I’ve watched the epic film series multiple times, and a recent discussion with a few friends today brought me back to the awesomeness of these box-office bestsellers. The franchise has surpassed 3 billion dollars worldwide, altogether being nominated for 10 oscars and winning 1 for the legendary VFX in Dead Man’s Chest. At World’s End has been the most expensive film ever made, with a budget of 300 million (More than all 3 Lord of the Rings films combined). I thought I’d relay to you some of my favourite bits of trivia from the first 3 films. If you haven’t watched them, I pray that the God of Cinema will snatch you from your bed in the dead of night and catapult you into space. No but seriously, they are a must watch. Spoilers ahead for those stupid people.
(Captain) Jack Sparrow: Multiple people were considered for the role, and I honestly cannot imagine a single one of them (aside from Depp himself) playing the iconic Captain! Cary Elwes (Westley of The Princess Bride), Rik Mayall, and Michael Keaton were a few. More notably, Christopher Walken, Jim Carrey (do I really need to link a picture here?), Hugh Jackman (or here?) and Robert De Niro. Can you imagine any of these actors replacing Johnny Depp?
Will Turner: Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Tobey Maguire, Christopher Masterson and Christian Bale were all potentials for the role of the young pirate. Eventually the role came down to either Orlando Bloom or Heath Ledger. I love(d) Ledger to pieces, but I can’t see him as Will Turner. Of course, Bloom was chosen, and I honestly can’t envision what Pirates would be like if any of these hopefuls had taken the helm! (Although, maybe Jude Law. Just maybe.)
Elizabeth Swann: Jessica Alba was considered for the role of Elizabeth, and I think she could’ve done a fairly decent job, although I don’t know if the chemistry between Elizabeth and Will would’ve been the same. Hilariously, Amanda Bynes was another potential candidate. That could’ve been veeerrry interesting.
2. JOHNNY DEPP.
- Depp improvised many of his lines for the film, including Jack Sparrow’s catchphrase, “Savvy?”. He also improvised one of the last lines for The Curse of the Black Pearl, “Bring me that horizon.”
- During filming, he wore contact lenses that doubled as sunglasses so that he wouldn’t be squinting in the sun on camera.
- Depp jokingly claimed that Captain Barbossa’s (Geoffrey Rush) first name was ‘Hector.’ Fans falsely believed that this was in fact Barbossa’s name, and so the writers ended up using Hector for The World’s End.
- Writers specifically left out a scene from Orlando Bloom’s script; the scene from Dead Man’s Chest in which Elizabeth kisses Jack Sparrow, in order to achieve an authentic reaction from Bloom.
- Similarly, in the final twist at the end of Dead Man’s Chest in which Barbossa appears, the actors were told that it would be female pirate Anamaria (Zoe Saldana) coming down the stairs, and that Geoffrey Rush would not be appearing in the film. Hiding this piece of information ensured that the looks of surprise from each actor was genuine.
- The scene in the same film in which Captain Jack hurtles across a canyon while tied to a pole, and then lands on his feet amazingly did not employ any wires, camera trickery or CGI. An actual stuntsman performed the feat, physically propelling himself across the chasm whilst doing a somersault mid-way, to land on his feet – all in one take! You can check out a clip here.
4. INTERESTING VFX.
- For The Curse of the Black Pearl, designers scanned turkey jerky, using it to create the effect of decomposing skin on the skeleton pirates.
- For Dead Man’s Chest, the texture of Davy Jones’ skin was made with the use of scans of a dirty coffee cup!
- In the first film, the word “parley” is said 15 times. The words “pirate” and “piracy” are said a phenomenal 56 times.
- Dead Man’s Chest is the only Pirates film that doesn’t use the word fictional word “parley” at least once.
- The symbolic pirate eyepatch was not used until The World’s End.
- Legendary composer Hans Zimmer claimed in an interview that he wrote his music for the trilogy as if he was writing music for a “biker movie.” During his compositional process, he apparently substituted the ships for motorcycles in his mind.
Well, I hope that any Pirates fans found these little bits of trivia interesting. And I will repeat, if you haven’t seen any of these movies you are stupid. 😀
Photo: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy).