Avast Me Hearties, Empire Online (UK), August 7, 2003
Who could have guessed that the bizarre union of Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny
Depp would have produced a five-star movie to please the box office counting
clerks and film critics alike? Empire Online shipped up for The Pirates of the
Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl press do in London to find out from director
Gore Verbinski, Bruckeimer himself and stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom
what made Pirates rock everybody's boat.
A question for Jerry - what gave you the idea to do a
pirate movie in the first place?
Bruckheimer: You have to go with your
instincts. It excited me that it was about a curse of pirates. You cannot kill
the pirates, have to return the treasure rather than steal the treasure - that
was what got me involved.
Was the film's provenance (the Disney theme park ride) a
handicap or help?
Bruckheimer: The film is not about a theme park ride -
it's a movie in itself. It's referenced by the ride, but doesn't go beyond that,
a movie has to stand on its own two feet.
How did you avoid the curse of making a film on
Verbinski: Well I'm a huge fan of the classic pirate movie. But
you never know what makes a great movie - really it's down to the story and the
performance. At the end of the day I feel really lucky to have a great cast and
Bruckheimer: That's the reason why it's so exciting, because
it hadn't worked before. When pictures have a long time span between genres, I
think that's exciting. Challenges really excite me, with the right amount of
talent and great writing, directing and acting, you can overcome all those
Were there any problems with the
Verbinski: Everything they say about filming on water is true.
Nothing stays where you put it. My approach was to continue shooting - hundreds
of our effect shots are getting rid of hotels in the background and things like
that. That really was the only way to keep the thing on schedule. Visual effects
are just like another tool in the toolbox.
Orlando - originally your schedule coudn't fit Pirates in.
Bloom: I was already signed up to the Calcium Kid but
managed to do that shoot as well. A friend of mine was filming that, and I was
committed to him and didn't want to let him down. When I got the script for
Pirates, I didn't want to tempt myself with something that I didn't think I
could do. I was in Australia at the time filming Ned Kelly - Geoffrey
Rush was really excited about the film. Said there was a really great role and
that I should read it if nothing else. I'm grateful and thankful to say that it
did work out because it couldn't have been a more fun experience.
Your character tips the heroine's role on its head - you're really an action
girl in this film rather than the damsel in distress.
thought that when I first read the script that I would have a really easy time
of it and stand around and pout a bit, scream a lot, and it was going to be
fine. Gore, however, had other plans and thought it would be a great idea if I
tried to do as much of it as possible. Climbing up ships and hitting people over
the head with poles, which actually was great fun, but he never gave me a sword.
Was it even harder doing the action scenes in a
corset? Knightley: That was my own fault. I had a Scarlet O'Hara thing, she
gets her waist down to 18 and a half inches - so I thought I would try that. For
5 minutes it's fantastic - you have this tiny waist and fantastic cleavage, but
oxygen deprivation is a big problem! But it looks good and that's the main thing
It's been a hell of a year for you...
It's been really great to have the opportunity to do what we both want to do,
with people like Gore and Johnny and Jerry. There are 'pinch me moments' but you
take each day at a time and try to have a great experience.
Orlando - what about your fight scenes with Johnny Depp -
were they as much fun?
Bloom: There's always a few scraps when playing
with swords but nothing too serious. It's hard to learn the routine, so it's
reat fun but very difficult as well.
Verbinski: Orlando's being modest. He's come from Lord of the
Rings - so he learned the routine really quickly. Johnny used a stunt double the
whole time - Orlando is in the whole sequence.
Bloom: But Johnny was coming up with things like butt slaps
-that wasn't included because at that moment in the film it was not where we
could go with the characters!
Did any of you have sea
Bloom: Keira took a seasickness pill and fell asleep!
Knightley: I thought it would be better to be safe rather than sorry. But it
made you really drowsy. It was very glamorous, people puking over the sides and
me falling asleep.
What did you both learn from working with the likes of
Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush?
Bloom: Johnny Depp was a bit of a
guideline for me, even as a young actor. His character didn't really read like
that on the page - that kind of drunkard, Keith Richards number that he pulled
from the black corners of his mind. He's so courageous as an actor. It's the
same for Geoffrey Rush - as a young actor, I felt really privileged to see how
they develop a character. It could quite easily not have worked, but it always
works with Johnny. I admired that the most.
Bruckheimer: When you hire Johnny Depp you know you're going
to get something like that. We were fortunate that Keira and Orlando were
holding the love story down. They're taking care of that section of the story.
Johnny doesn't have the burden of being the leading man. That construct allows
him to drift into the movie and be Jack Sparrow and be that character.
Everything that you see physically, his mannerism are 100% his own creation.
Jerry - are there any genres you'd like to
Bruckheimer: I would love to do a Western, I'm working on a
number of things.
Would you do a sequel to Pirates? Bruckheimer: The key
is to get the same team. That's something that's hard to put together -
everyone's very busy and in demand. It comes down to material - you need to
develop a great script.