Lovable Disney pirates and murderous mob bosses don’t mix.
That’s a lesson Black Mass director Scott Cooper’s 8-year-old daughter Stella learned the hard way on a family visit to her dad’s set, where she got a very unsettling introduction to Captain Jack Sparrow.
Johnny Depp was dressed in full Whitey Bulger makeup when she spotted him, including those creepy blue contacts, browned teeth, and the thinning hairpiece.
“I looked down, and she’s looking up at Johnny like she was thinking to herself, Hold on. That’s Jack Sparrow. But he doesn’t look like it,” Cooper says alongside Depp in a recent interview with GQ. “And I thought: what a great way to f— your kids up.”
“I remember I had to do the voice for her,” Depp says, while slipping into his Pirates of the Caribbean voice, “so that she recognized me.”
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While hearing Jack Sparrow’s voice coming out of Whitey Bulger’s mouth must’ve been a shock for an 8-year-old, Depp’s ability to slip in and out of character is one of the reasons Cooper cast him in the film.
“Nobody has the range that Johnny has,” Cooper says. “To create Ed Wood and also be in Dead Man and Edward Scissorhands and The Libertine and Sweeney Todd. To play Jack Sparrow and John Dillinger, Hunter S. Thompson and Joe Pistone [in Donnie Brasco] and George Jung [in Blow].
For the role of Bulger, Depp says he tapped into his “old hillbilly rage.” The Kentucky native explains, “That’s not necessarily that far from the surface at times. To the degree that you can control it, have access to it in a split second, that’s what Jimmy Bulger had. I knew that’s what the role required.”