Pirates are taking over Cannes…. Get the low down from Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and co…

Johnny, you have presented films many times at Cannes, how does it feel to be back here?
JD: I have always feared the critics, they scare me. and that’s why we have come to Cannes! [laughs] it’s a great honour to present a film such as this in such an incredible arena and to have so many people see the film. It’s a real honour. It’s the pinnacle, so I am very very honoured to be here. Is it your normal Cannes fare? No, I wouldn’t say that, but we were invited to show it and we are excited about it, the wine’s not bad, the food’s good, the people are nice. [laughs] Do I think the audience will like it? I think so; I am thinking that people will like it because from the very first second, all of us went out of our way to deliver something to the people that was expressly made for the people.

Penelope, what was it like working with such a talented cast?
PC: I felt very very lucky, it was a privilege to spend time with them and to share scenes with them. I had worked with Johnny 12 years ago, and it was about time that someone put us together again. I have so much respect for him, he is so free and so inspiring. He’s really a very unique human being, a very unique artist, and it is an honour just to be around him. He is very inspiring in every single way, so I hope that we get to work together many more times.

Johnny, what was it like working with Penelope again after all these years?
JD: The opportunity to go back and work with Penelope on any film would have been a gift – a sublime gift – because she is such a talent… So smart, so funny, so talented. Beyond that she is an amazing person, she is a great friend and a very very loyal friend. In the context of the work, when you get into the ring with her, whatever you throw out, she is going to grab and throw back then she’ll throw a few things herself that really keep you on your toes. She’s a real talent and I would do more films with her if she would let me. [laughs]

Penelope, what was the biggest challenge for you in this film?
PC: The biggest challenge was perhaps learning how to use the sword in the action scenes… But the biggest biggest challenge was to keep a straight face during the dramatic scenes between me and Johnny – that was very difficult.

Johnny, how does your family respond to your films?
JD: My family have seen more of my movies than I have! [laughs] Including this one! I started out secretly testing characters on them to see what their reactions would be. My daughter and I would be playing Barbies and I would start doing these voices, and she would say “Stop” [laughs] I can tell by their reactions whether I have done all right or not. So I am very lucky in that way. The only real drag of not seeing the films that I make is that I don’t get to see other people’s work, so I’m going to ask next time, in my contact, if I can have a version where I am cut out, but everybody else is in! [laughs]

Johnny, what qualities do you think someone needs to be a good pirate?
JD: I can only speak from my experience, I suppose you have to be willing to get fired. I think the only qualities a pirate needs are ignorance and persistence!

Rob, how different was directing Pirates Of The Carribbean 4 from directing Nine?
RM: There are more men in this one, that’s for sure! My great joy, working on anything, is stepping out in front of the camera with the actors. I feel very blessed because I have had two extraordinary casts back to back. Obviously, Penelope was in both of the films, and there is a reason for that – she is extraordinary as Johnny said so beautifully. This was an enormous production and the thrill of this for me, was that we got to travel all over the world shooting it. Some of us are used to this size of a production, but most of us aren’t and we were so aware – especially in this day and age – of how lucky we were to make a film on this scale. We felt very responsible to make sure that this was a great film and not rest on the laurels of this great franchise.

Ian, How did you feel as a newcomer to the franchise?
IMcS: It’s nice to be asked! To play the iconic Blackbeard… In the mornings before we stuck on this incredible beard, I used to listen to a lot of music, especially Bob Dylan’s song Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather. The way of playing any character is to look the other actors in the eye and try not to strip over your sword… My sword was three times as long as everyone else’s! [laughs] It was also nice to play an evil character – because I have played quite a few of those – but one that I can see with my grandchildren. We don’t call them evil characters, we call them complicated people. [laughs]

Penelope, how has winning an Oscar changed your career?
PC: It didn’t change the way I make a decision on doing or not doing a movie. It was a beautiful thing. the good thing is that every time I look at it I see all the people who encouraged me and gave me opportunities to work. This was a dream for me growing up, and I got to do it again and again and again. For me, all of those things are there every time I look at it. I am very grateful.

Johnny, do you hope to win an Oscar one day?
JD: I am actually very comfortable with losing! [laughs] So I don’t mind. Obviously what it boils down it is, it’s very nice to be recognised for work that you did, but at the same time it’s not what you are doing it for, you’re in it for the process of creating and exploring and navigating yourself through these different waters. So… I’m not bitter! [laughs]

Geoffrey, how has Captain Barbossa evolved throughout the films?
GR: Barbossa keeps changing, he started off as an ass, then in At World’s End he sort of became a politician and now he has crossed the line and started to work for George II. I think on the second day of shooting there was a moment between Johnny, Penelope and myself where we were lying on the edge of this cliff. Rob was there and he said ‘It’s like Liza Minelli, and Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr working together’. Johnny then dropped into the most amazing impression of Sammy Davis Jr and Penelope started singing a Frank Sinatra song, so I must have been Liza Minelli. It was a very useful note because working in the court of George II was a new thing and I had to go out there with a new sort of energy. [laughs] So it was great for me as an actor.

Geoffrey, how different is it promoting a relatively small film, with a budget of $12 million, like The King’s Speech compared to something like On Stranger Tides?
GR: I think as Johnny said, I think it is different, because the budget on this was bigger than The King’s Speech. I think this was $13 million wasn’t it? [laughs] The scale of it is certainly different – on the call sheet one day it said there were 800 people for lunch. As an actor I don’t think we approach it in a different way, I mean I am still analysing the script to find out about this character, what he actually does – whether it’s playing a speech therapist or playing a pirate – the fact that I keep working with people called King George is very useful [laughs], but I don’t find it different.

 

Words – Brogen Hayes