MOTW: Five Interesting Facts About "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures
January 24th, 2014

The exciting adventure film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," provides a fun look into a fantasy world filled with pirates and heroes. This hugely popular film was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, an award-winning television and movie producer. It features mysterious adventures and sword battles, along with touches of romance and plenty of humor. The dapper Captain Jack Sparrow is played by the charming and funny veteran actor, Johnny Depp. Sparrow is captain of the ship The Black Pearl and enjoying the rowdy life of a pirate. When The Black Pearl is stolen by the crafty, older Captain Barbossa, Sparrow's life is plunged into chaos and misadventure. Barbossa (played by Geoffrey Rush) is cursed to live forever among the undead. He and his scary crew kidnap the lovely Elizabeth Swann (played by British actress Keira Knightley), the spirited daughter of the governor of Port Royal. Will Turner, Elizabeth's admirer since childhood, teams up with Jack Sparrow to rescue Elizabeth and recover he stolen Black Pearl. British actor Orlando Bloom stars as the handsome and hapless Will Turner. The talented cast of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" combines with over-the-top special effects to create a heart-pounding, yet humorous, adventure of thrills and chills on the high seas.

Award-winning Costuming of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl"

This 2003 movie release was honored with a Saturn Award for Best Costumes. From Jack Sparrow's red headscarf and billowing pirate shirts to Elizabeth Swann's tight corsets, the costumes carry visual messages about characters and locations. The scruffy costumes and eye patches help to deliver the flavor, and sometimes the consequences, of life as a pirate. The contrast between Jack Sparrow's flamboyant dress and the darkness of Captain Barbossa's clothing conveys a message without words.

Casting the Role of Captain Jack Sparrow

The brilliantly wacky performance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow identifies him forever with that role. It is difficult to imagine anyone else as the captain of The Black Pearl. However, that was not always the case. Famous actor Matthew McConaughey was considered for the role of Jack Sparrow during casting of the film. Sources claim that the role of Sparrow was originally written with Australian actor Hugh Jackman in mind. Geoffrey Rush, who plays the infamous Captain Barbossa, is also a native of Australia. Robert de Niro turned down the role as Jack Sparrow because he believed the movie would flop at the box office.

Blockbuster Fantasy Adventure Movie Turns Into a Huge Moneymaker

Filled with action, mystery, romance and humor, the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" was produced on a budget of $140 million. The dramatic special effects featured throughout the movie captured the attention of movie fans around the world. The filming also included expensive scenes of vintage-replica wooden ships during fight scenes on the water and dramatic costuming and makeup. Outside of the U.S. market, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" topped the box office for seven straight weeks. Investors were handsomely rewarded with box office returns that were more than four times the original cost of production.

Pirates as Rock Stars

In preparing for his role in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," Johnny Depp decided that pirates were the equivalent of rock stars in the 18th century. As a result, he played Jack Sparrow with the swaggering, rules-breaking attitude of a 21st century rock star. Depp stated in interviews that parts of his portrayal of Sparrow were based on the behavior of his good friend Keith Richards from the iconic band, The Rolling Stones.

Contact Lenses and Tattoos

Johnny Depp was fitted with contact lenses that worked as sunglasses to prevent the actor from squinting in the sun. Depp has a multitude of tattoos in real life. For the filming of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," the costume and makeup departments concealed his tattoos with his clothing and rubbings of charcoal. The Jack Sparrow tattoo seen in the movie was not a real tattoo. However, Depp did add the Jack Sparrow tattoo to his personal collection after filming was complete.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" started a fanciful franchise of Pirates of the Caribbean movies that have added to the appeal and charm of action-packed pirate movies. As of 2014, four films have been produced with a fifth slated for release in 2016.