Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp based his Jack Sparrow on now cancelled Pepé Le Pew

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Pepé Le Pew, the Looney Tunes cartoon skunk known for his non-consensual romantic pursuits, has been cut from Space Jam 2: A New Legacy. The controversial character was set to feature in a scene where he hits on a woman played by Greice Santo by kissing her arm before she slaps him and pours her drink over him. The actress, a victim of sexual harassment herself, has since said that she’s upset that the scene depicting Pepé’s behaviour as unacceptable was left out of the upcoming movie.

Santo’s spokesperson told Deadline: “This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie.

“Even though Pepe is a cartoon character, if anyone was going to slap a sexual harasser like him, Greice wished it would be her.

“Now the scene is cut, and she doesn’t have that power to influence the world through younger generations who’ll be watching Space Jam 2, to let younger girls and younger boys know that Pepé’s behaviour is unacceptable.”

But almost 20 years before the Looney Tunes character was cancelled, did you know he was in part inspiration for Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies?

The reveal was made by Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer last year.

Speaking on the Literally! with Rob Lowe podcast, the 77-year-old said: “He’s a very inventive actor.

“He had a young daughter at the time and he was watching a lot of cartoons and fell in love with Pepé Le Pew.”

You can certainly see the influence of the Looney Tunes character on Depp’s Sparrow.

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For example, in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow is slapped numerous times by women in Tortuga.

Presumably, their physical responses to the pirate were for similar behaviour from the swashbuckler to Pepé in Looney Tunes cartoons and the now cut scene with Santo in Space Jam 2.

Aside from Pepé Le Pew, Depp’s Sparrow also took inspiration from The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards for “how he walked and how he talked.”

Jerry said: “Keith was a buddy of his and he used to come over all the time.”

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It turns out that The Rolling Stones rock star was rather taken by Depp’s clothing.

Jerry continued: “[Keith would] go into Johnny’s closet and try on his jackets and then he’d leave wearing Johnny’s jacket!”

Of course, Pirates fans will know that Richards ended up playing Captain Jack’s father in the third and fourth Pirates movies, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides.

His character was called Captain Edward Teague, the former pirate lord of Madagascar who became the keeper of the Pirate Code.

Meanwhile, The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney played Captain Jack’s Uncle Jack in the fifth Pirates movie, Salazar’s Revenge aka Dead Men Tell No Tales. He appeared locked in a cell singing Maggie May while playing poker.

Depp’s future as Jack Sparrow remains unclear after losing his libel case in the UK courts, in a case where he strongly denied The Sun newspaper’s allegation he was a “wife-beater”.

Following the verdict, the star has since been asked to resign from the Fantastic Beasts movies as Grindelwald, which he agreed too.

Nevertheless, Depp’s fans continue to rally around him with a petition demanding he is reinstated in the Pirates franchise having surpassed its target of half a million signatures.

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