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He's currently shooting the next instalment, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, set for release in 2011 - but the screenwriter of the original film, Stuart Beattie, has stunned fans by revealing Depp was not his first choice for the role.

Beattie wanted Jackman for the part - but the Australian X-Men star was a relatively unknown actor at the time, and Disney bosses opted to hire Depp.

He tells Fox News, "I initially wrote that character with Hugh Jackman in mind. Hence the name Captain JACK Sparrow."

And Beattie also admits his pirate project took a decade to come to fruition: "I spent ten years pitching it (to) Disney and they weren't interested. Then finally, I got a call to come back in."