Have you ever been a fan of a series and either come to love or hate one of the characters the longer you watch it? Where you actually see the changes in the characters actions and attitudes sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways? That is how I’ve always thought of the character of Captain Barbossa. At first meeting (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) you have this scary, frightening villain but with this charm that you just can’t wait to see more of. Then you have him almost as a father figure to Jack Sparrow in some ways as well as a mentor to Elizabeth Swann. There are so many different sides to Captain Barbossa and each of them is compelling and taken as a whole I couldn’t wait to see him in Dead Men Tell No Tales. I couldn’t help but wonder what they would do with him next. And I wasn’t the only one that felt that this was a different Captain Barbossa, in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but one which evolved naturally leaving you wanting more. During our interview he was asked that question.
Q. You played a different part of you in this film. So, how did it feel to take on a different Barbossa?
GR: “Well, it’s sort of something that happened over the first four films, you know. I think in the first one he — before I actually entered into the story, he was described rather fearfully by the two pirates that are now my assistants.He’s spat out from the mouth of hell.”
“He was pretty much the dark villain of the piece. And, you know, he had to break the curse. I think it was a great twist of the story that we were actually having to put all of the treasure back to reverse the curse, which I think I then enjoyed having all my senses back for about 30 seconds. Then I got shot.” [LAUGHS]
Costumes and make up and peg legs oh my!
“I really insist that I have a very elaborate wig and lovely makeup and a beauty spot.” It was a very lovely wig. If only we all could enjoy curls of that proportion!
He describes his wardrobe, “great kind of flamboyant outfit . . .the teeth were always the same. And then, unfortunately, when he put on the courtly makeup with his crusty skin, he didn’t look any prettier. [LAUGHS] So that sort of shift has always been there. And I did it love it when I read the fifth script that he had become so wealthy, because he’s got black beards, magic that is the most powerful thing on the planet. And I like that it brought out the vulgarity. Barbossa isn’t somebody with any sense of personal style whatsoever. And Penny Rose offered me a costume, and I said this is great. He wouldn’t care if he mixed checks with strikes.And what else does he spent his money on, you know. I love the fact that the wooden leg — I said this is a great way to show how ridiculously wealthy he is.”
Q. Did he really wear the wooden leg?
GR: went down that path and talked to a prosthetician who specializes with amputees. You know what I mean. And the engineering they do now — if you see people that have a leg from the knee down, it’s molded beautifully in titanium or whatever. And I saw something the other day with — they’ve now got a machine where the feet kind of ripple. And it’s amazing engineering. But he said it takes these people maybe 12 to 18 months to really get all their musculature and their core muscles to kind of realign with and to train it to be a good part of you. And when I had it strapped up, I couldn’t stand up. I mean it was just impossible. And I said you know what? I’ll act the leg.
Geoffery Rush on “the monkey” on his shoulder
“And I used to love it. It was very comforting, ’cause I’d feel them on my shoulder going, eee eee eee eee eee eee ehuh-eee eee. You know, making all those little noises. And you just get very warm soft, aromatic, peanut breath [LAUGHS]. So, every time I had the monkey in the scene there was a real kind of, you know, connection.”
Geoffery Rush on Johnny Depp
“Johnny was the king of the independent films here, great characters like Edward Scissor Hands and What’s Eating Gilbert Great and all of the things that he did. For him to create such a unique, unpredictable pirate — there’s nothing like it in literature or cinema before. ”
For character development he say Johnny “had been toying with the idea of, you know, I like the British rock stars of the ‘60s” as some inspiration for their characters. He wanted with Barbossa to “make him very arrogant and very pompous and very superior and maybe a bit slightly [CHUCKLES] self-diluted about how bright he actually is.”
“We’ve sort of decided now that the Black Pearl is our mutual girlfriend and we both want her.
Geoffery Rush on Kaya Scodelario
“Kaya is such a gorgeous actress, and she’s got a very feisty, natural funky quality. My daughter worked on the film in the costume department, and they’re the same age. And I don’t know if Skin’s shown here in the states. It was very popular teenage series in the UK, and Kaya played one of the main characters in that. And I love the fact that she’s, you know, extolled as being this really brilliant, female astronomer. And the fact that she, you know, for all of her rationale, empirical, scientific aspiration, she still has to [CHUCKLES] deal with the fact that somebody like Salazar existed as well, who’s supernatural. You know, that’s always been a part of the series.”
Captain Barbossa takes on a whole new attitude – not quite new – you KNEW it was coming if you have seen the others, in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but it’s a side of him that I loved. Trying to keep our interview spoiler free I’m not going to say what that side was but that in a way it was unexpected and created a real AHHA moment in the movie. It also had me leaving the Dolby Theater, and even now, wondering “What will they do next!?”
GET ON BOARD AND SET SAIL WITH PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES!
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters May 26th, 2017 in 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D! Like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES on Facebook and follow Walt Disney Studios on Instagram and Twitter .