Prior to starring in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl back in 2003, nobody had ever pegged Johnny Depp as an A-list movie star. He was certainly a big name who had the respect of both his peers and audiences around the world, but he was rarely on the radar when it came to casting major roles in big budget blockbusters.
Even when he was shooting his first outing as Jack Sparrow, there was a mixture of confusion and fear from the Disney hierarchy about how he was pitching his performance, but once the box office numbers came in and the eccentric swashbuckler became an instant pop culture icon, the actor’s Academy Award nominated approach had been completely vindicated.
From there, he soon became the highest-paid talent in Hollywood, going home with fat paychecks even when the projects turned out to be colossal duds. He picked up $15 million for The Rum Diary, $20 million for The Lone Ranger and Transcendence, and a further $15 million for Mortdecai, all of which bombed hard at the box office and were panned by critics.
Now that his career appears to be in real danger of slipping away from him, the 57 year-old may never see those kind of paydays ever again, with insider Daniel Richtman claiming that he’s currently speaking to various smaller studios about projects that aren’t quite as large in scale as what he’s used to. While hardly a revelation, it’s nonetheless the ideal way to rehabilitate a fading reputation, not to mention that’s how he rose to prominence in the first place over three decades ago.
Furthermore, Johnny Depp‘s legion of fans would no doubt be more than happy to see him return to the status of independent cinema’s bohemian golden boy that he occupied in the 1990s, and it would at least keep the money coming in for the foreseeable future.