ANAHEIM, California — Jack Sparrow has a lot of friends in high places — and we’re not just talking about the crow’s nest on the Black Pearl.
A random who’s who of celebrities poured down Disneyland’s Main Street on Saturday, eager to join Captain Jack’s voyage to the world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” as well as the grand reopening of the ride that started it all. A celebration as epic as the franchise itself began at 5 p.m. (with the girl from the Orbit gum commercials) and ended at almost 10 p.m. (with Johnny Depp), with everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tony Hawk in between. (Click for photos from the ’Dead Man’s Chest’ premiere.)
“I don’t think it’s ever going to end,” Keira Knightley laughed somewhere around the carpet’s midway point. “I can’t see the end yet. It’s quite extraordinary.”
“It’s a lot easier to walk down a red carpet for someone else’s movie than your own,” joked “Titanic” director James Cameron. “Because it feels like a march to an execution, in case the film doesn’t play like it’s supposed to. … But I think this movie’s going to be a whole lot more than OK.”
“Normally, when I come to Disneyland, I’m on drugs,” grinned a leather-clad Marilyn Manson. “I’m not saying I’m not on drugs now, but this is a different experience. I’m here to support Johnny, he’s my friend. And sometimes he likes to attend without his woman, so tonight I am his he-[woman].”
Marilyn was undoubtedly the envy of thousands, then, as a female-heavy crowd stood behind barricades for hours to finally capture a glimpse of Depp. His “Pirates” co-stars also seemed to be bringing fans out, with at least one teenager in an “I Love Orlando” T-shirt weeping openly after the object of her affection gave her a hug.
“Oh, that’s sweet,” Bloom smiled. “I think it’s all the excitement of the movie,” he sheepishly explained.
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“I’m so proud to be a part of this movie. We worked really hard, and it seems that people have come out tonight, so hopefully they’ll all go see the movie,” offered Bloom, temporarily resting a hand that had scribbled his name hundreds of times onto fans’ DVDs and posters. “I had never been on the Disney ride before, so I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about with ’Pirates of the Caribbean.’ But I have to say, going on that ride, I really understood how it’s so enrooted and such a part of the establishment. Grandparents take their children, fathers take their sons, and you kinda understand where it all comes from.”
Depp took a few thousand of his closest friends to the ride, reopening the Disney institution that has now been revamped to reflect the blockbuster films. Bill Nighy’s new Davy Jones now makes an appearance, as does Geoffrey Rush’s Barbossa, alongside no less than three eerily realistic Jack Sparrows — but alas, not a single Knightley or Bloom.
“We’ll get ’em in next time,” series producer Jerry Bruckheimer promised, remembering the enormous casting process that landed both Bloom and Knightley when they were relative unknowns. “They’re both really good actors, and that’s what it’s all about. When you’re a really good actor, you rise to the top.”
That didn’t stop other guests from overwhelmingly selecting Depp as their favorite “Pirates” star. “I would probably say Johnny Depp because he’s such a rad actor and he takes such cool parts,” Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 said. “He transforms himself into all these rad characters, so I’d like to meet him and hang out with him. He seems like a cool guy.”
“What a tough question,” Stacy Keibler struggled, narrowing it down to Johnny or Orlando. “I’d have to say Johnny Depp. Sorry, Orlando. I still love ya.”
“Saturday Night Live” breakout Andy Samberg offered this explanation of Depp’s popularity: “I think he’s just one of those dudes that all the teenage girls have dug since the moment he was born. You’re just a ’teenage girls dig me’ guy, if you’re one of those guys — and he’s definitely one of those guys.”
“And it’s not just teenage girls,” Samberg blushed. “Yeah, I’m talking about me.”
“I think there’s this kind of appeal to Johnny Depp, it seems like he’s very approachable” gushed AJ. “And normal,” singing partner Aly added. “Everybody loves pirates!”
“Yeah,” AJ agreed. “Pirates are hot.”
With pirates on the mind, the celebrities were eager to speculate on their own alternate careers if they were ever able to sail the high seas looking for treasure.
“I am a pirate,” laughed 75-year-old movie veteran Martin Landau. “And I can’t tell you what I’ve stolen.”
“If I was a pirate I would steal Tiffany’s,” Jennifer Love Hewitt revealed. “I would put it on my boat, along with all the people who make their jewelry.”
“I’d try and steal Keira Knightley’s heart,” Christian Slater said of the treasure he’d go after.
“My wife’s here,” Dennis Rodman laughed, explaining that he couldn’t discuss the X-rated hijinks he’d get into on a wild night with Jack Sparrow.
“I’d love to hang with Jack Sparrow, but I don’t think I could handle that much rum,” Tony Hawk said. “But I do think Jack Sparrow would have a sweet skate style. He’d be loose, and he’d go for it — but you’d just have to catch him before he got too drunk.”
After five hours with Disney performers juggling knives and journalists juggling random guests like the Governator, the man himself finally made an appearance — or so it seemed to the thousands who only glimpsed an army of security guards surrounding a figure with long hair and a beige fedora. Suddenly, Depp broke free, gave a handful of interviews and reduced dozens of fans to Beatles-on-“The Ed Sullivan Show” levels of hysterics.
“I haven’t really seen anybody,” Depp said of his delayed appearance, adding that he’d have time for Marilyn Manson, Rodman and his other longtime friends once they all met up inside the reopened ride. “I’ve only seen a bunch of [the fans] coming in. … I imagine I’ll see them later.”
“It’s overwhelming,” he added, looking around as the crowd shrieked. “People are just really nice.”
Check out “Set Visit: ’Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ “ to go behind the scenes of Jack Sparrow’s latest adventure.
See everything we’ve got on “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest”.
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