It’s something of a surprise just how popular the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has become. Eight years on from the release of the first movie, we’ve had two (not quite as good) sequels, more Jack Sparrow impersonators than you can shake a stick at, and Johnny Depp has gone from being the darling of indie filmmakers and horny teenage Goths, to an A-List celebrity.

Last Thursday we spent a day stalking the cast and crew of the film, first at a press conference, and then at the insanity that was the European premiere. And it really was crazy. Three floors of Westfield shopping centre, crowded full of fans, many of them in an absolute frenzy, waiting to catch a glimpse of the stars of the film. It’s now a few days hence and we can still hear the screaming…

We’ve cherry picked the very best, most interesting quotes from both events, and presented them to you here, below this badly written, rambling introduction.

Photos of the premiere also follow,

Johnny Depp – Captain Jack Sparrow

On Captain Jack Sparrow

With all the characters I’ve played, they’re all pretty close to the surface. Each and every one is still pretty accessible. Some of them I have to work up to, and other ones come just a little bit easier. Captain Jack, I’ve played him four times, he arrives pretty quickly. He arrives a little too quickly. He arrives in life a lot. Dropping the kids off at school, and he’ll just show up. It’s weird.


On working with Dame Judi Dench

It was the second time I’ve been lucky enough to work with Dame Judy Dench. Very brief on Chocolat, and very brief on this, but it was wonderful. She’s such a major force. Such a fun, smart, elegant angel. I was dancing with her on Chocolat, and I got to bite her ear on this one.


Geoffrey Rush – Captain Barbossa

On filming on location

In Hawaii we were often on night shoots in fantastical bamboo forests, or crawling through very murky, strange undergrowth, skulking our way into the Spanish camp. The art department could feasibly create, close to scenes like that, possibly, in a studio environment, but when you’re on location it does 90% of the acting for you, because you’re really there, and you do hear, and feel, and smell things lurking around, wildlife, that is silently nearby in the scene with you.

Again, some of the beach locations, it was historically fun, because the shore that we shot on for the lighthouse was where they shot From Here to Eternity. There’s something quite thrilling about knowing that Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster had played there before you.


Kevin McNally – Gibbs

On On Stranger Tides

What’s crazy about this is that I never, ever thought I’d be making it. There was always a sense that we might do three films, but to do four is just a great testament to everyone’s work, that they wanted to make the best films they could. We’re going to keep on going.


On the silver rings he and various other cast and crew members were sporting at the premiere

They were made by our makeup artist, Joel Harlow. We all got one at the end of the second film, I think.

We try not to let [the people only involved with the third and fourth films] have it, so they know we’re superior. They’ve got to know there place, these people.

Stephen Graham – Scrum

How he came to be involved with the film.

I’ve worked with John before, and I think he threw my name in the hat.


On bonding with the crew

I got on really well with the crew. The best thing to do with the crew is, when you meet a new crew, just get pissed with them first, and then you’ve got them then. You have a good night out with the lads and the girls, you’ve got them then.


Reflecting on how things have changed

When I was a kid I used to get on the bus to go to the youth theatre when I was fifteen, and I was on a speedboat, going to the ship in the middle of the Atlantic, and I was like ‘wow, it’s a long way from getting on the bus’. So I’d say, just keep your dream going, don’t give in. Just keep at it. And hopefully, fingers crossed, with hard work and dedication, and a lot of talent as well – there’s too much shit that you see on the telly these days, The Only Way is Essex, and all that  nonsense –people with talent, just keep it going.


On being in lots of projects with a historical setting,

I think it’s just my face. Maybe I’ve got an old face. To me the important thing is the script, and then the director, and then the rest of the crew. As long as I keep getting scripts that are based back then, I’ll keep doing them.

Sam Claflin – Phillip

On filming

It’s a childhood dream, isn’t  it, to be on a pirate ship. The thought of having spent three weeks, despite it being night shooting the majority of the time I was on that boat, the thought of it being, ‘I’m living The Goonies’, stayed with me, and I really enjoyed every single moment.

On the first time he watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

We’d just bought our first DVD player, and [Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was] the first DVD we bought with the player, we all sat down as a family and watched it.  It’s such a special sort of adventure for the whole family to enjoy. I have a younger brother, and older brothers, but none the less, we all enjoyed it as one another, it’s so special.


Astrid Berges-Frisbey – Syrena

On being involved with the project

I felt more than lucky. It’s an honour. I have the opportunity to work with the most brilliant actors ever, and a perfect director. I’m glad they gave me that opportunity. I’m just grateful.

Everybody, cast and crew, were so welcoming with the new part of the team, the family. They were relaxed themselves, and tried to enjoy, and have fun. Johnny, especially, has so much fun acting Jack Sparrow, and I think he just wanted to share that energy. Everybody is really humble as well.


On her accent and her character

[Syrena] is a mermaid, she comes from everywhere. Gemma Ward, the other mermaid, is Australian, and they were looking for a girl from anywhere, English, Australian, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian were doing the audition.


On watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and on seeing the Queen Anne’s Revenge set

I was 16. I was crazy about pirate stories. I remember I got up from the theatre, and a few hours later, I came back to see it. Like Sam, I was such a fan of The Goonies as well, and I remember when I came out, it was like that. The entire movie was well done, and Johnny created a special hero. I’d never seen a hero like that in movies before. When I got the part it was unbelievable. It was like a dream. Every day I ask myself, ‘is it a dream?’

I went to see the pirate ship, because I had no scenes on the pirate ship, and I was like a kid, a five year old girl, jumping everywhere, wishing to see every detail of the incredible ship they made. It’s a real one, by the way.

John DeLuca – Producer

On the differences between this and the earlier films he and Rob Marshall worked on

We always start with a script. We dive into that, then we cast it, then move on. The film, and do the post production, so it’s exactly the same. We were nervous, because it is a different genre,  but we attacked it like we attack anything.

Fewer musical numbers though.

Fewer musical numbers. Although the fights are similar. The way something moves is very musical as well.


On working with Jerry Bruckheimer

Great. Adored him. Positive, calm spirit around. He has the same sort of spirit that Rob and Johnny both have, which is a very positive, nurturing spirit. I’d never met Jerry before working on this,  and he’s this huge, Hollywood producer who does all these big blockbusters. He was just a gentle, wonderful soul.


On his future project with Marshall, a remake of The Thin Man

We’re getting [The Thin Man] ready. We’re working on it already, with Johnny again.  That’s how great this experience was. We decided on this while we were filming. We just thought, we love working with him so much, we have to do it again, and again, and again.

There was the original book, then there was the first film, which was based on the book, then there were five films after that. So it’s kind of going to have a lot of the feel of all of them, of course basing it on the original book. We’re still working on the script. Right now we’re just at the second outline, so we’re just finding out now, which is so great. We all just love the period, and the feel, and the martinis and murder and mystery, we’re excited.