Pirates 4 star Geoffrey Rush sat down to talk about his work on the movie, his acting career, and more! Check out the full interview below!
Are you a fan of the extras that come along with DVDs and Blu-Ray disks?
Geoffrey Rush: I love the bonus material you find on DVDs. In a funny way, the bloopers and the behind-the-scenes coverage is like a great personal home movie for me. Some actors like to photograph their experiences on a movie set. They take pictures of the friends and the mates they work with, but I never get around to it. However, I recently looked at the DVD bonus features for a movie called Elizabeth and it felt like I was watching a home movie of all of my friends. The DVD teams manage to record everything much better than I could. It’s very professionally done, not like a hand-held camera.
Have you got used to the scale of the sets involved with the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies?
Geoffrey Rush: I don’t think you ever get used to working on a movie like this. The scale of everything on these films is always jaw dropping. The scale or performance that’s required is sometimes jaw dropping, too.
How long does it take you to get into character each day?
Geoffrey Rush: At first, it seems to take an eternity – but as the shoot goes on, you get much slicker. We got the time in makeup down from about two-and-a-half hours to one-and-a-half because everybody becomes really efficient with time.
What does the makeup process involve?
Geoffrey Rush: There’s a lot of preparation involved with my character’s makeup. You have to rough up the skin, stick on the beard, put on the wig – and then you put on his clothes once you’re ready. You slowly build up to Barbossa, which is great for getting into the character. However, I always feel that the hat completes everything. Once the hat goes on, I enter into the spirit of it and I truly become Barbossa.
What is the secret behind the success of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise?
Geoffrey Rush: At its heart, I think the great diversity of characters in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise has been very appealing to audiences, especially with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Johnny created an entirely new and different pirate, and everybody fell in love with the character.
Did you know how popular the franchise was going to become when you first started work on the original movie?
Geoffrey Rush: The first film took everyone by surprise because there had been a 50-year period where nobody had been able to crack the pirate genre. People had tried to reboot it in many different forms, but it just didn’t capture popular imagination. When the first Pirates Of The Caribbean film came out in 2003, I was reading one of the entertainment magazines and I remember seeing about 50 movies mentioned, including a lot of talk about Charlie’s Angels 2 and The Incredible Hulk. However, Pirates Of The Caribbeanwas buried somewhere down the bottom.
Do you remember the tide turning when the movie was released?
Geoffrey Rush: Yes, and I think Jerry Bruckheimer’s instincts were quietly accurate because he chose a very late weekend in the summer to release the film. The first movie came out in the States in July, not May, and it just sort of ignited.
Did your kids visit the set during the film shoot?
Geoffrey Rush: My kids have visited a number of sets during the filming of the various Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. In fact, I’ve got a series of photographs from 2002 onwards from their various set visits. There are photos where they are up to my hips, then my chest, them my ears and now they’re even taller than me. Barbossa always stays the same, but the children have grown up a lot.
Do people remember you more from Pirates Of The Caribbean than from your Oscar-winning role in Shine?
Geoffrey Rush: It completely varies. If I’m out and about in public and someone makes eye contact, I can tell what movie they recognize me from. I can see them approach me and I think, ‘This is going to be a House On Haunted Hill or a Pirates Of The Caribbean moment.’ You can pick the different demographics.
Are there any similarities between Barbossa and Aksenti Poprishchin, the character you recently played in the play, The Diary Of A Madman?
Geoffrey Rush: I like to build up a diverse gallery of characters, but the theater is a very different medium because you take ownership of the performance almost exclusively. You collaborate with other actors and the director, but ultimately – when the show is running for two hours every night – you’re in charge of it. There’s nobody editing your performance.
Are there any similarities at all?
Geoffrey Rush: I guess there is an overlap between Barbossa and Poprishchin in the sense that I gravitate towards characters who operate in some kind of extreme world. I’m not as interested, nor as skilled, at playing the nuances of smaller lives. For me, the bigger the better.
You’re quoted as saying there’s a scary side to acting. What do you mean by that?
Geoffrey Rush: There’s a certain vulnerability to the job description and at the same time you constantly want to better yourself or outdo yourself – but it can be really scary. However, you up certain technical capabilities with experience. I now know that when I work in the theater, I will get four or five weeks to rehearse and I know how to get the best value out of that time frame so that I’m ready and prepared. But at the same time, you’re constantly thinking that you could go out there and bomb really badly. That’s scary, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on movies or in the theater, there’s always something at the back of your mind that says, ‘Are you going to bomb today?’
You’ve spent many years working on Hollywood movies. Why do you still live in Australia and not in Los Angeles?
Geoffrey Rush: I was in my mid-40s when I made my first film, but I was probably set in my ways and I knew that I wanted my kids to grow up in an Australian education system. It was practical for me to be able to live in Melbourne, Australia, but still be able to work internationally. The studios say to me, “Well, we’ll fly you over. That’s fine.” And that’s great for me. Work keeps happening and now I have a lot of frequent flyer points. I couldn’t be happier!
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES is Available on Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray Hi-Def Combo Pack October 18th!