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Pirates Producer Would ‘Love’ to Have ‘Friend’ Johnny Depp Back as Jack Sparrow: ‘Terrific Actor’

Director Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Johnny Depp attend the film premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland on June 28, 2003 in Anaheim, California.

Director Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Johnny Depp attend the film premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland on June 28, 2003 in Anaheim, California.

Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp in 2003.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Jerry Bruckheimer is in Johnny Depp‘s corner.

The Pirates of the Caribbean producer voiced support for Depp, 59, in an interview published Monday by The Hollywood Reporter, saying he’d “love” the actor to return to the franchise as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow.

“I would love to have him in the movie. He’s a friend, a terrific actor and it’s unfortunate that personal lives creep into everything we do,” said Bruckheimer, 79.

His answer came after THR asked whether he believes Disney would put Depp “front and center” following the actor’s favorable verdict in his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard earlier this year.

“You’d have to ask them. I can’t answer that question. I really don’t know,” Bruckheimer said, adding when asked whether they’d ever kill off Jack Sparrow, “You can’t. We tried to kill him. It didn’t work.”

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Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow ActionsRequests DropBox47373#universalpotc5_dtlr4_2k_r709_marketing_stills_022317_86412_R.jpg

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow ActionsRequests DropBox47373#universalpotc5_dtlr4_2k_r709_marketing_stills_022317_86412_R.jpg

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Disney

On June 1, a seven-person jury found that Heard, 36, defamed Depp in her 2018 op-ed about domestic violence, and he was awarded more than $10 million in damages. Additionally, Heard won one of her defamation counterclaims and was awarded $2 million.

On Monday morning, Heard announced in a statement shared to Instagram that she has made “a very difficult decision” to settle the case, writing in part, “It’s important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways women are re-victimised when they come forward.”

“Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to,” the Aquaman actress added, in part. “I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”

After Heard announced her decision to settle, Depp’s attorneys Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, “We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light.”

“The jury’s unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp’s favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place,” they added. “The payment of $1 million — which Mr. Depp is pledging and will (actually) donate to charities — reinforces Ms. Heard’s acknowledgement of the conclusion of the legal system’s rigorous pursuit for justice.”

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In his interview with THR, Bruckheimer also addressed the near future of the Pirates franchise — specifically, Margot Robbie‘s recent claim that the spinoff installment she’d been set to star in would not be happening after all.

“We have a very good script,” he said of Pirates 6. “We developed two of them — the one with Margot Robbie and one with a younger cast. The Margot Robbie one needs a little more work. The younger-cast one is close. Hopefully we’ll get both of them.”

Asked specifically about the comments given by Robbie, 32, Bruckheimer said of her project, “It’s alive for me. It’s alive for Disney.”

“I’m sure she was disappointed it didn’t go first — or maybe not because she’s very busy, so it might be a blessing to push this a bit,” he continued, referring to the “ensemble” Pirates film he previously spoke of.

Bruckheimer added of Robbie’s project, “We believe we’ll get it made. It’s a very strong story.”