Pirates of the Caribbean Posters
Chapter 3 - Revealing the True Nature of all the Characters
In the aftermath of the “Dead Man's Chest” sweep of worldwide box offices, the stars of the film were still processing its impact. “It's shocking you know,” admits Johnny Depp. “I'm still sort of amazed that so many people in so many corners of the globe embraced the films and Captain Jack, and in a lot of ways just sort of claimed ownership of the character. Nothing like this has ever happened to me, but what's happened with `Pirates' hasn't happened to many people. It's very, very moving and emotional, the idea that people feel this very strong connection with Captain Jack. You know, seeing little kids dressed up as the character, talking like him. It's just amazing.”
Depp was enthusiastic to pursue the development of Captain Jack's journey in “At World's End.” “When we last saw Jack in `Dead Man's Chest,'” Depp explains, “he was swatting his way into the mouth of Kraken, and when we pick him up again in `At World's End' he's in Davy Jones' Locker, which is kind of beyond the idea of purgatory, a kind of hell in which he's surrounded by himself. I thought it was a brilliant idea of taking this guy and not have him face his demons, but rather the various sides of his personality.”
“It's an interesting idea that Jack Sparrow has an honest streak that will likely be his undoing,” adds screenwriter Ted Elliott. “He says it in the first movie, it actually does happen in the second one, and in this third film Jack has said, in effect, look, I've given up on the whole honest streak thing because we all saw where that one led to. That becomes Jack's struggle throughout…what are you willing to do to get what you want?”
“Johnny Depp is a very surprising, unusual and unique actor,” adds Jerry Bruckheimer, “who creates memorable, original characters that audiences just fall in love with. Captain Jack was unlike anything that audiences had seen on screen before, a drunken, swashbuckling character who can barely stand up sometimes, yet is so clever and smart that he outwits everybody around him. And Johnny does this on every movie. Whether it's Willy Wonka in `Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' J.M. Barrie in `Finding Neverland' or `Donnie Brasco,' he creates something so indelible that you can't quite put your finger on how he invents that magic.”
Geoffrey Rush, an unabashed enthusiast for the three films, was thoroughly delighted to once again transform himself into Captain Barbossa. “I've always thought that `Dead Man's Chest' and `At World's End' are really one big film, with a cliffhanger interval,” he notes. “I say that quite selfishly, because I don't do anything in the second film. I'm dead. But I have a fabulous sort of curtain line at the end of the movie. But `At World's End' galvanizes 15 major plot lines that have all been simmering through the first and second movies, and kind of brings them home.
“There's a shift in Barbossa's character in the third film,” Rush continues. “I think that in `Dead Man's Chest,' Davy Jones becomes the villain or dark force at the center of the film. And with Barbossa being absent, when he re-emerges, he actually comes back as a kind of politician, which is great for me because it meant I didn't have to play the same flavors, or work off the same dramatic palette as in the first film, which was pure rivalry with Jack. I mean, that's certainly still there, but my job in `At World's End' is to make sure that the romantic true heritage of the pirates being the vagabond brotherhood at sea maintains its identity against this rather ruthless corporate world of the East India Trading Company that wants to stamp it out. So I become an arch manipulator, and I think Barbossa's familiar qualities of betraying people and forcing them to do things they don't particularly want to do, is how he works.”
“We're all still in character,” adds Orlando Bloom, “but thankfully, the character development is really great in the third film. Will Turner definitely has a few more edges. In the second movie, the major conflict for Will is whether to choose between his father or his love for Elizabeth. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to rescue his father, Bootstrap Bill, and he also wants to be with the girl he loves, but the two are opposite magnets that push away from each other.
“By the time `At World's End' begins,” Bloom continues, “Will has embraced the pirate code that he so hated at the start of `The Curse of the Black Pearl,' to pursue his own purposes. A promise has been made that he will save his father's life, and Will will try and do everything he can to honor that vow…not forgetting that he still loves Elizabeth, and wants to get her back into his life. The third movie reveals the true nature of all the characters, and it's great to go on a journey with Will where you're not quite certain which direction he will turn to.”
“There's a certain amount of guilt that Elizabeth feels about having delivered Jack to the Kraken at the end of `Dead Man's Chest,'” says Keira Knightley of her increasingly strong minded and determined character, “but I think that was something that had to be done at the time. But then she finds out that actually, what they really need to do is save him. Elizabeth is certainly more than the girl who stands in the corner by this point in the story. It's been great to play a girl who's strong and interesting, and isn't afraid of a fight.”
“Keira became a woman through the course of making these three films,” notes Jerry Bruckheimer, “and Elizabeth is a character who has an enormous arc. She starts out as a kind of spoiled rich governor's daughter, and through the course of the story becomes a woman who bucks convention and becomes as fierce and competitive a fighter as Will and Captain Jack.”
Bill Nighy was also delighted to take Davy Jones more than a few steps further in the third film, and again infusing the devilish character with a large dollop of recognizable humanity. “Davy is now in service to the East India Trading Company and Lord Cutler Beckett, certainly the first time he's been in service to anybody. He's no longer the free lord of the seas. In `At World's End,' you see how love and betrayal wrecked Davy's life and ruined his existence. He just wants Calypso, and peace from this terrible love pain. He suffers in a major way. Davy is a lover, and he's been deeply, deeply hurt, devastated by the loss of this woman. People like Davy who never connected with anyone, ever, and then do and lose it, cleave for all time. And these are dangerous men, you know, they're almost certainly emotionally damaged. It's a central fact of Davy Jones' life that he's never getting over it.”
“I have had a long life with Gore already, and it's a very pleasant life,” smiles Stellan Skarsgård, who returns as Will Turner's cursed father, Bootstrap Bill. “And it's surprising because when you work on a production this big, you would think that working in front of the camera would be very different from the kind of independent films I've done before. But it isn't, because it's very intimate around the camera. You work basically in the same way, or you're free to try things. Gore is not only a technical director, but he's very interested in actors and to see what actors can produce. It's one of the reasons I wanted this job…because when I saw `The Curse of the Black Pearl,' I saw a bunch of actors who enjoyed themselves and obviously had a lot of fun.”
Bootstrap Bill also continues on a progressive arc throughout the third film. “It's pretty sad, because his deterioration has gone quite far. He's already falling apart, and only has glimpses of remembering and vague ideas about his relationships to people. As with other crewmen of the Flying Dutchman, Bill is becoming more and more a part of the ship, losing his humanity.”
Explains the compulsively witty Jack Davenport of his character, James Norrington, “Where you left me off at the end of the second film, I was still modeling homeless person chic…but with Davy Jones' heart in hand. I well know that I managed to give the heart to probably the last person on earth or indeed the high seas that I should have given it to, it's now allowed me in the third film to once again dress like a Mardi Gras float. I'm much more comfortable in blues and yellows, and I once again sport the deeply flattering white wig. So joy is unconfined all around.”
On a somewhat more serious note, Davenport says, “In `At World's End,' Norrington comes to realize that he's made a terrible mistake, and he has to live with that. In terms of his feelings for Elizabeth, he's not the same swooning chap that he was in the first film, which I think is a good thing in terms of deepening the character. She broke Norrington's heart, very embarrassingly and very publicly. Subsequently, I don't think he harbors any great illusions about them sailing off into the sunset together. In the third film, he looks on rather helplessly at the gigantic mess he's created, and he has some opportunity for redemption.”
Tom Hollander, the charming Englishman who plays the distinctively uncharming Lord Cutler Beckett, was also dazzled by the success of “Dead Man's Chest.” “Being in the third biggest grossing film of all time, I felt like it was as if I'd been standing next to the man who discovered penicillin,” jokes the actor. “It was thrilling, a fantastic feeling. Being a part of something which people absolutely love is just wonderful. It's been quite a tough job, but amazing as well.”
In the third film, Beckett's cold-bloodedness ascends to even more dastardly levels. “Davy Jones can be seen as the main villain of `Dead Man's Chest,' but Beckett becomes his boss in `At World's End,' so technically speaking, I'm on the top of the heap of villainy,” adds Hollander. “Davy Jones' heart is my secret weapon, what's known in show business as `leverage.' Because he who has the heart of Davy Jones controls the seas. So even though Beckett is physically unintimidating to Davy Jones, he has his heart, which although a gloopy, nasty, smelly thing, gives him all the power.
4 Next Page - Chapter 4: Some New Faces Aboard