The Pirates of the Caribbean series is one of the most surprising movie franchises around. Few would think that a film based on a theme park ride would be a worthy cinematic experience. Yet the series has spawned five installments to date, received several academy award nominations and has become one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time.
Part of the reason the films have built such a strong fan base is because of its characters. Captain Jack Sparrow has become an unforgettable and unexpected cinematic hero while a supporting cast of famous actors and interesting characters has helped keep the series going for over 15 years. Here are some of the hidden details you missed about the main characters in Pirates of the Caribbean.
10 Almost Jack Sparrow
It's very hard to imagine anyone else but Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow. He brought a very strange and unexpected take on the character that paid off brilliantly. Aside from making the movies exponentially more entertaining, Depp was even nominated for an Oscar for the odd role. But he wasn't the only actor considered for the role.
Apparently, the role was written for Hugh Jackman to play, with Jack's first name even being a nod to the actor. Other actors who were seriously considered include Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken, and Jim Carrey.
9 Keira Knightley Was A Teen
Though she was no stranger to acting at the time, Keira Knightley was a relative unknown when she was cast in the role of Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Surprisingly, she was actually only 17 when she took the role that would launch her to stardom.
It was reported that Knightley's age made Depp concerned about his character's attraction to Elizabeth, which does seem creepy in retrospect. While Knightley was thankful for the role, she does admit fame at such a young age was difficult.
8 Barbossa's Name
One of the most memorable characters in the franchise is Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Jack's arch-nemesis and occasional ally. Barbossa is one of the few characters other than Jack who has appeared in all movies in the series to date.
Though Rush plays Barbossa as an English pirate, the character was originally written as Italian. His name could also be a reference to the Turkish pirate Barbarossa, also known as "Redbeard". It is not until Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End that his first name is revealed to be Hector.
7 Elizabeth Sword Fighting
In the series' first film, Jack and Will are off on an adventure to rescue Elizabeth from Barbossa and his crew of damned men. Unfortunately, this means Keira Knightley was mostly relegated to the role of damsel in distress for much of the film.
Those kinds of roles are likely not overly interesting for an actor, so it's not surprising that Knightley fought to have Elizabeth included in some of the action scenes. While she did not get her way in the first film, Elizabeth becomes a formidable warrior in the sequels.
6 Will's Jack Sparrow Impression
Depp's unusual performance as Jack certainly brought a lot of energy to the films and gave the other characters a great oddball protagonist to react to. During their quest to save Elizabeth, Jack is partnered with the noble Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) who is essentially his straight-man.
However, Will does get a couple of laughs of his own such as the scene where he does a hilarious impression of Jack. The moment was Bloom's idea who had been practicing on set while watching Depp and asked for it to be included.
5 Creating Davy Jones
There are some who think that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies should have stopped at one and that the sequels got too overly complicated. However, the early sequels have at least one worthwhile inclusion with the villainous Davy Jones (Bill Nighy).
The character is a wonderful digital creation brought to life by Nighy's captivating performance. Remarkably, this was achieved with very little use of make-up augmentation. Nighy would perform motion capture on set in one of the first instances of this technology being used in this way.
4 Elizabeth's Betrayal
The second film, Dead Man's Chest, left fans on a bit of a cliff-hanger as to what became of Captain Jack. As the monstrous Kraken hunts down the Black Pearl, Elizabeth realizes it only wants Jack. As the others escape, she kisses Jack, distracting him, then handcuffs him to the ship to be killed.
It's a genuinely surprising moment and apparently was an idea Knightley herself came up with during the writing process. Even more interesting, no other actor on set that day was made aware of the kiss between Jack and Elizabeth so Bloom's shocked reaction is genuine.
3 Barbossa's Apple
In the first film, Barbossa and his men are cursed after stealing sacred gold and must live as immortal ghouls for eternity unless the curse is lifted. Barbossa laments the curse has stolen his ability to taste food and says all he wants is to eat an apple again.
After seemingly being killed at the end of the film, we see an apple fall from his hand, suggesting he was saving it for the moment the curse lifted. Barbossa does indeed return from the dead in the sequel and the first thing we see him do is to take a big bite of an apple, getting his wish.
2 Depp's Troubles
The Pirates of the Caribbean films helped catapult Johnny Depp into a new level of superstardom. He became the face of these films, but as his personal problems began to mount, Depp became more of an issue for the franchise.
During the filming of the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, it was reported that Depp would often show up to set late and that his various legal issues caused massive delays in filming. Though he returned for a fifth film, it's not too surprising that Disney was considering a reboot without Depp.
1 Best Swordsman
One of the most thrilling aspects of this franchise is the sword fighting sequences. The various inventive set pieces are genuinely impressive and entertaining, with expertly choreographed fights. While most of the characters seem to hold their own quite well in a fight, not everyone is as skilled as the others.
According to the filmmakers, Will Turner is the best swordfighter in the series and given his level of practice, it's perhaps not hard to see how. More interestingly, Jack Sparrow is apparently the worst of all the characters as he doesn't have much technique.