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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Tom Hollander interview

Tom Hollander (right) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Interview by Rob Carnevale

TOM Hollander talks about joining the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest…

Q. Word is you came up with your own wig which Gore Verbinski vetoed and swapped for an Elton John one….
A. [Laughs] I thought I’d have a nice wig like Johnny Depp’s from The Libertine which I’d done with him. I thought he had a fetching wig and he looked very sexy in it. I designed a similar thing myself and the wig department tolerated that because they had the resources to, knowing they could just change it anyway later. But they were very sweet to me. Gore took one look at my long, Michael Ball-like sort-of thing and I shook it from side to side. He went: “No. I want to see a dick. When you come on I want to see a dick. I see a guy with long hair like a hairdresser.” So I was given the white thing that you see in the film. The problem with the story is that I would then say: “Which I hadn’t seen previously except at an Elton John party.” But you’ve already said that.

Q. But you’ve learned to love the wig I’m sure…
A. Yeah, I have. We’ve got a respectful relationship with one another. It’s slightly frosty, but we live with each other.

Q. Was it intimidating joining such a large franchise?
A. Yes. We were, in a sense, getting a free ride on something that was already hugely successful. That was a nice thing. The sense that we were the new elements so that if it didn’t work we might have been blamed in some way was a worry but any sense of exclusion that I had from not being part of the original gang was fuel for my character which, as you can see from the film, has no place in the gang. Being ostracised in that way just helped me be nasty! That worked, though as the months drew on I did just become desperately lonely!

Q. Did you yearn to get out and do a bit of swashbuckling yourself?
A. I did, yeah. I had to make use of what I had; expensive clothes, soft furnishings, a nice roof terrace. I enjoyed the fact that had it been a BBC costume drama I would have had, behind me, a shot of a cathedral. Which people would be pointing at and saying: “I saw that.” Which would have caused anxiety because I would have worried that it would have taken away from what I was saying. But there’s so many things to be anxious about as an actor that you’ve got to rein it in a bit.

Q. Will you get a chance in three?
A. All sorts of things happen in three. All sort of extraordinary and amazing things happen in three. But I can’t say what, obviously, because I will be killed.

Q. Are you disappointed you don’t get to go back to the Caribbean for the P3 reshoots?
A. LA is quite nice. There’s more varieties of cuisine available for a start. We had eaten the entire menu of the restaurant we had decided we liked several times over. Then we started ordering it backwards and mixing things up. Mixing the puddings with the starters. Just for fun. LA, you know, there’s everything. There’s Korea Town which I think we’re all very excited about. We have been on the Bahamas for a very long time. I say “we,” I barely went there. It’s been going on for more than a year and I spent most of that time up Portobello Road. I’m not glad to have survived, it’s the fact that I was never actually in the Caribbean.

Q. What have you got coming up, aside from Pirates 3?
A. I have Golden Age with Cate Blanchett and Samatha Morton and a film called A Good Year with Russell Crowe. I play his friend, Charlie. There’s also a film called The Darwin Awards with Juliana Marguilles and I’m hoping to do a film with the people that make Peep Show. They’re making a film and I’m going to be in that which I’m very excited about. And that’s it.

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Read our interview with Bill Nighy