It was on this day (9th July) back in 2003, that Captain (that’s right – Captain) Jack Sparrow first swashbuckled his way into our hearts, after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released in US cinemas, 12 years ago.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film is loosely based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. The plot follows the unlikely alliance between charismatic pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and a blacksmith called Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), as they attempt to rescue Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) – the governor’s beautiful daughter, who has been kidnapped by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his cursed crew aboard the Black Pearl.
Production on the film was decidedly rough, as filming was marred by two incidents; In the scene where Jack Sparrow steals the Interceptor, three of the ropes attaching it to the Dauntless did not break at first, and when they did finally snap, debris hit Depp’s knee. Though he was not seriously injured, the way the incident played out on film made it look as if Sparrow merely ducked. A more humorous incident occurred when the boat Sparrow was supposed to arrive in at Port Royal sank.
The script, which was first realised in the early 1990s by Ted Elliott and Terry Russio, was often changed on set, with memorable last minute additions including the scene where Gibbs (Kevin McNally) regales how Jack allegedly escaped from a marooned island by strapping two turtles together to make a raft.
The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike and proved to be an unexpected success – grossing over $654 million worldwide. Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow (which was inspired by The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards) was also universally praised – winning him a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. To this day, Depp still visits children’s hospitals around the world, dressed in his infamous Jack Sparrow costume.
The movie quickly spawned into a series, with two back-to-back sequels (Dead Mans Chest and At World’s End), released in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The franchise has since gone beyond the original story arc (which centred on the combined exploits of Jack, Will and Elizabeth), with a fourth film entitled On Stranger Tides, released in 2011. A new instalment – Dead Men Tell No Tales – is scheduled to be released in 2017 and will see Depp reprise his role for a fifth time.
Remind yourself of this Disney live-action classic, in the trailer below.