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Johnny Depp returns for a fifth time as Captain Jack Sparrow in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’
Disney

LOS ANGELES — The fountain of youth at last! Even Johnny Depp was floored by scenes showing his famed Jack Sparrow character as a young man in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Pirates directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg turned back time on Sparrow, who is depicted in flashbacks meeting a young Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), the villain in the fifth installment of the Disney franchise.

Depp, 53, loved seeing the young Sparrow saunter onscreen.

“Johnny was super-happy with it,” says Sandberg. “He said, ‘This adds years to my career.’ “

“Imagine seeing yourself walking and talking like when you are a teenager. It’s trippy,” says Rønning. “He almost couldn’t believe it.”

The filmmakers spent a year working on the prolonged sequence that involved an extensive “de-aging” process by the visual effects company Lola. The goal: To bring Depp back to his heartthrob heyday as Sparrow to explain the origins of the Pirates legend.

“The age we went for is the end of his teens. It was like 21 Jump Street Johnny Depp,” says Rønning, referring to the star’s breakout role in the 1980s TV series (when Depp was actually 24).

The Pirates scene features a sea battle between Salazar’s and Sparrow’s rival ships. Depp shot his role in full Sparrow attire with image tracking dots on his face. A 23-year-old lookalike, Anthony De La Torre, was brought aboard, also in full Sparrow attire. This was another shocker for Depp.

“When I first turned around, Johnny looked at me and literally said, ‘Bloody hell,’ ” De La Torre laughs.

De…