Pirates of the Caribbean Article, Entertainment Weekly (US), April 25, 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
What's the big
deal? Jerry Bruckheimer knows big-budget bonanzas. But the last live-action
buccaneer epic, 1995's ''Cutthroat Island,'' got the hook at the box office, and
Johnny Depp's action-hero appeal remains untested.
It began with a set-sweeping fire and ended with mild
dysentery. But producer Jerry Bruckheimer insists that the only curse attached
to his $125 million supernatural swashbuckler is on the screen, as a gang of
bloodthirsty pirates -- led by ''Quills''' Geoffrey Rush -- sets out to undo a
spell that not only turns them into skeletons, but celibate skeletons, unable to
enjoy sex, food, or even a good plank walking.
Enter Jack Sparrow
(Johnny Depp), a flashy rogue with awful teeth, a deep tan, and mysterious
motives. ''[Johnny's character] is a bit of a seesaw,'' says Bruckheimer. ''He's
always slurring his words. You never know if he's drunk or not.'' Bottle of rum
presumably in place, Sparrow teams up with a blacksmith (''The Lord of the
Rings''' Orlando Bloom) to rescue a comely lass (''Bend It Like Beckham'''s
Keira Knightley) who unknowingly holds the secret to breaking the hex.
It may all sound a bit spooky for a movie inspired by Disney's beloved
theme-park ride, but, as Rush points out, the 17th century wasn't all parrots
and peg legs. ''The reality of pirates is a very brutal and tough world,'' says
the actor. ''But there's also the legend. And you've got to have a bit of
Speaking of truth versus legend, Bruckheimer downplays talk
about a blaze that destroyed $300,000 worth of sets (''It was minor damage'')
and illness that plagued some crew members while shooting in the Caribbean.
''Anytime you leave the U.S., somebody's gonna get something,'' he notes. Still,
he'll cop to the fact that the location shoot -- on sun-soaked St. Vincent --
was hardly a vacation. ''It's a working-class island,'' says Bruckheimer. ''It
doesn't have the five-star hotels. So the crew loved the weather, [but] I'm sure
they weren't crazy about the accommodations.''