Chairman Dick Cook Departs from Disney... Johnny Depp Off 'Pirates 4'?

The loss of the enigmatic chairman throws 'Pirates of the Caribean 4' into peril.

Dick Cook Resigns from Disney
Dick Cook Resigns from Disney
Enigmatic Walt Disney Studios Chairmen Dick Cook was fired from the company after thirty-eight years of service late Friday evening. The move has shaken things up in Hollywood, and could even see the dissolution of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

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.



Sources: Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood Daily

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Comments (32)

  1. LankStun

    No Depp, No Movie

    5 years agoby @lankstunFlag

  2. slysnide

    figures. sellout. f*ck the money, if you get fired i'd scream it to the media, as it'd just make Iger look bad, which he'd need to if he hadn't any faith in JD's performance as JS before POTC1 hit theaters. after all, cook's faith in the portrayal made them over 2 billion, 700 million dollars.

    5 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  3. Writer220

    He was paid off, since some of the head brass didn't like his ideas.

    5 years agoby @writer220Flag

  4. slysnide

    Wait a minute! Back up! Getting fired and stepping down are 2 TOTALLY different things, so what the hek's the deal here? It sounds like he was paidoff to sugarcoat his departure.

    5 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  5. 21lostboy

    Without Johnny Depp this movie will suck and it will be the last movie.

    5 years agoby @21lostboyFlag

  6. penguin_9026

    Who wants to bet that they recast or write off Depp's Sparrow and they also release it in 3D?

    5 years agoby @penguin-9026Flag

  7. twilite_sea

    No Depp, no POTC, and Disney gets no $$$ from me - nice job, Iger, CNN will do stories on you one day on how you SANK Disney, savvy? The market for "superhero" teenage boy films is getting saturated, and you've managed to alienate many in the film business as well.

    5 years agoby @twilite-seaFlag

  8. Writer220

    The fourth outing was to introduce Jack's brother as well.One of the main reasons to continue a franchise without Depp at the wheel, but at the moment we'll have to wait and see.
    Depp is wounded at the shock at the moment, personally I would do the same thing if I were in his shoes. I'll give him a month or so to calm down, then see what happens next.

    5 years agoby @writer220Flag

  9. Chad Vital

    If he's not on board though, there's literally no point.

    5 years agoby @chad-vitalFlag

  10. Chad Vital

    iatehisliver, that was a bad example lol. The difference being that everyone seems to love Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp whereas not everyone likes Tobey Mcquire. This is truth.

    5 years agoby @chad-vitalFlag

  11. HorrorHound

    It won't be worth seeing without Depp !!

    5 years agoby @donnieFlag

  12. penguin_9026

    The rumor going around is that he was fired for some reason involving the buying of Marvel.

    5 years agoby @penguin-9026Flag

  13. Diaigma

    icemayer's been spamming for over a week. WHY IS HE STILL HERE? :P

    5 years agoby @diaigmaFlag

  14. Writer220

    Disney is a joke. They may have some good films but that's all. I thought the Lone Ranger wasn't part of Disney.
    What Johnny should do is finish the fourth outing, and never do a Disney film ever again.

    5 years agoby @writer220Flag

  15. Drewski37

    another big disney mistake....i wonder if this is gonna effect the marvel entertainment buy out.....

    5 years agoby @drewski37Flag

  16. GK

    BULLSH*T.

    5 years agoby @indianajonesFlag

  17. Cripple

    Yeah, pirates without depp isn't worth seeing

    5 years agoby @crippleFlag

  18. Diaigma

    Whether he's fired or resigned, a smart man knows when things are about to go down. Good job, Cook. Your insight is deadly. :P

    5 years agoby @diaigmaFlag

  19. Structure (ONSTRA)

    NOOOOOOO.. come on.. i was so excited becuz of it.... D: i hope it will work out.. bacuz without depp.. pirates of the caribbean goes flat.

    5 years agoby @gaj1992Flag

  20. penguin_9026

    Nobody just resigns out of nowhere. The word going around is that Disney fired him. Depp is the only reason pirates was successful. Nobody cares about Bloom or Knightley which is why everyone is happy about the next installment. I respect the opinions about Depp's Sparrow going out with a bang but if Depp wants to get back he shouldnt do this film. Disney, in my opinion, doesnt have the balls to do this character with somebody else in the role. Depp should also drop out of the Lone Ranger. Thats the biggest up yours that Depp can do to get back at Disney.

    5 years agoby @penguin-9026Flag

  21. the Narrator

    I am with Vanboy's last comment. Depp needs to ride his character (Sparrow) out with a bang, and a big one. One that the whole world can here. He is still my second favorite actor, and therefore, I have faith in him to honor the fans, but to also honor his friend and mentor by telling Disney "F*ck you!" then doing it in his way.

    Hell, who knows it may be time for him to actually direct a movie, and what better time than this one? He surely has been in the industry long enough.

    5 years agoby @narratorFlag

  22. Vanboy

    Raoul Duke, I agree. Let's hope Sparrow doesn't have to ride out on that donkey, "At Worlds End".

    5 years agoby @vanboyFlag

  23. Raoul Duke

    It doesn't sound like he was fired. It looks like he left on his own.

    I can't see a Pirates movie without Depp. This franchise is dead if Depps over it.

    5 years agoby @raoulduke33Flag

  24. Vanboy

    iatehisliver, I think you mean Pirates without Depp. Depp doesn't need Pirates.

    And the role of Spiderman can be recast without Maguire, just like Michael Keaton being replaced in Batman. Although it took two movies in between to get back on track, you get the point. It was long rumored and almost happened, that Jake Gyllenhaal
    would replace Toby, when Toby broke his leg, making Sea Biscuit.

    But we'll see. Hopefully Depp respects his fan base enough to make this a stand alone no holds barred final flick for us.

    5 years agoby @vanboyFlag

  25. Vanboy

    This reminds me of the scene in TRON, where Ed Dillinger says to Dr. Walter Gibbs, that the company isn't the one that he build in his garage anymore, to which the Dr. says, "I wish I was back in my garage, to which Dillinger says, "That can be arranged Walter".

    I see this as the Dr. getting pissed after his long years of service, and Dillinger the CEO releasing that statement.

    Well, it's as it always is. Piss on the fans just because these guys want to measure who's "Dick" is bigger!

    Hopefully Depp uses his star power and tells Mr. Iger to screw himself and make the movie the way Cook would like it to be made.

    There will be bad blood. If four gets made, don't look forward to a five, unless the head rolls of the egomaniac responsible for Cooks departure.

    Sounds like another Michael Eisner.

    5 years agoby @vanboyFlag

  26. iatehisliver

    johnny deep without pirates no thats not good theres no point to it its like making a spider-man movie without spider-man or toby maguire in it

    5 years agoby @iatehisliverFlag

  27. kingbrady

    if he was fired, this might not sit well for Johnny Depp possibly boycotting Pirates 4 movie from taking place based on the first few sentences of this article....however Johnny Depp is a great actor, so if he says no because Disney fired him then he doing it out of spite not because of the movies direction

    5 years agoby @kingbradyFlag

  28. penguin_9026

    Cook was fired. He didnt resign.

    5 years agoby @penguin-9026Flag

  29. Vamp

    I quite agree. This does suck. I really hope Johnny stays on for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," though because if there's no Jack Sparrow, then a fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean," in my eyes at least, will most likely fail. Please stay with the film, Johnny!

    5 years agoby @vampire2000Flag

  30. -comrade-

    Somebody's son is about to get a job they don't deserve...

    Wait MW, he was fired, or he resigned? PICK ONE!

    5 years agoby @taberjohnson18Flag