| [Photo: Walt Disney Pictures]
Johnny Depp based his character in Pirates of the Caribbean on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
Even my married friends admit they are looking for the same old thing: excitement, allure, romance. Not necessarily away from their husbands, you understand, but as a friend of mine said recently after a night of dancing with her long-time mate (whom she adores, I might add), "I'd rather dance with a stranger." Ah, the tragic result of too many years of, er, marital bliss.
Because while we women say, and maybe even think, we want security, comfort and predictability provided by a steady man, a message drilled into our heads by our mothers since we were girls, what we really want is something else entirely, isn't it?
Which probably explains my reaction to the versatile and delicious Johnny Depp in the latest Disney flick, Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp's character, Captain Jack Sparrow, is the quintessential rogue. Easy on the eyes, the black-eyed Depp, sporting all of the traditional pirate wear save the eye patch (though he does have a braided beard), is devastatingly handsome. OK, the producers gave him an odd swagger and a big drinking problem, but that's just so we women would find it believable that he doesn't get the girl in the end. But even with his strange mannerisms, it's virtually impossible to fathom the heroine doesn't run passionately into Sparrow's arms and finally succumb to his charms.
Instead, she runs off with cobbler Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, whom I really liked in The Lord of the Rings, but in this flick he pales in comparison to the exotic Depp. Bloom just doesn't have a chance. Let's face it -- in real life, he could never beat out Depp, at least not with the women I know. I mean really, it's such a stretch Depp's character can't get the girl (even for a night) that I quickly concluded this is a movie produced by men (I subsequently found out it was). No female could possibly be involved in this flick and let this happen. "Not plausible" she would say. "Women won't buy the ending." No woman in her right mind, that is. OK, maybe not in her right mind, but what does being in your right mind have to do with it? No woman with a beating heart could resist this rogue.
By the way, Depp says he sees rock stars as today's version of pirates, and admits he based his pirate character on none other than Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I don't see the comparison, but that's because I can't get past poor Keith's well-travelled face. I'd rather my pirates look like Johnny Depp.
And I'm not alone. Walking out after the movie, and I've already seen it 2 1/2 times (I couldn't persuade the kids to stay for the end of the third viewing), the remarks coming from younger and older women alike were remarkable. "Oh those eyes," sighed one. "Johnny Depp is gorgeous," swooned another. "So what, he's wearing mascara," rationalized a third, already finding excuses for the bad boy. "It suits him." Not one woman was heard to say, "He's so funny, he's silly, he's hilarious," even though that's what the producers were obviously trying to accomplish. Maybe he was all of those things -- it's just that most women won't really notice.
So solely because of his pirate performance, I'm proclaiming Johnny Depp Hollywood's leading bad boy. After all, who can compete? Brad Pitt is too tame, Harrison Ford is too old and Pierce Brosnan? Well, he's just too darn nice. Orlando Bloom? Not a chance.
What women really want is a true-blue, living and breathing pirate. Even Depp's wife, French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis. During a recent guest appearance on David Letterman, Depp was still sporting his gold teeth, claiming he didn't have time to get them removed when he left Hollywood after the movie. Oh sure. Who's he kidding? We know the truth. He loves being a pirate and his wife loves him being a pirate too.