Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean" isn't really what anybody apart from Depp had in mind for the character.
"I think in their minds they had a sort of Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster type," Depp said.
Shock soon turned to glee. The director and studio bosses took a chance on Depp's bizarre creation.
Now he's back, playing Jack Sparrow again in the second "Pirates" movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
Depp said that he had to rein himself in when returning to the character.
"At times, yeah, at times you definitely had to control yourself," he said.
Sometimes he goes into character off the set.
"There are moments when he [Jack Sparrow] shows up. My kids are sort of like, 'Oh, Dad,'" Depp said. "You know one of those things when you're like, 'Don't become Jack Sparrow.'"
Then there's the pirate teeth that his family barely notices anymore.
"I've had them for years now so there'll all just like. … Whatever."
This role might have overwhelmed a lesser actor and made him known forevermore as Jack Sparrow. When you've played Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka and Ed Wood, as Depp has, that's not likely.
"Although there is the off chance that I'll end up at fast-food chains doing personal appearances," Depp said, "or golf tournaments as Jack Sparrow. Things like that."
Depp said that the way he played his character was partly based on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who is said to be appearing in the third "Pirates" movie, which Depp is in the middle of filming.
"It's not an impression of Keith," Depp said. "It's more the essence of Keith. What he represents for me. … A sort of confidence that he has that is very unique."
Depp's family -- partner Vanessa Paradis and their two kids -- splits its time between rural France and Los Angeles.
Recently, it's been more Los Angeles than France, he says, and while the kids speak good French, they also speak good English -- without a French accent.
"So it's worked out well," Depp said. "When I was on location in the Caribbean, the Bahamas and whatnot, I would just fly back on weekends."
When Depp was young, he was a musician who acted for cash, appearing on shows such as "21 Jump Street." He says the acting has grown on him.
"It's a process that I enjoy more and more," he said.
If he couldn't act anymore, though, Depp said he'd just go and do something else.
"Yeah, I mean, I've done many things," Depp said. "I've pumped gas. I've done construction. I've printed T-shirts. Yeah, there's other things I can do."
Before the London premiere of the second "Pirates" movie, Depp spent an hour shaking hands and signing autographs.
"Without those people there wouldn't be a 'Pirates 2' or a 'Pirates 3,'" Depp said of the fans. "So, they are my boss. They're my employers."
The third "Pirates" movie is scheduled for release next summer. Will that be it for Captain Jack?
"I don't know," Depp said. "You never know, man. I mean selfishly as an actor, I just think I could continue on, because he's just so much fun to play."
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is produced by Walt Disney Pictures, a division of The Walt Disney Company, which is also the parent company of ABC News.
ABC News' Nick Watt reported this story for "Good Morning America."