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    Has Johnny Depp Lost His Edge—Or Totally Not?

    Johnny Depp BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM

    What's happened to Johnny Depp? He used to choose such eclectic and versatile roles, but now he just seems satisfied to keep mailing in the Jack Sparrow role.
    —Malone S., via Facebook

    Given that there is already talk of a Pirates 5 and 6 (suggested title: At Wit's End), you may not want to read what I've discovered:

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    Which is that Johnny Depp, actually, seems to enjoy playing the role. He likes it. Makes him happy, even.

    "Interestingly enough, for me, a character like Captain Jack, you feel you could just continue," Depp told HitFix. "The possibilities are endless and limitless. There is any possibility of madness and absurdity that could commence. You feel with this character you are never really done."

    And, while fans may assume that Depp doesn't need any more money, entertainment attorneys tell me that, in Hollywood, no matter how classy the actor, there is never such a thing as too much money.

    By all indications, Depp really is doing the Jack Sparrow thing because he wants to, not because he's lost his edge, or because he has to.

    According to top entertainment attorney Jay Shanker of McAfee Taft, most contracts for franchise work won't tie up an actor for more than two or three installments, at first. After that, an actor may get signed on to one or two more sequels, but it's unlikely that Depp, at his place at the top of the A-list, is contractually obligated to keep lurching around, leering at Penélope Cruz.

    "He gets to put on a pirate suit and be himself, and he is making a huge piece of the grosses on these films," Shanker posits. "I think that's the bottom line."

    As for whether Depp has lost that edge you speak of, maybe not.

    He's filming a big-screen adaptation of the TV gothic Dark Shadows (which, if not exactly edgy, has to be smarter than the Disney franchise), and just wrapped The Rum Diary, a film based on the turbulent novel by Hunter S. Thompson.

    I probably shouldn't tell you that Depp also is attached to the upcoming Lone Ranger flick. He'll be playing Tonto.

    PHOTOS: See Johnny At His Freakiest!

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