Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp called in ‘a favour’ to get Beatles star cameo

Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp called in ‘a favour’ to get Beatles star cameo

Johnny Depp discusses Pirates of the Caribbean in 2017

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During the scripting and pre-production of Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Jack Sparrow star Johnny Depp wanted to bring someone special on board. In the second film, Dead Man’s Chest, Jack’s father, Teague Sparrow, was introduced. Teague was played by rocker Keith Richards – the inspiration behind Sparrow’s iconic mannerisms. Depp wanted to extend this family of rockers, so he contacted a member of The Beatles.

Jerry Bruckheimer, director and executive producer of the Pirates franchise, explained during a behind-the-scenes feature: “So we needed another rocker and on top of our list was Paul McCartney.

“And Johnny said: ‘Well, I have his number.’ Of course Johnny has Paul McCartney’s number. So he started texting him. And it went back and forth. And then [Paul] said yes. So we were super happy.”

Bruckheimer praised the star, saying: “Paul McCartney is an icon. One of the world’s greatest songwriters, musicians alive. We’re very fortunate that he’s friends with Johnny.”

He then revealed how the collaboration came about, adding: “Johnny has done favours for him and he’s returned a favour for Johnny by being in this movie.”

McCartney had a small cameo in the beginning of the film, which showed him locked up in prison at the same time as his nephew, Jack Sparrow.

His character was also named Jack Sparrow and was revealed to be the namesake for Depp’s character.

The 78-year-old spoke on set about getting involved with the film: “I’ve known Johnny a while and I’ve always admired him as Jack Sparrow.

“He said: ‘I’d love you to be in the next one!’ I said: ‘What, me a pirate?’ And he said: ‘Yeah, you can do it, we’ll have a lot of fun!’ So he roped me in.”


McCartney added: “I’m loving it. I mean, it’s great, John has done me a lot of favours in the past so this is my way of repaying.”

The British star found some real-life inspiration for his character which he used as a basis for his brief appearance in the movie.

He said: “I started telling [Depp] about my Liverpool relatives, and I centred on this uncle Jack of mine.

“So he said: ‘Yeah, channel uncle Jack.’ I said he always used to tell jokes, he was the family joke teller, and last night before filming we had a meeting, had a bit to eat, a bit of wine, and kicked it around. Johnny came up with a load of ideas and I spun off it. “

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McCartney said Depp went away the same night and typed up the entire exchange between Jack Sparrow and his uncle, adding he was “very impressed” by how quickly he wrote it.

Directors of the film, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, later revealed they weren’t 100 percent happy with how McCartney’s look turned out, however.

After the first costume fitting, they revealed Macca didn’t look enough like himself while in character.

Rønning said: “There he is. And he’s unrecognisable. I got nervous because no one is going to see it in a way. It felt like we had gone too far.”

Rønning added: “It was still great. But he became too much a pirate. We had to tone it down a little bit and dig out his own features.”

Despite how different he looked physically, the directors were happy for McCartney to keep his Liverpudlian accent.

They said: “We were happy with that, it was part of recognising him.”

The Pirates of the Caribbean films are available on Disney Plus now.

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