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A Pirate Odyssey
"A movie like this becomes the pinnacle of your career,” notes executive producer Bruce Hendricks, who is also Walt Disney Pictures' president of physical production. "More than any other movie I've been involved with—and I think now I've been involved with almost 300 of them in one way or another—the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean' movies are the ones that you look back on and say, wow, we really accomplished something.”

"It was like fighting a war,” recalls Eric McLeod, also an executive producer on the film. "We had to build roads into places where people never filmed before, up mountainsides, through jungles, down into beaches. In Dominica we had 500 cast and crew spread out in 80 different hotels, condos and houses. 

We had 150 drivers spread out through the island every day to go pick up all those people. There were 40 accountants working out of offices in Los Angeles, Mobile, Alabama, St. Vincent, Dominica, the Bahamas and the United Kingdom, working with seven different currencies. It was a moving army. The focus is what's happening in front of the camera, but there's a massive circle of support required to get to that place.”

Serious preparation for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST and "Pirates of the Caribbean III” got underway in June 2004. Based upon the script by Elliott and Rossio, the production team knew that one island location—as it was in the first film—would not suffice. "From the early meetings with Jerry, Gore, Ted and Terry, we started to get a sense from the logistic standpoint of where we were going,” recalls unit production manager Doug Merrifield, who served in the same position on "The Curse of the Black Pearl.” "We knew that this time, we were going to be on various islands, versus just St. Vincent. We were going to have more ships to deal with. It was becoming apparent that we were going to be a road movie…although those roads were actually vast bodies of water between the different locations. Beginning in late spring/early summer '04, we began to thoroughly scout the Caribbean once again.”

The pirate strongholds of Port Royal and Tortuga, familiar to viewers of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” were newly designed by Rick Heinrichs and reconstructed in St. Vincent's Wallilabou Bay, which also served as the location for the first film. Dominica, a green and unspoiled paradise of burgeoning eco-tourism that's just 29 miles long and 16 miles wide with a population of only 71,000, served as the backdrop for an extraordinary range of locations, from its palm-studded beaches, jungles and rain forests to a lofty plateau. And in the Bahamas, the company would film in both The Exumas and, further north in the chain, in an oceanfront facility on Grand Bahama Island.

"Some of these islands have few hotels, not many restaurants, little infrastructure,” says executive producer Chad Oman. "That's Gore having a huge imagination and a tough gut to choose those locations despite the challenges, and you've got to give credit to the studio for allowing him to do that. Dick Cook, Nina Jacobson and Bruce Hendricks all put a lot of confidence in both Gore and Jerry.”

At highest ebb, nearly 1,000 people were working in various departments during pre-production of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST, ranging the world from Los Angeles to London to the Caribbean. It was an effort which defined "synergy,” as artists and craftsmen pooled their skills to invent the impossible. And writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio did not just deposit the splendid screenplay with the filmmakers and sail off into the sunset. Instead, they sailed off with the company to every single location, a constant presence on the set, constantly creating and reinventing whenever the need arose. "The reason our writers are here is because we have such a crea

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