I’ve been tellin’ ya, and tellin’ ya, since June 7th that Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is gonna be HUGE. Yet both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times are asleep at the pirate ship’s wheel about this. But not Newsweek, which put the July 7th opening movie’s star Johnny Depp on its cover this coming week. “Judging from Newseek‘s first look in the editing room, it promises to be a welcome blast of sunshine in a season when Cruise has crashed and burned, and The Da Vinci Code has proved to be a joyless blockbuster.” Sequel Dead Man’s Chest has more action and more playtime for Depp. Which leads to yet another discussion of whether Johnny was paid to gay. (Sheesh, this homophobic summer, one movie character is said to be gayer than the next… which actually prompted Bryan Singer to deny his Superman was directed to be gay) The mag notes what is well known to Pirates fans: studio executives were nonplussed when they began to see the footage of Depp in character. Whereas Capt. 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 Pepé Le Pew. “The studio was, like, ‘Is he gay? Is he drunk? We don’t know what he’s doing!'” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “It took a little while to calm everybody down.” It was Depp’s desire to make a movie for his kids that led him to Pirates. In a visit to the Disney lot about five years ago, he mentioned to studio chairman Dick Cook that he’d been watching a lot of Disney movies with his daughter and was hoping to voice a character in a Pixar movie. Cook mentioned that the studio was developing a movie based on its theme-park ride “Pirates of the Caribbean.” “And he got very excited,” Cook recalls. “He said, ‘Like a real pirate movie? With swords?’ And I said, ‘Yeah—with swords.’ And he said, ‘I’m in’.”