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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN AT WORLD'S END

Props
Whether it's the weaponry of all nations, drooping telescopes, Jack Sparrow's rings, pieces of eight which actually resemble pieces of junk, a Pirate Code book or practically anything else one can imagine being handled in the pirate world, property master Kris Peck and his merry band could be relied upon to, by hook or by crook, come up with the goods. With the aid of armourer Harry Lu and historical adviser Peter Twist, Peck either found or fabricated a multitude of weaponry for pirates of all nations, the crusty Flying Dutchman crewmen and East India Trading Company troops.

As Gore Verbinski himself is the first to point out, filmmaking is a collaborative art. And for the past dozen years, one of the director's closest collaborators has been James Ward Byrkit, a true jack-of-all-trades who, though unseen and (for the time being, anyway) fairly unknown by the millions of "Pirates” trilogy fans, has made indelible contributions to the films on several levels. Byrkit's end roll title is the rather enigmatic "conceptual consultant.” He explains, "We had to come up with our own credit, because what I was doing sort of became a lot more expansive than just storyboards. Gore and I started working together when he was directing commercials, and I would storyboard for him. Then, when he started making movies, he would bring me in from time to time and my work expanded. For ‘Pirates,' we would talk about the script, story, themes, character beats, things that go beyond traditional storyboarding. The best part about films like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean' is that there's lots of room for creative enhancement.”

In addition to the more than 3,000 storyboards for "Dead Man's Chest” and AT WORLD'S END that Byrkit created (he also did three weeks of consultancy work on "The Curse of the Black Pearl,” doing the very first drawing of the Black Pearl and other ships), he also bounced back and forth between departments, such as production design, props and the pre-visualization team, helping with simplified animatics of the overwhelmingly complex action sequences that were a blueprint for Verbinski on set, and later, for Industrial Light & Magic's visual effects.

One project that truly demonstrates synergy between behind-the-scenes artists is the magical map to uncharted realms that our anti-heroes acquire from Singapore Pirate Lord Captain Sao Feng in AT WORLD'S END that will take them to, well, not only World's End, but places beyond, around, and upside down. "We had this big meeting back in July 2005 for which Gore called everybody in,” recalls Byrkit.

"He knew that he needed this great map, but wasn't sure what form it would take. He just knew that he wanted it to be very special, and something we hadn't seen before. He also wanted there to be secrets to the map: perhaps it changed form and revealed things. We came up with things as varied as something like a pop-up book in which you grab the center of the map and pull it out like a Chinese lantern, or the idea that if you shone a light underneath the map it would project this whole universe, like a planetarium, on the ceiling or the walls. I actually bought a bunch of Chinese lanterns and tried to paint a globe on them, and spent about a week of research and development trying to see if it would work. And after a week, I just knew that it wasn't going to work.

"So I went back to an earlier idea that I had about a circular map with rings that represented metaphorical places to which you could travel, which I thought tied into the whole ‘Pirates' theme. Gore and I had been talking about the notion that ‘Pirates of the Caribbean' takes place during a time in history in which the maps weren't yet filled in, which means that anything is possible in the world. There are all these places in the world that are terra incognita—lands that a

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