Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Fun Facts
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment in the Pirates franchise, helmed by director Rob Marshall and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed adventure. In celebration of its release, we compiled a few fun facts on all things On Stranger Tides.
Compiled by Elisa Osegueda
Johnny Depp on falling in love with Captain Jack Sparrow:
"When you're done playing Captain Jack, there's a real decompression getting out of the skin, because I like being in that skin. There's a great comfort in playing Captain Jack, because you have license to be completely irreverent, completely subversive, absolutely asbtract in all situations. I know him so well that it just comes naturally."
For the challenging role of history's most notorious pirate, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall turned to actor Ian McShane.
"Blackbeard is probably the most infamous pirate who ever lived. There's a legion of stories about him, and whether they're true or not, he's now part of pirate mythology." -Ian McShane
It was reported in mid-January 2011 that a team of archaeologists discovered fragments of Blackbeard's sword while excavating his flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, off the coast of North Carolina (where it ran aground in the 18th century).
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, appropriately enough for a pirate movie, was shot on five different islands: Kauai, Oahu, Puerto Rico, Palominito, and although of a distinctly non-tropical nature, Great Britain.
Johnny Depp on Rob Marshall:
"Certain names were mentioned and when Rob’s name came up I thought, 'That’s got to be it. Let’s just hope he’s a nice guy,'" says Depp. "I don’t think there’s anyone better who could have come in and followed Gore [Verbinski]. Rob’s approach was very respectful of what Gore built in the first three films but at the same time he has his own signature. He gave it a very new angle; he brought a brand-new pair of eyes and a fresh look."
The fully functional Queen Anne's Revenge is the first historical ship to be represented in the Pirates of the Caribbean, film franchise.
While filming in the thick coconut grove at the famed Coco Palms Hotel in Wailua--where Elvis once sang Blue Hawaii for the movie of that title--773 coconut palms were harvested to prevent the heavy fruits from falling on the hapless heads of cast and crew. The harvested coconuts were taken away by local residents.
For the fourth installment, Geoffrey Rush reprises his role as Captain Hector Barbossa. Barbossa is a master swordsman and uncompromising pirate who sees himself as a man of honor despite his vocation.
"Even when Captain Jack and Barbossa are on the same side they're always on opposite sides somehow. I always felt like these two characters bicker like a couple of old housewives at a bridge club. That's how Geoffrey and I have approached it from day one." -Johnny Depp
On Stranger Tides is the biggest movie to ever film at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, shooting more of the complex than any previous production.
Depp worked closely with a stunt double but filmed many of the chase scenes himself.
"It is important because there’s a physical language to the character that I think is important and even though the stunt double has got it down to a fine science, there are still times when you have to see Captain Jack’s head in there now and again." -Johnny Depp
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, who plays Angelica, brings pirate equality to the screen as she portrays a character every bit as adventurous, tricky and cunning as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Director Rob Marshall on casting Penelope Cruz:
"There aren't many actors that I can think of who can really go toe-to-toe with Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. You need an actress who embodies: humor, sex appeal, power, strength, beauty and passion. Having worked with Penelope, I knew that she has this unique combination."
During filming Cruz became pregnant, which was a "challenge," says director Rob Marshall. "Honestly, it was a challenge, I have to say, because all of a sudden she was showing more each day. It took more time and we had to be smart about how we were shooting her. We filmed a lot of the physical stuff up front, before her pregnancy became obvious."
Though a well-known actress in France, Astrid Berges-Frisbey makes her U.S. film debut in Pirates 4 in the role of the mystical mermaid Syrena.
Sam Claflin, who plays the young missionary Philip, is from the U.K. and attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
This concept art features mermaid Syrena in her full body water form. You can notice her ruffle edges, her eyes are 17% larger,there is a sense of legs under her tail, nose and eyes are smoother and her face is less human.
Real mermaids came in the form of seven model/actresses and a talented team of 22 synchronized swimmers, some of whom were Olympic competitors in Beijing 2008, organized and choreographed by Candace Hipp and outfitted in motion-capture suits to later be converted into mermaids by visual effects.
Although she spent more than two months in Hawaii, Astrid Berges-Frisbey was not allowed to have fun in the sun on her days off...as the unearthly mermaid known as Syrena, she had to maintain her pale complexion.
The Skull features the signature red bandana Captain Jack Sparrow wore in all the films of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. Red was a popular color with pirates and a color synonymous with "giving no quarter" to enemies.
The crossed swords, or pirates’ cutlasses, have a special meaning: When the crossed swords face upward, they signify readiness for battle. When the swords point downward, they signify the end of conflict. Down-pointing crossed swords are a common military symbol on graves or memorials signifying death in battle. On the teaser poster the swords are pointing downward.
Johnny Depp on Jerry Bruckheimer:
"He knows these films so well. I’ve been in umpteen script meetings with the guy and there’s never a false note and he always comes up with really great ideas," says Depp. "He’s always the guy that says 'don’t worry about it, we’ll get it taken care of.' The best way to sum him up is to say that he really produces and he allows all of us to be in an atmosphere that’s conducive to making something interesting, something different."
On Stranger Tides is the first film in the Pirates franchise to be show in Disney Digital 3D, and the first live-action, epic outdoor adventure shot in Red 3D cameras.
In England, the film shot on three of the most important historic sites: the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, Hampton Court and Middle Temple in The City.
During the shoot in Greenwich Depp turned up in costume dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow to surprise children at a London school. One of the students at the Meridian Primary School in Greenwich, 9-year-old Beatrice Delap, heard that Depp was filming nearby and wrote asking Captain Jack for some help.
"We’re a bunch of budding young pirates," she wrote. "And we were having a bit of trouble mutinying against the teachers and we’d love it if you could come and help."
Depp and a group of extras from the film duly did exactly that—surprising Beatrice and her classmates at a hastily arranged school assembly.
Captain Sparrow is here to stay, so it seems.
"I don’t mind the idea of stepping back into Jack’s boots again. I love the character and I don’t feel like there’s any possibility of running out of new situations, new stories to tell. So depending on the scenario, depending on what we can come up with, I would most definitely consider it." -Johnny Depp
*Up to speed now with your Pirates fun facts? Answer one question in this week's 'Spend the Summer with Fandango' promo for a chance at a Pirates Prize Pack. Online entries must be submitted by 10am PT May 24, 2011. Good luck mateys!