Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth installment of the franchise. In the film, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds himself the target of Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), an undead pirate who seeks revenge on Jack who had cursed him during one of his pirate hunting expeditions. So in order to avoid being killed, Sparrow joins forces with Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) – the son of Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Turner (Keira Knightley) – and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a horologist accused of witchcraft to find the legendary Poseidon’s Trident before Salazar does.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with our fellow journalists to talk to the cast and crew of the about the film. First up in these round of interviews are the newcomers to the franchise: Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites. The two talked about their experience watching the first film as kids, what it was like to be in a scene with both Johnny Depp and Jack Sparrow, strong female characters, and what they love about the ride that inspired the films. Check it out below.
Geeks of Doom: For the both of you, how old were you when you watched the first film and what was the first thing you had to do with Johnny Depp.
Kaya Scodelario: I was 13.
Brenton Thwaites: I was 14.
Kaya Scodelario: When I saw the movie when it first came out, I remember it being a huge part of the social scene at school. Before social media and all that. When you actually used to whisper on the playground, discuss what was cool and what everyone was going to watch.
Brenton Thwaites: When humans used to talk to each other.
Kaya Scodelario: It was totally the thing that everyone was talking about. That was really exciting for me. So when I got on set, I had met Johnny [Depp] at the table read, and that was really cool, and I really admire him as an actor. But when he does step on set as Jack Sparrow, I completely lost it. I went full fangirl. He’s such an iconic character. He’s like Mickey Mouse. He’s created something that requires so much craft as an actor but is also so fun and easy for everyone to enjoy, and I think that’s pretty amazing to create an iconic character.
Brenton Thwaites: I was excited to see that number five was linking to number three. I feel like number four went off tangent a little bit, and although it did very well and people loved it, I loved it as well, we lost a little bit of that storytelling and the qualities that we love so much from the first three. So when I found out that the characters were continuing the storyline from the third, I was excited and see where it would go.
But I agree with Kaya, seeing Jack Sparrow for the first time was more intimidating than Johnny. Seeing Johnny for the first time he’s really nice, sweet, and friendly, But in costume, seeing him as Jack Sparrow for the first time was mesmerizing.
Geeks of Doom: How terrifying was it for you to be in that noose during the hanging scene?
Kaya Scodelario: It’s quite scary actually. I didn’t think it would freak me out as much. But I instantly thought of my mom, thinking that she would not like seeing this. But it was fine. They had it on a magnet. So if anything were to happen it would pop open.
Brenton Thwaites: They didn’t actually tie a real noose around her neck. (laughs)
Kaya Scodelario: They had it all worked out. But I had actually broken by shoulder the week before. So having my arm in that position was the hardest part. I had to wear a sling in between takes and rest as much as possible, but shooting the scene was safe.
Geeks of Doom: So how did you break your shoulder?
Kaya Scodelario: I slipped on the Black Pearl of all things. We had it on a gimbal so it looked like it docked on land and I was running from the bow to the stern, and I tripped on one of the steps. And I caught myself with my left arm and that’s when my shoulder popped out.
Geeks of Doom: Kaya, Your character is accused of practicing witchcraft, how many studies did you actually do in witchcraft?
Kaya Scodelario: I was born on Friday the 13th. My mom is Brazilian, so she’s very superstitious, and she said I have a witch’s freckle on my left ear. So I feel like I had that in me anyway.
Geeks of Doom: Brenton, your character is a descendant of the original characters, so how do you relate to him?
Brenton Thwaites: I feel like I can relate to Will in terms that we are fighting for similar goals. We’re both very focused and driven and fighting for what’s good. We both have a moral compass and don’t steer outside of that. In the first one ones, Will is fighting to save his father and Henry is doing a similar thing in this one. There’s similar determination in the characters.
Geeks of Doom: What did you both have to go through to get the role?
Kaya Scodelario: I actually had the script years ago, when it was making the rounds the first time. The part was very different the first time, the part was actually two female characters. So they didn’t really know who she was at the time. Then it disappeared and came back around a few years later, and I was actually doing the second Maze Runner movie, and I needed to do a self-tape and I didn’t have time to do a late audition. So I got the boys to do a tape with me. They played all the characters, Jack Sparrow, Gibbs, and all of that.
Brenton Thwaites: That’s a short film in itself. (laughs)
Kaya Scodelario: Yeah! And then I was flown out to LA to do a chemistry test and read with Brenton, he was already cast. It was to see how well we could work together and lift the dialogue from the page and if we could make it work or not. Luckily, we had a really cool connection.
Brenton Thwaites: I auditioned here a few times in LA, and what happened from there was a meeting with the directors and they took me through their ideas and dreams for the project. Then the movie was on hold for a while, and those guys went and did something else, and I did a few other movies. When it came back around, I think I auditioned similar material, it may have even been the same scene. What followed that round as a meeting with [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer at his studios. Then I was cast for the chemistry reads with Carina, and that’s where I met Kaya.
Geeks of Doom: What about exploring your characters further in future films?
Kaya Scodelario: I would really like to, especially with the way this movie ends and this new identity she is suddenly given. I think it would be awesome if she would like to follow in daddy’s footsteps or if she wants to focus on astronomy or combine the two. I think there could be quite an interesting thing there.
Brenton Thwaites: There’s a nice moment at the end of this movie that feels like the start of a journey. The great thing about this is we’ve come so far and done so much, and at the end of it, it’s the start of something. I feel like Henry and Carina have such a great journey despising each other with separate beliefs, basically, they start a relationship when they start to understand they are on similar paths. It would be great to see those similar paths go somewhere. To take a journey someday. To where I don’t know. Doing what, I could guess.
Kaya Scodelario: That’s a bit presumptuous but okay. (laughs)
Geeks of Doom: Kaya, it’s always been important for this franchise to have a badass kind of girl. So how important is it for you to find these roles in films that are very male driven?
Kaya Scodelario: It’s completely important. Because it’s the biggest thing, and there’s a reason why that question is never asked a guy. It’s because their characters are always fleshed out, and their characters are always interesting. It’s assumed that they are going to be strong and independent. Yet, there still has to be this conversation about a strong female role. While it’s a shame, I also think it’s great we are speaking really honestly about it now, and I am happy to fly a flag for that. It’s an honor to play a woman that is so layered and so interesting. Because I don’t know a single woman that is simple or can be defined in one word or one sentence. So why should that be what we see in a movie? There are so many stories to be told. So many layers to be peeled back. So I am grateful for Disney making it part of this franchise and still holding strong with it.
I’d maybe like to see five chicks in the next one.
Brenton Thwaites: Can I be the one guy?
Kaya Scodelario: You can be the one guy. He’s feminist, he’s allowed.
Geeks of Doom: Can you guys talk about your experiences on the ride?
Brenton Thwaites: I’ve been on the one in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago, and the one in Anaheim a couple of days ago.
Kaya Scodelario: A couple of days ago?!!?
Brenton Thwaites: Yeah!
Kaya Scodelario: Why didn’t you invite me?
Brenton Thwaites: I was doing the family thing.
Kaya Scodelario: I’ve never been to Disneyland. I would have gone with you.
Brenton Thwaites: The one in Anaheim is great for story because you’re there and you see the old dolls. It’s fun and a great ride. I had my little kid with me, and she was loving it. But the one in Shanghai is a spectacle. It feels like 150 foot screen. 180 degrees in curvature. You feel like you’re at the bottom of the ocean. It’s in 3D, so there’s water being thrown at you, and there’s air, and everybody’s screaming. It’s crazy.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in theaters on May 26, 2017. If interested, you can read our review of the movie as well.