x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

How to pick a winner, Eisner-style

How Johnny Depp's pirate proved too much for Disney's chief executive.

Captain Jack: no favourite of Disney's.
Captain Jack: no favourite of Disney's.

How to pick a winner, Eisner style

A bombshell has rocked family-friendly movie franchise fans the world over this week. Disney, it has been claimed, did not particularly like Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Breathe in, then out. Sit down if necessary because I'm going to continue.

According to an interview in Vanity Fair, Depp says former Disney CEO Michael Eisner "couldn't stand" his character, said he was "ruining the movie" and even questioned whether he was "some kind of simpleton".

Now, on one hand you could argue that Disney, a company smothered in wholesomeness, might well not be smitten with a character Depp based on Rolling Stone Keith Richards, once described as "mad, bad and dangerous to know".

But then, it's also important to note that Eisner wasn't always terribly good at predicting the next big thing.

The Lord of the Rings? Remember that marginally successful trilogy? Yup, he passed on that one, not thinking it would translate on to film. Then there was a story of a New Jersey mob family, which Eisner reportedly let go. Whoopsi, that went on to become The Sopranos. Apparently his reaction to Lost was it was never going to work. Of course, one could argue that in the long run, he was right on the money there. Eisner is no longer at Disney. Depp is about to unleash his now-quite-tedious slurry pirate routine on the world for a fourth time. To be honest, I'm with Eisner on this one too.