Johnny Depp, fresh off his victorious defamation trial against Amber Heard, is reportedly in talks with Disney to return to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise after he was jettisoned back in 2018.
An “industry insider” told Poptopic that the 59-year-old Depp is being courted by Disney with a “$301 million deal” to let bygones be bygones, and come back to reprise his iconic role as the flighty pirate Jack Sparrow. Depp created the idiosyncratic character through five Pirates movies over the course of fifteen years, his final appearance being in 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales.
But it seems that Disney is once again interested in the actor after his reputation received a boost from his successful defamation suit against his former wife, the actress and onetime model Amber Heard.
“Disney are [sic] very interested in patching up their relationship with Johnny Depp,” the insider told the entertainment outlet. “They reached out to the actor prior to his defamation trial against Amber Heard and asked whether he would be interested in returning for another Pirates film or two.”
“I know corporate sent him a gift basket with a very heartfelt letter,” the source added, “but I’m unsure how it was received. But what I can tell you is that the studio has already penned up a draft for a film about Jack Sparrow—so they are very hopeful that Johnny will forgive them and return as his iconic character.”
Fortunately for Disney, it wasn’t hard to estimate the actor’s asking price. At one point in the trial, Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft showed a pre-recorded video in which she had deposed a Disney executive. During the deposition, Bredehoft asked the executive “is Disney aware that Mr. Depp has testified under oath that he would not take another Pirates of the Caribbean franchise role for $300 million and a million alpacas?”
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 19, 2022
Apparently, that’s all the entertainment giant needed to know.
“Disney are prepping a deal for USD $301 million deal that will include a sizable donation to a charity of Depp’s choice. The deal is reportedly for Johnny Depp to return as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 and a spin-off Disney Plus series about the early life of the Captain of the Black Pearl.” No word on the alpacas.
So although Disney and Depp seemed to have parted ways, it’s apparently nothing that a few hundred million dollars can’t repair. One of Depp’s major claims in his defamation lawsuit was that Heard’s thinly-veiled allegations in her Washington Post op-ed in 2018 had derailed his career and caused him to lose his lucrative role in the Pirates franchise. He reportedly felt as though Disney executives had treated him as if he was “guilty until proven innocent.”
Depp is apparently set to star as Gomez Addams in an upcoming film adaptation of The Addams Family, with his old friend Tim Burton directing. But it’s probably extremely gratifying for the actor to know that he’s back in Hollywood’s good graces and that he’s being courted by a major studio.
Maybe he can start to rebuild, at nearly 60 years old, the $650-million fortune he lost, plus the $100 million in back taxes he reportedly owes.
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