Depp pretty much wrote the book on pirate eccentricity when he created the lead character for Disney’s blockbuster movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
In the annals of television pirates, Depp sets the standard. And it’s a lengthy one. The first pirate film, “A Pirate’s Gold,” was helmed by legendary director D. W. Griffith at the birth of moving pictures back in 1908.
Douglas Fairbanks was the first romantic pirate anti-hero in the 1926 film “The Black Pirate.” He’s marooned on a desert island with his dying father after pirates lay ruin to their ship. He vows vengeance and becomes a pirate himself.
Errol Flynn set the standard for high-seas movie pirates in the 1935 film “Captain Blood,” with Olivia de Havilland. Just about every leading man from Clark Gable to Tyrone Power played a pirate back in the day.
In fact, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” was a spoof of old pirate movies.
They soared in popularity during the 1940s and were made almost annually all the way through the 1960s. In all, more than 50 pirate movies hit the big screen during that time, with the majority filmed in the 1950s.
The story of Peter Pan and Capt. Hook is just as old. It was first produced as a play in 1904 and has been reprised almost every decade since, either in theater or the movies.
Walken’s Hook was even a more eccentric take on a character that has always loomed in cartoonish proportions. He was described as everything from very fey to louche. He “waltzed, tangoed, tarantellaed and, bless him, tapped his way into our hearts like the trouper,” according to Deadline.com.
He clearly borrowed from Depp’s swarthy character. The actor said he was inspired by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. A Disney executive once asked if the character was gay. Depp replied that all his characters are gay.
While Depp may win in the looks and swagger department, no pirate has ever danced or sashayed quite like Walken’s Capt. Hook.
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