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Feature: Pirates of the Caribbean 3

Returning pirates

Director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer scan the horizon as the third movie makes its way to our screens

CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow and his crew seem determined to sail through all seven seas in their quest for adventure. Their latest big screen romp, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End sees our heroes voyage deep into Asia as, fresh from his battle against the Kraken, Captain Jack battles for his very soul.

All the ingredients that made the first two parts of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy such a box office sensation – The Curse Of The Black Pearl took more than $653 million while the sequel Dead Man’s Chest topped $1.06 billion – return.

The global movie audience is already salivating at the thought of At World’s End continuing the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And as the fans have their patience stretched tight as they wait for the film to hit the screen with all cannons blazing, they can remind themselves that they owe a debt of gratitude to the trilogy’s director Gore Verbinski.

Because it was Verbinski’s buccaneering style that helped to breathe life into a pirate genre that Hollywood had long ago decided was all at sea. Disasters like Cutthroat Island and Roman Polanski’s Pirates had practically scuppered any thoughts that Hollywood might have had of setting any adventure on the Spanish Main. So, before anyone had seen Curse of the Black Pearl, there was a sense of foreboding about the potential box office in a film like the original Pirates of the Caribbean adventure that had suggested that, despite having a starry crew on board, Verbinski was on a doomed voyage. The director was well aware that he was sailing against history, but was determined that he would make a success of raising the jolly roger – and that Pirates of the Caribbean would captivate the land lubbers out there at a multiplex near you.

“I was perplexed as to why the genre wasn’t working,” admits Verbinski. “For me it was important to find the rock ’n’ roll that was in the really great pirate movies. Films like The Black Pirate.”

The film-maker had a determined focus and was aware of the importance in avoiding cheesy elements that would make a pirate movie a turn-off. “It was important that I didn’t fall into the idea of eye patches and striped shirts,” says Verbinski. “In some films pirates had seemed too clean to me... there wasn’t a lot of personal hygiene back then… so it was important to capture the texture. You can’t ever be dirty enough.”

Verbinski also knew that his leading man possessed a comic talent that would provide a special piece of magic for the Pirates of the Caribbean formula because Depp has the capacity to be a modern day Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. “He is a virtuoso,” says Verbinski. “It is like having Miles Davis in your band and you have got to let him go solo. The storyboards can be a funny image and then you put Johnny into it and he makes it his own.”

by John Millar

Read the full interview in and more on the movie, including stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in
The Works #A15

Photo © Buena Vista Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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The Works #A15, see below for ordering options
The Works #A15
May 2007
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