Underneath all the silly hats, quirky facial hair, and general affectation-ness that have slowly been devouring Johnny Depp whole—ever since he accepted that cursed pirate gold to start playing Captain Jack Sparrow without realizing that he’d never be allowed to stop—glimpses of the talented person underneath still manage to peek out. Maybe it shows up in a particularly effective trailer, for instance, or a nice little nod to an earlier phase of his career. And sometimes it comes in the form of him deploying his inherent Johnny Deppness for good, by showing up in character as Captain Jack Sparrow to surprise a bunch of kids at an Australian children’s hospital.
The visit was filmed for the Children Hospital Foundation’s Juiced TV, an Australian children’s show “made by the kids in hospital, for the kids in hospital.” And sure, there are all sorts of caveats the cynical-minded could bring to bear on this story: that it’s a clear promotional gimmick for the upcoming fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie, or that it’s just a diversion, so that Depp can distract Australian authorities from his ongoing efforts to smuggle packs of roving canines into the country and render himself the Dog Lord Of The Outback. But all of that has to be weighed against the screaming delight of the young cancer patient he greets at the hospital’s elevators, or the genuine smiles he lavishes on the kids while mumblingly improvising his way through the usual Jack Sparrow schtick. In any case, it’s a nice little reminder that there’s still a man underneath the mustache, and a heartwarming little weekend treat.