Could Disney studio chairman's exit leave future of Pirates 4 in doubt?

Dick Cook-Johnny DeppIt’s been a strange September for the folks who work at the Walt Disney Studios.

Just two weekends ago, chairman Dick Cook was riding high on the waves of fan and industry approval as he and Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp in full costume with part of a pirate ship in the background) announced the title of the fourth film in the Pirates of the Carribbean franchise at D23, the first fan convention sponsored by the Walt Disney Company.

Last Friday, the studio announced Cook’s departure in a press release that seemed to take everyone by surprise… everyone who doesn’t talk to Cook on a regular basis, that is.

In his Variety article, writer Marc Graser painted a paradoxical picture:

Officially, Cook and Disney sold the move as the end of a long run.

“To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible,” Cook said. “Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the studio in their exceptional hands.”

Behind the scenes, however, Cook told colleagues a different story. During a meeting with staffers, Cook declared that change is coming at the studio and that he isn’t part of that future. He called himself a “square peg in a round hole.”

More troubling to fans who are awaiting the fourth Pirates film is the idea that Cook’s departure could have an impact on Depp’s commitment to the project as Cook was instrumental in getting him on board to do the film. From a reaction piece in the L.A. Times’ entertainment blog:

Depp said one of the reasons he committed to the movie was because he trusted Cook.

“He’s instantly trustworthy. And you generally don’t meet people at the studios you trust,” Depp said. “He’s a rare beast.”

Depp said Cook’s true character was evident right from the get-go. “When things went a little sideways on the first Pirates movie and others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me,” said Depp, referring to his controversial choices to fill his mouth with gold fillings and wear “things tied into my hair” that made him resemble Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as much as he did a pirate.

While some of the Disney executives were “opposed to my body language,” Cook “was completely supportive of me,” Depp said.

As for the fourth planned Pirates movie, Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.

“There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Depp said. “It was all born in that office.”

Let’s hope that October brings better news from the Disney Studios.

Related Posts: Quick Cuts: D23 spills beans on Pirates, Guillermo del Toro, and more

Posted on September 20, 2009 at 22:10 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

6 Responses

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  1. Written by gmcalpin
    on 2009-09-21 at 00:38
    Permalink

    Worse things could happen than not getting a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean. :)

  2. Written by arkonbey
    on 2009-09-21 at 13:51
    Permalink

    yeah, like actually getting a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean (insert rim-shot)

  3. Written by genevievelopez
    on 2009-09-24 at 11:38
    Permalink

    4 is a lot of movies. But I may be the only person online who genuinely enjoyed all 1-3.

    I was not-so-secretly hoping after the “hints” dropped at the end of PotC3 that there would be some events in St. Augustine (Fountain of Youth, Ponce de León, etc.) and some CRAZY SPANIARDS, because I live near there, and WHO DOESN'T LOVE SOME CRAZY SPANISH EXPLORERS?

  4. Written by gmcalpin
    on 2009-09-24 at 11:42
    Permalink

    If #4 happens and it is indeed based on the book of the same name as it's announced sub-title (“On Stranger Tides”), the Fountain of Youth will figure into it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Tides-Tim-Powers

  5. Written by genevievelopez
    on 2009-09-24 at 15:38
    Permalink

    4 is a lot of movies. But I may be the only person online who genuinely enjoyed all 1-3.

    I was not-so-secretly hoping after the “hints” dropped at the end of PotC3 that there would be some events in St. Augustine (Fountain of Youth, Ponce de León, etc.) and some CRAZY SPANIARDS, because I live near there, and WHO DOESN'T LOVE SOME CRAZY SPANISH EXPLORERS?

  6. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2009-09-24 at 15:42
    Permalink

    If #4 happens and it is indeed based on the book of the same name as it's announced sub-title (“On Stranger Tides”), the Fountain of Youth will figure into it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Tides-Tim-Powers

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