‘Pirates 4′ Interview: The Lovely (but Deadly) Mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 9:47 pm,

When Jerry Bruckheimer, Rob Marshall, Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Caribbean crew began to think about the two actors that would portray the young lovers in the latest installation of the Pirates franchise (in lieu of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann) the search went global. To fill the role of Philip (the minister set adrift in a sea of bloodthirsty pirates) the team tapped twenty-four year old British actor Sam Claflin, fresh out of theatrical training – as well as a few smaller films and television series. (You can read our interview with Claflin HERE).

To portray Philip’s love-interest, the stunningly beautiful and absolutely deadly mermaid Syrena, the production found Spanish-French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey. We had the chance to interview Berges-Frisbey at the Los Angeles press day for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Though we normally don’t take this approach, allow us to set the stage of our interview for you: had we attempted to imagine the ideal setting for an interview with a French super-model, it could not have been more perfect.

I walked in to find the stunning Ms. Berges-Frisbey sitting on her balcony, smoking a cigarette, drinking red-bull out of a high-ball glass, and eating chocolate in small increments. When I approached, the actress very graciously asked me if it was okay for us to convene outside and if the smoking “hurt” me.

I assured her that the smoking did not, and when she made the kind offer of a cigarette (though it had been over two years since my last indulgence) I figured, “hey, when with a French super-model…” and took a moment to smoke a cigi with the lovely Ms. Frisbey.

Berges-Frisbey had the opportunity to play a character that has rarely been seen in cinema over the last several decades, a ferocious and fearsome mermaid. The actress agreed that, “The mermaids in the movie are different than the mermaids we have seen before, and the mermaid that I play is even different than the others because she meets Philip.”

pirates mermaid Pirates 4 Interview: The Lovely (but Deadly) Mermaid Astrid Berges Frisbey

The mermaid depicted above is representative of what we see of Syrena’s “sisters.” They are more the sirens of lore than the “little mermaids” we have become accustomed to in films. These ladies are indeed outstandingly beautiful women who lure men to their bloody and brutal demise. Syrena stands apart from the other mermaids as one with a mysterious quality of compassion, just as Philip differs from the humans he is accompanying as a man of integrity and wisdom. “I think that their relationship symbolizes something really great and powerful,” Frisbey mused, “like kind of two cultures meet and try to trust the other one and take off all the protection.”

“I like the mystery. I like that you don’t know how magical they are. You don’t really know their world and you don’t know how she appears here and there. I like that you don’t know where they live and you don’t know really anything about them. It was so interesting for me to play a part that is not really human.”

In terms of finding her character (a being of the unknown) Frisbey consulted with both director Rob Marshall and “the CGI person in charge of the mermaids” who would update her as the look of the creatures developed. The visual references helped the actress imagine the world she would inhabit. The mermaids in this film have been likened to “vampire fish” – given the look of their (seriously terrifying) incisors. Coincidentally enough, Berges-Frisbey had to live a bit like a vampire during the course of production. Staying indoors and out of the sun all day, and only venturing forth to socialize at night.

“I wanted to be really pale. Because they live really deep underwater, so they never get sun. I had just come from a set that was outside so I was quite tan, so I really wanted to get rid of the tan.”

Astrid Berges Frisbey mermaid Pirates 4 Interview: The Lovely (but Deadly) Mermaid Astrid Berges Frisbey

In addition to the vampiric existence the actress endured to achieve the look of Syrena, Berges-Frisbey spent four to five hours in the make-up chair putting on a prosthetic breast plate (so that she would appear naked) as well as the “dots” – so that the CGI tail and the more fish/creature-like appearance of her face in certain moments could be created.

Many people are finding the mermaids to be one of the more compelling aspects of this film – begging the question will we see a to the world of the siren creatures and a reprisal of her role in future iterations of the Pirates franchise? According to the the actress:

“Everything is possible in a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie, people can die  and come back even. So you don’t know. I think they will try to find the perfect script. I trust them about the way they will write the next one. I don’t know if I will be a part of it… but I know, definitely, I will watch it. I learned so much, and had such a good time, so it’s impossible to not wish to be part of the next one, but I don’t know.”

Certainly anything is possible in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and though nothing has been settled definitively yet, the franchise star, Carn’ Jack himself , Johnny Depp quipped in the Pirates press conference that, “There’s a very clever idea about 5 and 6, we’ll shoot them on the ride just in nonstop circles. Like Warhol’s sleep. Closeups on everyone.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is in theaters now.

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TAGS: pirates of the Caribbean 4

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  1. Her subplot with Phillip was the most interesting portion of the movie, in my opinion.

    • I completely agree. And yet they had so little screentime and i don’t even understand what happened to them in the end.

      • yeah you guys are right, and i also dont understand what happened towards the end with syrena and phillip until i have red the post of the administrator of the pirates of the caribbean on the facebook that goes this way, “phillip was wounded and syrena, the mermaid can heal him if he would ask, then syrena kissed him and dragged phillip into the water but phillip never drowned because a kiss from a mermaid allows human to breath underwater.” that’s what happened at the end of the movie!hope every body can read this…thanks..!im also expecting that in the 5th movie of the pirates of the caribbean astrid will be also one of the characters on it! coz she’s very interesting and very lovely!

        • i totaly agree

        • He asked her for forgiveness and she took him underwater to heal his abdominal injury to heal him because he was about to die.

        • OMG!!! I hope you are right, which I’m pretty sure you are because that’s what I got from the movie when I watched it. This is one of my favorite movies and one of the best movies I’ve seen in a very long time. Hope they keep ‘em coming! :)

        • I was also wondering. Thank you, thank you for finding that and posting it:

          (the post of the administrator of the pirates of the caribbean on the facebook that goes this way, “phillip was wounded and syrena, the mermaid can heal him if he would ask, then syrena kissed him and dragged phillip into the water but phillip never drowned because a kiss from a mermaid allows human to breath underwater.” ).

        • Can breathe under water…got it. Still doesn’t answer the bleeding stab wound he was dying from.

        • I know it’s about nine months too late to reply to your post, but whatever. This is exactly what happened at the end… she dragged him in the water to heal him, and since she kissed him, he could breathe. I’m praying they’ll be in the next movie, I choose they’re romance over Will and Elizabeth’s!!

    • i agree

  2. I just watched the movie today and I completely agree with the post of Jason. Furthermore I found this young lady very beautiful.

  3. I love the subplot with Phillip and Serena. I kind of wish they would come back and mermaids were great.. wow!!

  4. she was great, and so was sam claflin.

    they have much, much, much more chemistry than keira knightley and orlando bloom. And they’re way more interesting.

    • I agree

  5. what song did the mermaid sang in the movie? thanks :)

    • the song the mermaid was singing in the movie was jolly sailorbold

  6. Syrena was so cute and sweet!
    And you could see they liked each other from the moment he opened her glass tank.

  7. Astrid Berges-Frisbey was superb and lovely.The entire film has become more interesting to watch because of this unique vampire mermaid plot.I wish we could see more of the underwater world of mermaid in next sequel of the Pirates

  8. I loved the second line story in this movie which was clear and unclear about the ending or future of any other sequels regarding the Priest and the mermaid. I would also liked the chemistry between Jack and Angelica. Hope to see more of both. I am hoping the priest was saved from a painful ultimate death.

    • I am not sure that anything good will happen between Jack and Angelica because after the credits of the film she is stranded on the beach and finds the voo doo doll of Jack that Blackbeard had made and starts grinning in a horrible way.

    • i agree with you carter in this movie the chemistry between philip and mermaid was good today i saw this movie 19th time

  9. I really liked the scene with the mermaid specially “serina”. she’s really cute..

  10. Oh that was very wonder full role done by the ASTRID…. and she is very good actress and i love to watch her and love her… so if she read this comment so i request her to please meet me…… because i am a big fan of her and also want to meet this mermaid…. sorry just joking… i mean this DREAM GIRL….. :)

  11. The depiction of growing love between sweet calm mermaid serena(astrid)&priest phillip(sam) is most loveable &charmingportion of film .Hope they return in future in next part of franchise.

  12. I LOVE THE MOVIE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ON STRANGER TIDES),JOHNNY DEPP MADE THE MOVIE GREAT,AND ALL THE OTHER CHARACTERS WAS GREAT TO,I LOVE PENELOPE CRUZ IN THIS MOVIE IT’S LIKE I NEVER MISSED KEIRA KNIGHTLEY AT ALL,DON’T GET ME WRONG SHE IS GOOD,BUT PENELOPE WAS BETTER TO ME,THE GIRL WHO PLAYED SYRENA THE MERMAIDE WAS PERFECT AND ALL THE REST OF THE GIRLS,I ALSO LOVED THE TWO MEN WHO PLAYED CAPTAIN HECTOR,AND BLACKBEARD THEY BOTH WAS A FOOL(THAT MEAN WONDERFUL) AND I LOVE JACK MAN MR. GIBBS,AND ALSO THIS NEW MAN IN THE MOVIE (OSCAR JAENADA)AS THE SPANIARD.THE MOVIE WAS GOOD AS ALWAYS.

  13. I LOVE ALL OF THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN MOVIES,I HOPE WHEN THEY WRITE A NEW ONE THE PUT SAM CLAFLIN AS PHILIP AND ASTRID BERGE’S-FRISBEY SO THEY CAN HAVE A MAN MERMAID AND HE CAN BE HER LOVER AND THEY CAN HELP CAN JACK IN THE NEXT MOVIE,I REALLY LIKE ALL THE CAST THAT HAVE BEEN IN EVERY PICTURE OF THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN MOVIES,THEY ALL ARE WONDERFUL.

  14. My 12-year-old son believes that the missionary was taken to the ocean depths to be eaten.

  15. Syrena’s kissing allowed Philip to breath underwater, the pirates said it when they were searching the mermaids :/.

  16. The last scene of Philip and Syrena was not meant to be a mystery. It was clear what happened. Many have already explained it, so I will not. This said, I very much liked the subplot between the two, and also agree that the mermaid parts of the movie were the most interesting. I doubt the two will be back for a further movie, as they were pretty much finished, and nicely so, in this installment.
    As far as Jack and Angelica, although I usually very much like the actress, Penelope, I just found her simply irritating in this movie and I did not feel there was any chemistry between the two, whatsoever. There was much more chemistry in just a few isolated moments between Elizabeth and Jack in previous movies that was far more interesting. Finally, I didn’t think Will and Elizabeth a truly believable pair. Not much chemistry there either.

  17. It was my Favorite Hollywood movie .I saw this movie for more tan 10 time only for the Astrid.
    What a beauty,she is so amazing and Beauty to see …. I love him very very Much ……………..!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. θα ήθελα να πω ότι το πιο ενδιαφέρον μέρος της ταινίας είναι η σχέση που αναπτύσσεται μεταξύ της Σειρήνας και του Φιλίπο από την πρώτη στιγμή . Η συνεχεία της αγάπης τους πρέπει να είναι στο πέμπτη ταινία ‘pirates of the caribbean’ γιατί όλοι οι άνθρωποι περιμένουν να δουν τι θα γίνει με την Σειρήνα και τον Φιλίπο που ελπίζω να έχει αίσιο τέλος αλλά ……….. πρέπει να δοκιμαστεί η αγάπη τους και ΔΕΎΤΕΡΟΝ αφού ο Φιλιπος και η σειρήνα αντικαθιστούν με κάποιον τρόπο τους ρόλους του orlando bloom και της kaira …. άρα θα πρέπει να παίξουν και στο πέμπτο των ‘pirates of the caribbean ‘ .Για αυτό παρακαλώ τον συγγραφέα-σκηνοθέτη δεν ξέρω και εγώ ποιος να γράψει και μια περιπέτεια για την Σειρηνα και τον Φιλιπο που να εχει αίσιο τέλος και για τους δύο ή να πεθάνει ή η Σειρηνα ή ο Φιλιπος και έχω σκεφτει πολλές εκδοχές για το τέλος .

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