Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. Congratulations in avoiding the curse of making a film
on water. Other directors have come a cropper with one, so how
did you manage to succeed where others have failed?
A. A great cast, I think. Im a huge fan of the classic
pirate movies. You never know why a films going to succeed
I think there are great movies that are bombs, and
there are bad movies that succeed, so its down to the story
and the performances, and we were really lucky to have a great
cast, and great writers.
Q. Thats a very modest answer, but how did you get round
the problem of filming on water, because were told that
its one of the most difficult places to try and shoot a
movie, because youre trying to do one scene and the ship
has moved on
A. Well, everything they say is true about water. Nothing
stays where you put it. I think this movie has 700 visual effects
shots, but theres only 150 that you notice. My approach
was just to keep shooting; if theres an oil tanker dropping
through the background, its either going to cost you one
hour of shooting to wait for the thing to clear the frame, or
you roll and its a man on a computer painting it out later,
as opposed to 400 crew members in overtime, that approach, 500
of the effects shots are just getting rid of the hotel in the
background. I think that was really the only way to keep the thing
on schedule, because if you do wait for that ship to come round
and get back in the frame, then youve lost a half day of
shooting. Visual effects are just another tool in the tool chest
now, its a very comfortable area.
You can explain to actors that the ships over there and
point to it, but its not there, but you know youre
going to put a model there; if you had to actually line up that
ship, youd be there all day.
Q. Were there any doubts at all, when Johnny turned up doing
this Keith Richards/Tommy Cooper thing with the pirate?
A. And a little Lee Marvin? No, because, we talked about it,
and I always knew that with Johnny you were going to get something
Fortunately, with Keira and Orlando holding the love story down,
I think that if this was the type of movie that that wasnt
happening, Id be having to pull Johnny back more, but because
they are taking care of that whole section of the movie, hes
free, he doesnt carry the burden of being the leading man.
Orlandos really doing the Errol Flynn part of the story,
and the love story is taken care of, and I think that construct
allows him to drift with the movie and affect the lives of those
around him, and be Jack Sparrow, be that character.
On the page, wed had that point of view, that he is his
own best agent, someone who feels that the propagation of his
own myth is most important, and then Johnny just kind of ran with
that and took off with it. So you see, physically, what he is
doing with it, through his mannerisms, etc. But I think it everybody
was doing that, it would be a mess. Jack Davenports character,
for instance, is a very earnest performance. Its almost
there to serve other characters, and allows Johnnys performance
to work as well.
Q. How was much green screen work was there, when it came
to filming the sequences with the skeleton pirates at night?
A. There is very little process work in the movie. All the
skeleton work was done once with real actors, and then wed
do it using the actors performing without the stunt men. It was
really complicated, but we didnt want to get into motion
controlled green screen and have very sterile, clinical approach
to that action; we wanted to keep it hand-held, and that required
the actors to learn the parts and to perform them, whether its
a fight sequence or dialogue sequence with the skeletons; even
if the skeletons would not be there. That way we would be able
to keep the hand-held feel to the battle sequences. They had to
remember when they duck and when they dodge, because in those
scenes, they are really acting with nobody.