Why Johnny Depp changed his mind about Pirates 4

Wow, that Dick Cook, former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, must be one persuasive guy. Johnny Depp, who had committed to play Captain Jack Sparrow for a fourth time back while Cook was still top dog at Disney, told the press that his enthusiasm for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had waned once Cook resigned.

But now Depp is fully committed again as the film gears up for production this summer. Why? Was it something the new chairman, Richard Ross, told him that restored his confidence? Nope. Depp revealed it was a conversation he had with Cook after his resignation that turned things around.

"One thing that I found very reassuring was a very good conversation with Dick Cook, who is someone I admire greatly," Depp said on Feb. 20 in Hollywood. "So, yeah, that helped a lot. He was a perfect gentleman about the entire situation."

If you want to know more about what Cook told Depp ... tough. Further details about their conversation remain private, but Depp also remembered that the new Pirates was more than just another sequel. "Also, knowing that we're coming at it from a different angle at this point, with Rob Marshall and a totally new take, it's a new story," Depp said.

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom will not return to the franchise. That leaves more room for Captain Jack to take the spotlight, as if he wouldn't anyway. However, Depp said On Stranger Tides is still an ensemble.

"I don't think we'd ever throw too much Jack Sparrow in there," Depp said. "There will be a little bit of everybody."

Pirates 4 will film after Depp wraps The Tourist, which is about to begin filming. He is also attached to play Barnabas Collins, the vampire in Dark Shadows. Frequent collaborator Tim Burton is gearing up a Dark Shadows film, which Depp also plans to film before the end of 2010.

"I see it going this year," Depp said. "I hope it does. I do, yeah. We'll work like dogs to get there."

Depp stars in Burton's Alice in Wonderland, opening March 5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is due out in the summer of 2011.

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