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Who is Captain Jack Sparrow?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2014
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Captain Jack Sparrow is the main character in a series of Disney movies known as The Pirates of the Caribbean. The trilogy consists of The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man's Chest (2006), and At World's End(2007). The films are partly based on the Disney ride of the same name, which has been a classic since the beginnings of the park.

Captain Jack Sparrow is portrayed by Johnny Depp, who received an Oscar nomination and much critical acclaim for his performance. Depp became the first actor ever to be nominated for a Disney movie, and one of the few to earn a nomination for a comedy. Depp has said he was inspired by Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards when creating the persona of Captain Jack Sparrow, and that he imagined pirates to be the equivalent of rock stars. This is a long way from the image the director had when he casted Depp as the lead character: he expected something more similar to Errol Flynn, with some parody thrown in for comedy. Johnny Depp completely took over the character, resulting in the Captain Jack Sparrow that we now know.

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Captain Jack Sparrow is said to have been born in British Colonial India, and worked for several years for trading companies and merchant vessels. He became a pirate by force rather than choice when he set free a group of slaves and was branded a traitor by Cutler Beckett, a rich aristocrat that occasionally hired Jack Sparrow for odd jobs. Captain Jack Sparrow eventually came to command The Black Pearl, the vessel he uses for his travels and adventures. A curse imposed on Sparrow's mutinous crew turned them into the living dead, a fact that is only revealed at the end of the first film.

Captain Jack Sparrow wears a slightly dramatized version of a real pirate’s clothing. Colors and materials vary slightly from film to film, but only trained eyes would be able to spot the differences. Jack Sparrow wears his hair in dreadlocks, has a goatee, and wears several pieces of jewelry, including four rings, two belts with numerous trinkets, and pieces of animal/human bone around the neck and waist. Captain Jack Sparrow also owns a compass that, rather than pointing north, points to the holder’s most wanted possession or desire. The compass was a pivotal point in the first movie, as it helped the characters locate the treasure that revealed Jack Sparrow’s true identity.

Captain Jack Sparrow's most notable characteristic is his swaggering walk, which has often been described as slightly drunken. His speech is slurred and he seems to be in a constant state of disorientation and confusion, which one could attribute to his fondness for rum but it’s more than likely part of his extravagant persona.

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