior the same month.
The reported seven-figure deal will mean the three-time Oscar nominee, who originally signed with the fashion house in 2015, resumes his role as the face of the company’s Sauvage scent for men.
Dior Beauty took to Instagram in August in a partnered post with Depp, to share fashion photographer Greg Williams’ black and white stills of him ahead of recently taking to the stage with Jeff Beck in Paris.
“Fearless yet human, just like Sauvage,” the caption reads.
The images shot by Williams would reportedly be used in a new campaign for Dior, insiders told TMZ.
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