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The Stunts & Pirate Look
"The biggest trick for George and the stunt team was how early on we had to shoot the skeletons,” says Verbinski. "Because our delivery schedule was so insane, we had to shoot completely out of order and begin even before we were able to figure out exactly how we wanted the fight sequences to fit into the rest of the action. That's also why we had to build some ships on stage and some down in the Caribbean. All of those factors presented a lot of challenges in terms of rehearsal time.” 

In early November 2002, production moved to San Pedro to begin shooting in the Port of Los Angeles and dockside with the Interceptor and the Dauntless. Portions of intricate ship-to-ship battles and elaborate fight scenes were staged in the South Bay, some of which were then completed in the Caribbean. For close to two weeks, shooting at night with the temperature dipping into the 40s, stuntmen and actors alike scaled the ship's rigging, climbing over her bulwark and onto the deck, in a surprise attack. Suddenly dozens of pirates and sailors were dueling to the death, dueling over and over again, until Verbinski, his cinematographer and stunt coordinator were satisfied. Then Verbinski would find a new angle for his camera, and the action would start again and keep going until sunrise. 

"There are moments when the pirates get involved where it gets a bit vicious,” Verbinski says, "but it's a tricky balance because I want my seven-yearold son to be able to see this.

” When Keira Knightley first glanced at the script, she had no idea what physical feats would be demanded of her. "I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, this is going to be easy! I'll sit in the back of carriages, I'll wear pretty dresses, I'll pout a bit; it will be fun,'” she jokes at her own expense. "I never imagined the amount of stunt work I'd do, and for someone as lazy as I am, it was rather challenging.” 

Every pirate movie requires that someone "walk the plank.” In "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley spent almost three entire shooting days standing at the end of a long two-by-four, protruding from the side of the Black Pearl's deck, 15 feet over the rolling ocean waves. No stunt person, no body double, no look-alike or dead ringer need apply; it was Johnny and Keira balancing at the end of that plank. 

"I'd been standing on that plank for two days, with nothing but air around me and water below. I was absolutely petrified,” recalls Knightley. "The plank is quite narrow like a diving board, so it bounces up and down when you move and even when you just stand there. 

"When it came time to jump off the board, Gore told me I didn't have to do it, that he'd have my stunt double, Sonia, do it,” she continues. "I said, ‘I've been standing up here for two days! Do you really think I'm not going to jump off this thing?' So I jumped in that long dress. I was terrified. I asked Gore if he wanted me to scream and he just said, ‘Whatever comes out.' I screamed my head off. The only interesting bit was when I hit the water and the dress went over my head, I showed off my knickers. I was so girly, but I was proud of myself. I don't know what I must have looked like,” she laughs. Despite her initial fear, Knightley came up smiling, unscathed by the experience. 

"Attempting to swim fully clothed in pirate gear with boots strapped to your legs was more difficult than I'd imagined,” agrees Johnny Depp. "The stunt work on this film was infinitely more intense than other stunts I've done, and I was dragged on the ground for blocks by a team of horses in ‘Sleepy Hollow!'” he jokes. "Luckily I had a great stunt double in Tony Angelotti who took care of me and made me look good. I just stepped in and made faces.” 

Gore Verbinski knew exactly what he wanted his Pirates of the Caribbean to look—and smell—like. "I didn't want the


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