How Gay Is Pirates of the Caribbean?

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Last week, ABC News pushed along an Advocate cover story that sought to solve an age-old cultural mystery: Is Superman gay?

This week, Newsweek ran a cover story on Pirates of the Caribbean 2 star Johnny Depp — with the contextually-Freudian cover line “The Pirate in Johnny Depp” — in which producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed the studio’s trepidation about Depp’s depiction of Captain Jack before the first Pirates:

Jack Sparrow was initially conceived as a young Burt Lancaster, Depp had re-imagined him as a debauched, vain, slightly fey rock star, inspired by Rolling Stones icon Keith Richards and cartoon skunk Pepe Le Pew. “The studio was, like, ‘Is he gay? Is he drunk? We don’t know what he’s doing!'” says producer Bruckheimer. “It took a little while to calm everybody down.”

Said director John Waters: “It’s the closest part he’s ever played to his real self, but the fact that he played it kind of nelly was a big risk.” Pause. “If only real gay pirates were that much fun.”

Gay or straight, it seems the studio has gotten used to the idea of a floozy pirate. Nikki Finke reports that Disney has registered the trademark for Depp’s Sparrow in an “absurd” number of categories:


Drinking water; energy drinks; flavored waters; fruit juices; fruit-flavored beverages; juice base concentrates; lemonade; punch; non-alcoholic beverages, namely, carbonated beverages; non-alcoholic beverages containing fruit juices; smoothies; sparkling water; sports drinks; syrups for making soft drinks; table water; vegetable juices; bagels; bases for making milkshakes; biscuits; bread; breakfast cereal; preparations made from cereal; bubble gum; cakes; cake mixes; candies; cake decorations made of candy; ketchup; cereal-based snack bars; chewing gum; chocolate; chocolate-based beverages; cocoa-based beverages; cones for ice cream; confectionery; cookies; corn-based snack foods; crackers; deli sandwiches; flavored, sweetened gelatin desserts; frozen confections; frozen meals consisting primarily of pasta or rice; frozen yogurt; honey; ice cream; ice milk; licorice; marshmallows; mayonnaise; muffins; mustard; noodles; oatmeal; pancakes; pancake mixes; pasta; pastries; pancake syrup; pies; pizza; popcorn; pretzels; puddings; rice; rolls; salad dressings; sauces; sherbets; spices; tea; tortillas; waffles; cheese; cheese and cracker combinations; cheese spread; candied fruit; chocolate milk; dairy products excluding ice cream, ice milk and frozen yogurt; dips; dried fruits; drinking yogurts; frozen meals consisting primarily of meat, fish, poultry or vegetables; fruit preserves; fruit-based snack food; jams; jellies; milk beverages with high milk content; meats; nuts; peanut butter; potato chips; potato-based snack foods; powdered milk; raisins; snack mix consisting primarily of processed fruits, processed nuts and/or raisins; soup; soup mixes; yogurt; action skill games; action figures and accessories therefore; board games; card games; children’s multiple activity toys; badminton sets; balloons; basketballs; bath toys; baseballs; beach balls; bean bags; bean bag dolls; board games; building blocks; bowling balls; bubble making wands and solution sets; chess sets; children’s play cosmetics; Christmas stockings; Christmas tree decorations; collectable toy figures; crib mobiles; crib toys; disc toss toys; dolls; doll clothing; doll accessories; doll playsets; electric action toys; equipment sold as a unit for playing card games; fishing tackle; golf balls; golf gloves; golf ball markers; hand held unit for playing electronic games; hockey pucks; inflatable toys; jigsaw puzzles; jump ropes; kites; magic tricks; marbles; manipulative games; mechanical toys; music box toys; musical toys; parlor games; party favors in the nature of small toys; party games; playing cards; plush toys; puppets; roller skates; rubber balls; skateboards; soccer balls; spinning tops; toys; stuffed toys; table tennis tables; target games; teddy bears; tennis balls; toy action figures; toy bucket and shovel sets; toy mobiles; toy vehicles; toy scooters; toy cars; toy model hobbycraft kits; toy figures; toy banks; toy trucks; toy watches; wind-up toys; yo-yos; athletic shoes; bandanas; baseball caps; beach cover-ups; beachwear; belts; bibs; bikinis; blazers; boots; bow ties; bras; caps; chaps; cloth bibs; coats; dresses; ear muffs; footwear; gloves; golf shirts; Halloween costumes; hats; head bands; head wear; hosiery; infantwear; jackets; jeans; jerseys; kerchiefs; leotards; leg warmers; mittens; neckties; night shirts; night gowns; pajamas; pants; panty hose; polo shirts; ponchos; rainwear; robes; sandals; scarves; shirts; shoes; skirts; shorts; slacks; slippers; sleepwear; socks; stockings; sweaters; sweat pants; sweat shirts; swimsuits; tank tops; tights; t-shirts; underwear; vests; wrist bands; afghans; barbecue mitts; bath linen; bath towels; bed blankets; bed canopies; bed linen; bed sheets; bed skirts; bed spreads; blanket throws; calico; children’s blankets; cloth coasters; cloth doilies; cloth flags; cloth pennants; comforters; crib bumpers; curtains; fabric flags; felt pennants; golf towels; hand towels; handkerchiefs; hooded towels; household linen; kitchen towels; oven mitts; pillow cases; pillow covers; pot holders; quilts; receiving blankets; silk blankets; table linen; textile napkins; textile place mats; textile tablecloths; throws; towels; washcloths; woollen blankets; beverageware; beverage glassware; bird houses; bowls; brooms; cake pans; cake molds; cake servers; candle holders not of precious metal; candle snuffers; canteens; ceramic figurines; coasters not of paper and not being table linen; cookie jars; cookie cutters; cork screws; cups; decorating bags for confectioners; decorative crystal prisms; decorative glass; decorative plates; dishes; figurines made of china, crystal, earthenware, glass, or porcelain; flower pots; hair brushes; hair combs; heat-insulated vessels; insulating sleeve holders for beverage containers; lunch boxes; mugs; napkin holders; napkin rings not of precious metals; paper cups; paper plates; pie pans; pie servers; plastic cups; plates; soap dishes; tea kettles; tea sets; thermal insulated containers for food or beverage; toothbrushes; trays; trivets; vacuum bottles; waste baskets; air mattresses for use when camping; bassinets; beds; benches; bookcases; cabinets; chairs; coat racks; computer furniture; computer keyboard trays; cots; couches; decorative glitter; decorative mobiles; desks; drinking straws; engraved and cut stone plaques; figurines and statuettes made of bone, plaster, plastic, wax, or wood; flagpoles; foot stools; furniture; gift package decorations made of plastic; hand fans; hand-held mirrors; jewelry boxes not of metal; key fobs not of metal; lawn furniture; love seats; magazine racks; mattresses; mirrors; non-Christmas ornaments made of bone, plaster, plastic, wax or wood; ottomans; party ornaments of plastic; pedestals; picture frames; pillows; plant stands made of wire and metal; decorative wall plaques; plastic flags; plastic name badges; plastic novelty license plates; plastic pennants; plastic cake decorations; sea shells; sleeping bags; tables; toy chests; umbrella stands; venetian blinds; wind chimes; all purpose sport bags; athletic bags; baby backpacks; backpacks; beach bags; book bags; calling card cases; change purses; coin purses; diaper bags; duffel bags; fanny packs; gym bags; handbags; knapsacks; key cases; leather key chains; lipstick holders; luggage; luggage tags; overnight bags; purses; satchels; shopping bags; tote bags; umbrellas; waist packs; wallets; address books; almanacs; appliqués in the form of decals; appointment books; art prints; arts and craft paint kits; autograph books; baby books; ball point pens; baseball cards; binders; bookends; bookmarks; books; bumper stickers; calendars; cartoon strips; Christmas cards; chalk; children’s activity books; coasters made of paper; coin albums; coloring books; color pencils; comic books; comic strips; coupon books; decals; decorative paper centerpieces; diaries; disposable diapers for babies; drawing rulers; envelopes; erasers; felt pens; flash cards; gift cards; gift wrapping paper; globes; greeting cards; guest books; magazines; maps; memo pads; modeling clay; newsletters; newspapers; note paper; notebooks; notebook paper; paintings; paper flags; paper party favors; paper party hats; paper cake decorations; paper party decorations; paper napkins; paper party bags; paperweights; paper gift wrap bows; paper pennants; paper place mats; paper table cloths; pen or pencil holders; pencils; pencil sharpeners; pen and pencil cases and boxes; pens; periodicals; photograph albums; photographs; photo-engravings; pictorial prints; picture books; portraits; postcards; posters; printed awards; printed certificates; printed invitations; printed menus; recipe books; rubber stamps; score cards; stamp albums; stationery; staplers; stickers; trading cards; ungraduated rulers; writing paper; writing implements; alarm clocks; belt buckles of precious metal (for clothing); bolo ties with precious metal tips; bracelets; busts of precious metal; candle snuffers of precious metal; candlesticks of precious metal; charms; clocks; earrings; jewelry; jewelry cases of precious metal; jewelry chains; key rings of precious metal; lapel pins; letter op
eners of precious metal; neck chains; necklaces; necktie fasteners; non-monetary coins; ornamental pins; pendants; rings; slides for bolo ties; stop watches; tie clips; tie fasteners; tie tacks; wall clocks; watch bands; watch cases; watch chains; watch straps; watches; wedding bands; wristwatches; audio cassette recorders; audio cassette players; audio cassettes; audio discs; audio speakers; binoculars; calculators; camcorders; cameras; CD-ROMs; CD-ROM drives (as part of the computer); CD-ROM writers (as part of the computer); cellular telephones; cellular telephone accessories; cellular telephone cases; face plates for cellular telephones; compact disc players; compact disc recorders; compact discs; computer game programs; computer game cartridges and discs; computers; computer hardware; computer keyboards; computer monitors; computer mouse; computer disc drives; computer software; cordless telephones; decorative magnets; digital cameras; DVDs; DVD players; DVD recorders; digital versatile discs; digital video discs; electronic personal organizers; eyeglass cases; eyeglasses; headphones; karaoke machines; microphones; MP3 players; modems (as part of a computer); mouse pads; motion picture films; pagers; personal stereos; personal digital assistants; printers; radios; sunglasses; telephones; television sets; video cameras; video cassette recorders; video cassette players; video game cartridges; video game discs; video cassettes; videophones; walkie-talkies; wrist and arm rests for use with computers; after-shave lotions; antiperspirants; aromatherapy oils; artificial eyelashes and fingernails; baby oil; baby wipes; bath gels; bath powder; beauty masks; blush; body creams, lotions, and powders; breath freshener; bubble bath; cologne; cosmetics; dentifrices; deodorants; dusting powder; essential oils for personal use; eye liner; eye shadows; eyebrow pencils; face powder; facial creams; facial lotion; facial masks; facial scrubs; fragrance emitting wicks for room fragrance; fragrances for personal use; hair gel; hair conditioners; hair shampoo; hair mousse; hair creams; hair spray; hand cream; hand lotions; hand soaps; lip balm; lipstick; lipstick holders; lip gloss; liquid soaps; makeup; mascara; mouthwash; nail care preparations; nail glitter; nail hardeners; nail polish; perfume; potpourri; room fragrances; shaving cream; skin soap; talcum powders; toilet water; skin creams; skin moisturizer; sun block; sun screen.

What did they miss? Let us know, and we’ll politely pass the note on to Disney’s lawyers.

A Pirate’s Life [Newsweek]

EARLIER: How Gay Is Superman? Nightline Investigates