I read the other day that Orlando Bloom has decided he won't sign up for the fourth (count 'em) Pirates of the Carribean (I don't know how to spell that), but that Johnny Depp has. So we will be regaled with still more adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow in 2010 or 2011, if any of us are still around.
Hmm. I can't say I'm terrifically excited by that prospect. I loved the first movie; but I was bored to death by the second one. And needless to say when the third one came I stayed at home and probably watched Dead Man again.
All of these big budget Hollywood movies look the same to me anyway. But Johnny Depp had impressed me consistently prior to the first film by choosing movie role after movie role that no mainstream hero would have touched. He'd acted with Brando; he'd associated himself with Jack Kerouac; I think he'd played John Wilmot by that time as well, unless I'm getting my chronology confused. He seemed to be one of us, in other words, a member of the counter-culture (as it can no longer be called with any accuracy) who'd broken through to the mainstream because of his good looks, and was now dedicatedly turning all of its conventions upside down.
And Jack Sparrow, when first seen, was a great comic creation, however predictable everything else in the movie seemed to anyone with a memory longer than a goldfish with learning difficulties. To base a movie hero, and a pirate at that, on Keith Richards was an act of brilliance.
I expected him to use the fame and money he got from the global success of the movie to go onto even bolder things than he'd achieved before it. Instead he did another Pirates. And then another, with as far as I can remember one decent movie in between, though no great role to prove himself as an actor of genuine talent, rather than a gifted and hip mimic. And now we get a fourth Jack Sparrow? The unscrupulous bastards who sell phoney mass-production dreams at huge prices in the Disney stores will be rubbing their hands with glee.
The mistake, of course, was to expect anything from Johnny in the first place. It was our desires, our needs, our fantasies, we were projecting onto him; he was always the man who one day would sell out and become the Steve Martin of the fashionable world. If we want to turn the world on its head we have to do it ourselves, and how many of us have the balls to do that?
Not me, with the well-rehearsed catalogue of deceptions and compromises I take out into the world just to keep a roof over my head.