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Johnny Depp  ('Pirates of the Caribbean') Johnny Depp ('Pirates of the Caribbean')
'Ladies & Gentlemen: Johnny Richards'

Johnny Depp has come a long way from '21 Jump Street' - the TV show which lumbered him with "teen idol" status. Since then he's worked with director Tim Burton on numerous occasions - their most recent collaboration being 'Sleepy Hollow'. Depp has also worked with oddball helmer Terry Gilliam for 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', and famously dragged it up for 'Ed Wood'. It's all helped mould his quirky persona, as well as earning him a reputation as one of America's finest young character actors. While still demonstrating that offbeat air, swashbuckling adventure 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' is perhaps his most 'mainstream' film to date!

Chatting one-on-one with the charismatic actor, it's his desire to still wear his capped gold teeth even after the film has wrapped is my first line of questioning. "Well, there's a little gold and a little platinum. It didn't go over very well with the Disney executives actually. Initially, they were a little freaked out about it! But, I got what I wanted in the end. I kinda always do!"

Is it true you based your character on Rolling Stones' Keith Richards?! "Yeah, I thought of Keith because he's a guy I've admired for many, many years. I didn't want to do an imitation of Keith, or a character study, just a kind of salute to him, you know, to show him I appreciate him. I was thinking about the pirates of the 18th century, about how they were the rocks stars of their day. So I thought: Who's the greatest rock and roll star who ever lived? And to me, it's Keith Richards hands down. Keith is a bit of a pirate himself!"

What was it like to have Geoffrey Rush play your nemesis? "He was great fun. It's always a worry when you go into a film and you don't know someone. You worry that he won't have a sense of humour, that he'll be really intense about his work. But Geoffrey's nuts! He has a great sense of humour!"

There's obviously a lot of swordplay in the movie. How tough was that to learn? "That was very intense, actually. Probably the most intense part of pre-production and the production itself was the sword fighting. We had these fantastic sword masters who took us through our moves and forced us to work. Which was a good thing, because losing a finger or losing an eye was always a possibility."

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

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