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Every Saga Must Make A Start
…And for AT WORLD'S END, that beginning was as early as April 6, 2005, when the first scenes for the film were shot in production designer Rick Heinrichs' Tortuga set constructed in Wallilabou Bay on the beautiful and atmospheric island of St. Vincent in the West Indies, giving that tiny country a three-for-three batting average, having hosted all of the "Pirates” films. And ironically, the sequence was one of the final moments in the film. Of course, shooting this scene was in concert with the simultaneous filming of "Dead Man's Chest,” and it's doubtful if the challenge of producing and directing not one but two massively scaled epics could have been more daunting to Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski and their collective production teams and company of actors. But the point was, they were up for it, and then some. "Anytime you make a movie it's a challenge,” says Bruckheimer. "But when you try to prepare two movies at the same time, that's a serious challenge. You just don't get the kind of preparation time that you need for the second movie, let alone the first movie.

"But from the producer's point of view,” he continues, "it was the only way to make the second and third ‘Pirates' films. You have Gore Verbinski, who is a directing star based on the first movie and his other work. You have Johnny Depp, who has been a star for years, but who broke out into a huge, mainstream audience on ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl.'You have Orlando Bloom, who blossomed even before the first ‘Pirates,' and became a superstar after it was released. And then you have Keira Knightley, who's come into her own right as a phenomenal young actress. To get all of them together for two movies, if you did it separately, there would be three or four years in between before you could figure out their schedules and make all of their deals to get slots. Blocking out their time based on two back-to-back movies, as well as Gore and the screenwriters, Ted and Terry—as well as keeping together the rest of the crew—meant that this was the only way to go.”

Although the majority of filming in both St. Vincent and the following West Indian location of Dominica were for "Dead Man's Chest,” Verbinski also took full advantage of the exotic locales for required AT WORLD'S END sequences as well. A convoy of production vehicles bumped along half-constructed or barely constructed roads to access St. Vincent's Black Point Beach, a spectacular stretch of sand and rugged surf. On Dominica, the very first scenes shot on the re-designed and re-built Black Pearl—which had sailed almost 2,000 nautical miles from the Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama—were filmed, re-uniting Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush as his old nemesis, Captain Barbossa. Here on Dominica, at Capucine Point, we see the Black Pearl and her passengers approaching Shipwreck Island, one of the most spectacular settings in AT WORLD'S END.

Despite the fact that less of St. Vincent and Dominica are seen on screen in AT WORLD'S END than in "Dead Man's Chest,” executive producer Eric McLeod points out that "in the end, technically, this film was shot in more places than ‘Dead Man's Chest.' In addition to St. Vincent, Dominica, the Exumas and Grand Bahama Island, AT WORLD'S END was also filmed in different locales in Southern and Central California as well as Hawaii and second unit filming in Greenland and Niagara Falls. Gore wants to take the audience on a journey to places they haven't been to before.”

With the lion's share of filming during this period going to "Dead Man's Chest,” followed by a summer hiatus while the huge open studio tank was being constructed on Grand Bahama Island, the next scene to be filmed for the film wouldn't be until August 31, 2005, with Chow Yun-Fat joining the cast as Captain Sao Feng for scenes shot on Disney's Stage 2 in Rick Heinrichs' lustrou

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