Captain Jack is back.
Johnny Depp sails into theaters this month in one of the most anticipated movies of the summer: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."
The film is the third and final installment in the super successful "Pirates" series. Part two, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," was the biggest movie of 2006, raking in more than a billion dollars worldwide. ABC's Bill Weir sat down with the 43-year-old actor to find out if he'll discover treasure yet again.
When fans last saw Captain Jack Sparrow, the romantically ambiguous pirate laid a rather unambiguous smooch on Keira Knightley -- and was promptly eaten by a giant squid.
"Well you know naturally what happens in life, when you go in the mouth of something, you must come out the other end," Depp said about the ending to part two of "Pirates."
It's fitting symbolism for one of the few actors that has emerged from the Hollywood monster relatively unscathed. Nearly two decades have passed since Depp fled "21 Jump Street," deliberately shunning pinup star status to play some of the most eclectic characters in film, including the title role in "Edward Scissorhands" and Raoul Duke, aka Hunter S. Thompson, in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
Wild Child Turned Doting Dad
But Depp's early years weren't so sophisticated. He dropped out of high school not to act, but to play guitar and sell ballpoint pens over the phone between gigs.
"Oh it was horrific," he said about his stint as a salesman. "You know, 'How do you do? My name is such and such, how are you doing out there? You have just become eligible to receive this trip to Greece.'"
Depp married Lori Anne Allison in 1983 but they were divorced two years later. He then dated a few starlets through the early years and trashed his fair share of hotel rooms. But after settling down with French actress Vanessa Paradis, he mellowed, became a father, and picked up more playful work. He reinvented Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and earned Oscar nominations playing the creator of Peter Pan and a pirate that is equal parts Keith Richards and Pepe le Pew.
As the cornerstone of the multibillion dollar "Pirates" franchise, Depp has spent two years playing out a little boy's fantasy.
"Oh boy, it's so much nicer," he said about acting in a comedy like "Pirates" as opposed to more somber films. "So much better than having to travel to dark places. It's fun to release the trap door and see what everyone's reaction is."
Still, he's drawn to the morbid.
"There's just certain things that arrive in front of you like 'The Libertine' or 'Sweeny Todd' with Tim Burton that you just know there's just no way around it," he said. "You just do it."
Depp said he finds therapy in his work, but nothing is more important than his children. After his 7-year-old daughter came down with a near deadly infection, he shut down filming of "Sweeny Todd" to spend a week at her bedside.
"As any parent would feel it was extremely frightening," he said. "She's doing great, she's doing really well, she's pulled through beautifully, perfectly, thank God."
Depp's son and daughter can't wait to see the third installment of "Pirates." But he said at ages 5 and 7, they're starting to ask questions about his character. Like audiences around the world, they want to know what's going on in Captain Jack's head.
"Funny thing is now my kids, they like Captain Jack and they appreciate Captain Jack [but] they've started to ask questions," he said. "'OK Dad, yeah that was funny but um why would he do that if he knew that was going to happen so on down the line?' I'm finding myself having to explain my character's motivation to my kids."