PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL - Q&A with JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, GORE VERBINSKI, ORLANDO BLOOM & KEIRA KNIGHTLY
Movie Interview by Reece De Ville
At the London press conference with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and actors Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley
Jerry, it seems an obvious thing to take a Disney theme park attraction and turn it into this splendid romp. What triggered the idea in your mind?
JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: I thought the idea of pirates turning into the undead in the moonlight was very fresh and interesting. That's what got me involved. It's not about a theme park ride, although it does have the title of the ride, but it's a standalone movie in itself. We have visual references to the theme park in there, but it doesn't go beyond that.
The perils of filming on water are well known, how come you succeeded where others have failed?
GORE VERBINSKI: I have a great cast. I'm a huge fan of all of the classic pirate movies. There are great movies that are bombs and bad movies that succeed and so, it's down to the story and performances. I feel really lucky to have such a great cast and writer.
How did you get around filming on water, with particular regards to continuity?
GORE VERBINSKI: Well, everything they say is true about water, nothing stays where you put it. This movie has 700 visual effects shot, with about 150 that you actually notice, so my approach is to just keep shooting. There's always going to be something like a tanker in the background, and it's going to cost you an hour of shooting to wait for the thing to clear. Or you roll and it's just one man on a computer who can paint it out, as opposed to 400 crew members working overtime. Most of the 500 effects shots were things such as getting rid of a hotel in the background and it was the only way to keep things on schedule. Visual effects are just another tool in the tool shed.
Orlando, it looked like your original schedule wouldn't have allowed you to make the filming, could you tell us about that?
ORLANDO BLOOM: Yeah, well initially I was signed up to do the CALCIUM KID, a small British film, which I managed to shoot as well. So I was signed up to do that and a friend of mine was directing that, so I kind of made a commitment and I didn't want to let him down. So when I got the script for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, I sort of didn't want to tempt myself with the idea of getting involved in something I didn't think I'd be able to do. But, I was in Australia at the time working on NED KELLY, and Geoffrey Rush was really excited about coming on to do PIRATES and said to me that there was this great role here, and that I should just read it. Jerry had mentioned this to me also in Japan on a press junket trip for BLACK HAWK DOWN. But I'm very grateful and thankful to say that it did work out, because it couldn't have been a more fun experience.
Keira, is it a bit of a sore point that you didn't get to wield a cutlass in this movie?
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: It is a really sore point.
What about the stunts in the movie?
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: When I first read the script, I thought I'd have a rather easy time of it, running round, screaming a lot etc. Gore, however, had other plans and thought it would be a great idea for me to do as much of it as possible. Which was great fun, but he never gave me a sword.
Orlando, the fight scenes between you and Johnny looked tremendous fun. But how dangerous were they and did anyone suffer any injuries?
ORLANDO BLOOM: There're always a few scrapes when you're playing with swords, but nothing too serious. One of the hardest things is to learn the routines, and it was actually scheduled for the start of the shoot. There're hundreds of shots in that first fight scene with Johnny.
GORE VERBINSKI: Well, you came into this movie pretty quick after LORD OF THE RINGS, and you learnt those routines really quickly.
ORLANDO BLOOM: It was great fun though. Johnny was coming up with butt slaps. A few shots were there that had Johnny slapping my bum with his sword, that didn't make the film. He came up with all these crazy things. The dust on the studio was really fine on the set and would really kick up into our faces.
GORE VERBINSKI: Yes, it's really reassuring for an actor to turn up on a set where the crewmembers are all wearing dust masks!
It's been a remarkable 3 years for both of you (Keira and Orlando), how have you dealt with it?
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: It's great, it's really really great. To do what we both want to do and to work with Gore, Geoffrey and Johnny is really fantastic.
ORLANDO BLOOM: It's opportunity and timing isn't it. Having trained at school, I was in a class full of talented actors and it's just timing and when you get the opportunity to show it.
There must have been some physical hardships to endure, particularly with the fight scenes and wearing of corsets.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: It was my own fault. I've got a Scarlett O'Hara and GONE WITH THE WIND thing, and she got her waistline down to 18 and a half inches and I thought it would be a great idea to do the same thing. It looks great and for 5 minutes it was fantastic, you have this lovely thin waist and great cleavage, but oxygen is a big problem! Gore had to tell me to go off the set and remove the corset as my eyes were almost popping out! But it looked great, and that was the main thing.
Did anyone have any problem with seasickness?
ORLANDO BLOOM: Keira took one of those pills, and was drowsy for about a day!
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: I don't normally get sea sick, but I thought it's better to be safe than sorry. The pills make you really drowsy and I decided I'd rather puke than fall asleep all day! Very glamorous, puking overboard!