What Makes Captain Jack Sparrow Such an Iconic Character?

Artur Furmanek/Getty Images
Artur Furmanek/Getty Images

What makes Captain Jack Sparrow such an interesting and beloved character? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Jerry Bruckheimer, Producer of Film and TV, on Quora:

Captain Jack Sparrow is what the genius of Johnny Depp has made him to be. He is one of the most original, inventive, unexpected, unpredictable and delightful characters in movie history, and that is attributable to Johnny’s determination not to take the roads most traveled. I think we all might in the end either see some of ourselves in Captain Jack, or wish that we could. 

He’s entirely self-serving, but can surprisingly come through heroically in a pinch. He pretends not to care about anyone or anything except himself, but when push comes to shove, Captain Jack does have a heart after all. And most of all, he loves and cherishes his freedom, sailing the seas on his greatest love of all, the Black Pearl. 

Because Captain Jack is now such an iconic character, it may be difficult to recall just how shocking a sight he was back in 2003 when the first film was released, with his dreadlocks, assortment of weird items dangling from hair and belt, kohl-rimmed eyes, ringed fingers and metallic teeth; not to mention a walk and manner of speaking best described as eccentric. The truth is that some at Disney panicked when they first saw the dailies for “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” and it took some persuasion to get them to calm down, and just wait … that they would see something the likes of which they couldn’t possibly imagine. 

He was a movie anti-hero the likes of like no one had ever seen, and that, in addition to Johnny’s massive dramatic and comedic abilities, rivaling the great silent movie comics he so admires, created something new, fresh and exciting. A character like this comes around, I would say, every 30 years or so, and I’m so thrilled that our faith in Johnny and Captain Jack has been so wonderfully rewarded by film goers around the world. He is an international phenomenon.

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