Last October, I got to visit the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides while the production was filming at Pinewood Studios outside London. Even though we were told that Johnny Depp would not have the time to do any interviews as he was in all the shots that day, before one of the set ups, he had a few minutes and he answered a some quick questions about how filming had been going and what it was like to work with Penelope Cruz and new Pirates director Rob Marshall. For what he said, hit the jump:
Before going any further, if you haven’t seen the great trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I’d watch that first. As most of you already know, the new Pirates movie is about the search for the Fountain of Youth and it stars Depp, Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin R. McNally, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, and Sam Claffin.
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed adventure. Crossing paths with the enigmatic Angelica (Penelope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love—or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he shares a mysterious past. The international cast includes franchise vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid.
Like I said, I think the filmmakers behind the Pirates franchise have taken everything that worked about the first three movies and that’s the backbone of the 4th movie. Instead of too many characters and side plots, we’re following Jack Sparrow as he searches for the Fountain of Youth. Of course new characters are brought in to expand the Pirates universe, but On Stranger Tides is going to be a straight forward action adventure that should be easy to follow that’s loaded with huge action and it was filmed in 3D. While I was let down by the 3rd Pirates movie, everything I learned on set makes me think this should be a great film.
Johnny Depp: It’s been a gas, it’s been a gas, and the whole experience has been…I mean there’s not a bad thing you can say about it.
Question: Have you enjoyed London here, how was the filming in Greenwich, was it quite fun?
Depp: Yeah Greenwich I mean, Greenwich is beautiful, Greenwich is gorgeous. You know the thing about filming in Greenwich for me was basically all stunts, so just kind of you know hopping from one carriage to another, and sometimes you, you know, I prefer scenes myself but.
Is it important for you to do that yourself, you like to actually get involved with the action?
Depp: Yeah, I mean yeah sure because there’s a physical language to the character that I think is important. And even though the stunt double Chris has got it down to a fine science, [there’s] still times you’ve got to see Captain Jack’s head in there I suppose, now and again.
How are you enjoying working with Rob Marshall. Is it so much different?
Depp: Oh what a treat, you know. I mean every filmmaker’s different, every filmmaker has a different approach. But I mean [he’s] a treat, a real gift. I mean first and foremost he’s a wonderful man, very kind and collaborative, with fantastic ideas. And a brilliant sort of handle on scene and story and shape, I suppose. Yeah he’s really special.
You contributed to the script yourself this time largely, how did you enjoy that?
Depp: Well it’s like going into a think tank basically, you know. And just kind of throwing ideas around, if something sparks, it sparks. And if they accept it, they accept it, and thankfully they did, I mean hopefully for the better. But no, they were very receptive to just kind of throwing ideas around, just to make it different and to keep it very fresh. As opposed to just, “Well here comes another one,” you know “another sequel” or something. But just to try to, try to keep things different.
How do you do Captain Sparrow this time. Could we see any new aspect of him this time?
Depp: Well there was a sex change. (laughs)
(laughs) Spoiler alert!
Depp: I mean I honestly think this whole thing about characters and character archs and “finding themelves” and this and that, I honestly think old Captain Jack found himself a long time ago. I don’t think there’s any more room to—he can’t go any further, I think he’s hit a wall as it were.
How’s it been working with Penelope (Cruz)?
Depp: Oh yeah, she’s a serious force to be reckoned with, Penelope. We did a film together years ago called Blow—I could’ve said “we did blow together years ago (laughs). That really would’ve And um I could’ve said we did Blow together years ago. (interviewer laughs) That really would made it.
That would’ve been the headline there, wouldn’t it?
Depp: Yeah so we did this film Blow together, which was wonderful, I mean she’s really a treat, she’s a heavy hitter. You can throw all kinds of stuff out there into the atmosphere and she’ll snatch up something and throw a curve ball back at you. It’s very stimulating, she’s someone I adore, one of my best friends, so yeah it’s been great having her.