Ahoy, mates! Johnny Depp just debuted as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a movie based on his fave Disneyland ride. Instead of classic swashbucklers like Treasure Island's Long John Silver or Peter Pan's Captain Hook, the star looked to more unusual personalities for inspiration.
"The pirate of the 18th century seemed to me like the rock 'n roll star of today," Depp says. "The greatest and the coolest rock 'n roll star of all time is [Rolling Stones guitarist] Keith Richards, hands down. I kind of incorporated the idea of Keith. Not an imitation of Keith, but that wisdom that he carries and that sort of confidence that he has."
In spite of his Disney bosses, Depp admits his other muse was Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew. "Pepe Le Pew was the skunk who smelled horrible, but was absolutely convinced that he was the ultimate ladies' man. He had fallen in love with this cat, who quite clearly despised him, but Pepe Le Pew sort of read it as if she was just playing hard to get."
Depp has no love interest in Pirates — he's too busy battling for control of his ship and helping Will (Orlando Bloom) rescue his kidnapped amour, Elizabeth (Bend it Like Beckham's Keira Knightley). "I thought it would be funny if the entire time, Jack was convinced — as Pepe Le Pew would have been — that Elizabeth was totally in love with him," he laughs. "So I just threw it in, and it seemed to work."
Depp also loved looking like a skunk for his role. We're talkin' dreadlocks, rotten teeth and lotsa grime. "Whenever [a Disney exec] came up and said, 'Should he really be that dirty?' or 'He's a little greasy,' you always had the safety net of saying, 'He's a pirate!' That would stop them in their tracks."