In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Johnny Depp, who credits Cook as being a major supporter of his Jack Sparrow creation on set when other producers weren't happy with what the actor was doing, explained, "(Cook) said, 'We're thinking about doing this Pirates of the Caribbean movie,' I said I was in. This was before there was a script or anything. He's instantly trustworthy. And you generally don't meet people at the studios you trust. When things went a little sideways on the first 'Pirates' movie and others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me." Now, with Cook gone, Depp said about a Fourth film, "There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment."
Here is the official statement from both Walt Disney Chairman Richard Cook and Walt Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger:
STATEMENT FROM RICHARD W. COOK, CHAIRMAN, THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
I am stepping down from my role as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately.
I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney...from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland's steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible. But what I will say is, during my time at the Studio, we have achieved many industry and Company milestones. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the Studio in their exceptional hands.
I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it's the right time for me to move on to new adventures...and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
STATEMENT FROM ROBERT A. IGER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
"Throughout his distinguished 38-year Disney career, Dick Cook's outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney's great legacy," said Disney CEO Bob Iger. "We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the future has to offer."
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was released May 20th, 2011 and stars Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally, Sam Claflin, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Stephen Graham. The film is directed by Rob Marshall.