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Johnny Depp says he's 'shocked and very sad' about Dick Cook's departure

Johnny Depp, star of Walt Disney Co.'s hugely successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, said he was "shocked and very sad" to hear about the abrupt departure of studio chief Dick Cook, whom he called "the sweetest man on the planet and such a gent."


Depp, who said his enthusiasm for a fourth "Pirates" movie has waned with the news of Cook's exit, said "it seems like the whole town is shocked," Depp said in a phone interview from London. He said Cook called him a few hours ago to break the news.

"He is the utmost gentleman, so he made the call himself. He said, 'I'd like you to hear it from me before you hear it from someone else or read it,'" Depp said. "He said today was my last day. He didn't give me a reason."

Depp added, "I didn't see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming."

The actor said it was because of Cook that he ended up working with Disney in the first place. Cook had been trying woo Depp for years with various projects including doing voice-overs for animated films and one day, in Cook's office, the studio chief threw out an idea that Depp pounced on.

"He said, 'We're thinking about doing this 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie,'" Depp recalled. "I said I was in. This was before there was a script or anything."

Depp said one of the reasons he committed to the movie was because he trusted Cook.

"He's instantly trustworthy. And you generally don't meet people at the studios you trust," Depp said. "He's a rare beast."

Depp said Cook's true character was evident right from the get-go. "When things went a little sideways on the first 'Pirates' movie and others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me," said Depp, referring to his controversial choices to fill his mouth with gold fillings and wear "things tied into my hair" that made him resemble Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as much as he did a pirate.

While some of the Disney executives were "opposed to my body language," Cook "was completely supportive of me," Depp said.

As for the fourth planned "Pirates" movie, Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.

"There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment," Depp said. "It was all born in that office."

Depp said he was confident that he and Cook will one day work together again.

"He will be somewhere and I will always look forward to working with him. I consider Dick a friend inside an insane system. He's someone I understand and I think he understands me."

Update (Saturday, 12:05 AM): For more, read the story in Saturday's Times.

-- Claudia Eller

Photo: Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean." Credit: Peter Mountain / Buena Vista Pictures

Comments () | Archives (36)

sin johnny depp la pelicula no existe y nadie la va a ver espero que johnny lo piense bien y siga siendo jack sparrow

I know how Johnny can cheer up ... someone suggest he take a look at his bank accounts.

I hope Johnny Depp cheers up soon. My children are such big fans of the Pirates movies. I hope he can atleast do it for the fans.

I also hope Johnny Depp cheers up soon. I'm a fan of the Pirates movies.

I hope Johnny reconsiders because I have been waiting on a POTC 4 since the last one. Without Johnny there is no POTC 4.

Some people think they know Mr. Depp, but they haven't got a clue. If you don't like him, fine. Nobody ever said you had to. You don't like the pirate movies? Fine too, we all love different things. But stop pretending you know what goes through his mind or why he does what he does. It's so very easy to throw durt. It seems very hard for some to act mature.
He said it's sad news and so it is. Let's leave it at that, shall we?

It is rare that an actor with credibility can speak so openly and candidly about a studio senior executive. Most actors are almost always on the defense to discuss any feelings or conscious realities in the "hollywood" world. Nice job Mr. Depp. Thanks for allowing us, the public, to see into the personal being, the real Dick Cook. Your name association has given us a rare look into who obviously and wholeheartedly still has standards in an industry with rarely any standards. Disney has been a cornerstone for kids and young adults that grew up in the 50's, 60's and 70's. After that time it is debatable what has driven and motivated the house of Disney. Thank you! Jennifer Kaye

I'm quite sure that Mr. Depp is very sad and upset about Mr. Cook's deposed departure. The studio world is a brothel of back stabbers and cracked egg shells everywhere. Not a pretty sight. But one can not forget the bottom line, especially in Hollywood. It all boils down to money, the green eyed beast that swallows whole any real sincerity and real integrity. Yes it is sad now, but once he checks his bank account and counts his many cars, homes, and goes just gaga over his yacht, he will find consolement. Yes people, it's a business, not Little House on the Prarie. Mr. Depp is no idiot, though his sir name in German translates idiot, he is a business man. Rest assure he will be doing the Pirates movie again and again as long as they ask him to. Don't despare!!!!

Johnny doesn't need Disney. He doesn't need to be Jack again. I think he really enjoys it and his kids must. I think he knows how much his fans love Jack and would love to have the chance to see Jack on the high seas again. If things can happen and happen in an incredible way for the film and not just to do it again half a** then I feel it will be made, and hopefully being successful again will make another trilogy !!!!

I do understand how Johnny feels about Mr Cook and if he was not to return to do another Disney Project I understand and will be extremely sad. I hope they don't and aren't stupid enough to go on with Pirates and recast Jack Sparrow. That will be the kiss of the death for the film. franchise and in my eyes the attractions in the parks and all merchandise. I would not support a recasting of Jack. I know ALOT of others wouldn't.

Bt it is to early to tell to early to assume the worst and we shouldn't jump to conclusions.

I hope to see Rango come out, and The Lone Ranger all with Johnny as well.

Alice In Wonderland by Tim Burton is dated for March 5 2010 I can't wait for that !!! Johnny is the Mad Hatter !!!!!!!

I hope to see a continued relationship with Jerry Bruckhiemer, Gore Verbinski, Tim Burton, Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio and Nicolas Cage too. all are good for Disney box off and merhcandise and park attractions too if they would incoporate a National Treasure exhibt, or a Nightmare Before Christams ride and update Alice in Wonderland to the 2010 version as well as more and better merchandise they can see how continuing these relationships are benificial to everyone and Fans want it.

"Originality seems lost in an apparent drug infested Hollywood."

Since when has Hollywood *NOT* been drug-infested???

I suggest you take a good look in the mirror. It seems what has been killing originality is the moviegoers' demands for expensive FX and CGI over good scripts or even acting/directing ability, and the reluctance of Studios to take a chance with hundreds of millions at stake. Why do you think you are seeing so many remakes of old movies?

I love the trilogy, and was thrilled to hear about a 4th. Johnny can do comedy like nobody else. I'm glad he's making a mint on this. I thought they might do a prequel. Or, as AT WORLD'S END hinted, go seeking the Fountain of Youth. There are some very good people in this movie. But no Angus Barnett and Giles New? No MacKenzie and no Lee? Grrrr. BTW, it IS possible to run a studio and be a decent man as Dick Cook is. Johnny is loyal to his friends. There is no dollar amount on that. How insulting to infer there is!

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