Much earlier in his career, Johnny Depp claimed none of his films would ever make any money. But with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the fourth installment in the hugely successful franchise set to be released, he was clearly mistaken.

“It’s not my fault. I did my best, even to the point of trying to get fired on the first one, and they just couldn’t bring themselves to do it,” Depp says of his good fortune. “It’s kind of interesting to experience, that kind of ride after essentially 20 years of enjoying a career based on failures. And then suddenly something clicks. The fact that people decided to go see a movie that I was in was probably the most shocking thing that I’ve ever been through.”

Also shocking to Depp is how much Captain Jack Sparrow, the beloved scoundrel he plays in the “Pirates” films, has seeped into his subconscious. “There’s most definitely a part of me in Captain Jack, and now — fortunately or unfortunately — there’s a great part of Captain Jack in me as well,” he says. “Basically I can’t shake him. He won’t leave me alone.”

Given that Captain Jack has led the franchise to bring in a whopping $2.6 billion dollars at the box office over the course of the three films, chances are Depp will have to put up with his swashbuckling alter ego for some years to come. And that’s something he’s certainly prepared for. “I think they could wheel me in, I could have my dreds get tangled in the wheels of my chair,” he jokes.

With two more “Pirates of the Caribbean” films on the way, Depp has a simple hope for the future: “Smooth sailing,” he says. “I’m OK with no big ups, no big downs, just full-steam ahead and all things well. As a family man, all you want is pure happiness for your kids. That’s a universal parent thing. That’s it, that’s my dream: happy kids.”

‘Stranger Tides’ new edition

Of course, more “Pirates” movies means more pirates, and “On Stranger Tides” introduces a new element in Sparrow’s life: ex-lover and fierce sword-fighting opponent Angelica, played by Penelope Cruz. “When we saw each other again, it felt like we’d wrapped the film ‘Blow’ the week before,” Depp says of working with the Spanish star. “It just sort of clicked instantly so that whatever exists in terms of chemistry was just instantly firing on all cylinders. It felt completely right.”

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