Disney hires seafaring crew for Pirates of the Caribbean, films it all in studio
Disney sought two proven seafarers to direct its upcoming Pirates of the Carribean instalment, but then decided to film it in studio instead, cast members say.
Veteran Pirates actor Geoffrey Rush, one of only three mainstays throughout the franchise (excluding Pablo the monkey), says filming used to be an adventure. Just getting to set was a mission in itself, he recalls.
The latest film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, was filmed almost entirely in studio, he said. Ironically, Rush said the two directors, Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, had been hired in part because of their abilities to make films at sea.
The pair directed 2012 docu-drama Kon-Tiki, and filmed all of its ocean scenes at sea.
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When they made earlier instalments, Rush said filming was about as real as it could get. Captain Jack Sparrow's ship, The Black Pearl, was a real ship that they had tied up about 4km from the coast of Exuma in the Caribbean.
"You'd get taken down at 4am in dark, taken down to a little rubber dinghy and off to these ships that were two or three miles away. They'd be grappled together, two big oil tankers.
"The whole trick everyday of going on the little rafts or trugs was timing your entrance to get onto the Black Pearl. The Black Pearl could be rising two or three meters," Rush recalled. One time, a script supervisor missed her step and fell into the sea, carrying all of the papers, he said.
He joked that days when they could stay in a studio were "always a relief" during the first four films. By those standards, filming the fifth instalment must have been a breeze as it was all filmed in a Gold Coast studio in Australia.
Filming was done in front of huge blue screens, "because they wanted the ocean to be very trippy", Rush said.
Rush played the role of Captain Hector Barbossa, a villainous pirate in the debut film who turned into a "politician" and then sort-of ally to Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).
"On the first film I was very much the ugly villain, someone described him as being 'spit out of hell'. Then I was like a politician, getting all these pirates together. In this one I've become obscenely and excessively wealthy," he said.
Dead Men Tell No Tales followed Sparrow as he escapes captain Salazar, his old nemesis who was locked away in The Devil's Triangle. To survive, Sparrow must enlist the help of navy sailor Henry Turner, played by Brenton Thwaites.
Thwaites was making his Pirates debut in the film, he said there was a bit of pressure not to ruin the franchise.
"I'm carrying the torch so to speak, we're a big part of reinvigorating the franchise, so I hope fans don't come back with vengeance, I hope they dig what we do," he said.
Working alongside Depp had been "eye opening", Thwaites said.
Depp had come under heat for allegedly paying an audio engineer to feed him lines while on set, but Thwaites said it would have been "impossible" for Depp to do that.
Depp employed a kind of method acting, Thwaites said, because he just "knows the character. It's just him".
"Every take is different, he says different stuff for every single line," Thwaites said of the Pirates' star.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (M) is now screening.