Johnny Depp is a weird, wizened, fez-wearing shopkeeper in the promotional launch trailer for “Sea of Dawn,” the new massively multiplayer online game from Chinese gaming company Changyou.
In the four-and-a-half-minute cinematic trailer (watch below), the actor — best known for his turn as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films — plays Phillip the Shopkeeper, affecting a seafaring lilt. His character confronts a hapless bill collector (Francisco Rodriguez), whom he regales with yarns about bygone adventuring days on the ocean blue… all to distract his visitor from the task at hand.
“I’ve had me adventures,” Depp’s shopkeeper says before slyly ushering the bill collector out the door with the parting words, “I see your journey awaits you out there, on the tides. You be brave. Be bold. And eat a proper breakfast in the morning!”
The short film was released to promote the launch of Changyou’s “Sea of Down” multiplayer role-playing game. Set in the 16th century amid the Age of Exploration, the nautical-themed game uses Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to digitally replicate uncharted coastlines and other landscapes, as players take on rival vessels, trade with other merchants, and delve into distant cultures, mysteries and mythologies. The game has launched first in China on mobile and PC platforms, with a rollout in the U.S. and Europe slated for later this year.
The “Sea of Dawn” trailer was created by L.A.-based entertainment agency Buddha Jones and shot by Quriosity Productions director David Gil. According to producers, Depp was closely involved in creating the shopkeeper character for the trailer, which was filmed late last year in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Depp, in a behind-the-scenes clip released by Changyou, says the shopkeeper character was inspired by a watercolor painting he did. “If there’s an opportunity for humor, I’m going to grab it,” the actor says. “I want to watch a character who has the proper chutzpah to do things I would never do.”
Depp’s appearance in the “Sea of Dawn” trailer comes after a harrowing two-month trial in his defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard. The jury found that Heard had defamed Depp by alluding to domestic violence allegations against him in a December 2018 op-ed and awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages. (The jury also held Depp liable for a defamatory statement made about Heard by his lawyer, and awarded her $2 million.) Heard has appealed the decision.
Watch the “Sea of Dawn” trailer featuring Depp: