I attended the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES #PiratesLifeEvent courtesy of Walt Disney Studios. All opinions are strictly my own.
I absolutely adore Geoffrey Rush and have as long as I can remember. We’re talking jumping around the house and slightly freaking out as I read the email stating we would be meeting and interviewing him during the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES Red Carpet Premiere Event. We’re talking TRIP MADE, people!
Seriously, how could you not? Think Les Misérables, Shakespeare in Love, Mystery Men, House on Haunted Hill … Finding Nemo (Yes, he was in that, too!) and much, much more. I’ve loved him and hated him. He made me laugh, he made me cry. And when he became Captain Hector Barbossa, my fondness, appreciation, adoration for him grew as I watched him evolve and develop his character on the big screen.
Did I mention that I was excited to meet him?
Anytime I am traveling and getting preparing to meet a celebrity, there is nervousness. I’ve sat in the room with some of the greats; (Hey, did you know that I’ve met Steven Spielberg?) and to this very day, there is still nervousness when Interview Day arrives. With Geoffrey, I could barely wait for him to get in the room but at the same time, wanted him to stay away because I was nervous about being in his presence. The man is brilliant!
Then the time was upon us, we were given warning that Geoffrey was on his way, and I knew that I had one chance to get this right. I was going to have to ask a question and I was going to need to make eye contact I order to deem this interview a success.
I’m pleased to announce … MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Here’s how it unfolded.
Before the poor guy had even settled in, I had called him by his first name and was ready to get started. The room filled with laughter, including Mr. Rush, and he looked around …
You played a different part of “you” in this film. How did it feel to take on a different Barbossa?
And storytime began …
GEOFFREY RUSH: Well, it’s sort of something that happened over the first four films, you know. I think in the first one, before I actually entered into the story, he was described rather fearfully by the two pirates that are now my assistants. [CHUCKLES] He’s spat out from the mouth of hell.
To me, that was the key line, I thought, well, whenever I enter into this story, if you don’t see that then he’s a liar [CHUCKLES]. So, he was pretty much the dark villain of the piece. As you know, he had to break the curse. I think it was a great twist of the story that we actually had to put all of the treasure back to reverse the curse, which I think I then enjoy having all my senses back for about 30 seconds. Then I got shot. [LAUGHS]
There is a sort of poignant but rather ridiculous comic madman. [CHUCKLES] And I thought that was fun. Some months later, Gore Verbinski, who was director in the first three, phoned me up and said look, it’s been such a success. And it was fun. It was just fantastic to think of someone like Johnny, the king of the independent films, great characters like Edward Scissorhands and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and all of the things that he did.
For him to create such a unique, unpredictable pirate; there’s nothing like it in literature or cinema before. And he got nominated for a Best Actor, which is just fantastic. These actual adventure films just don’t really get a look in on that territory. But I remember him telling me when we shot the first film, he said, we can’t be stereotypes. We’ve got to create really imaginative kind of people that an audience will get very engaged with.
He said, I’ve been toying with the idea of the British rock stars of the ‘60s because, the pirates always had sort of clear-cut identities. The real black beard used to have fuse wire burning in his beard and when people saw him they thought he was the devil. They would go from ship to ship from port to port. I said, with Barbossa, I want to make him very arrogant and very pompous and very superior and maybe a bit slightly [CHUCKLES] self-diluted about how bright he actually is. Penny Rose, the Costume Designer, gave me this great kind of flamboyant outfit and I was a bit more like a glam rock star.
Gore phoned me and said, look, we’re going to go to Asia and everything. And I said, well, that’s great. You’ll all have a marvelous time. It was really fun being in the first film. He said, oh, no, no, no. Well go to Asia. We’re going to have a new sort of Asian villain that Chow Yun-fat played. Then he said, you’re going to come back as a very secret surprise right at the end of the second film. I said, oh, right. How … I’m dead. [LAUGHS] He said, well, it’s going to be voodoo. I asked what he meant. Movie magic? No. He said Tia Dalma needs you to get all the global pirates together to break the curse that she’s under. It’ll become a big part of the story. So, I sort of became like a politician. I was the guy getting the global pirate G20 meeting together. That was fun to play, because he’s a control freak and he loves thinking he’s the most powerful person on the planet. Then I worked for the king. I liked that in Pirates 4. I said, I really insist that I have a very elaborate wig [CHUCKLES] and lovely makeup and a beauty spot.
The teeth were always the same. Unfortunately, when he put on the courtly makeup with his crusty skin, he didn’t look any prettier. [LAUGHS] So that sort of shit has always been there.
AND…. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE! But, that has been held for your protection to avoid SPOILERS!
You’ll thank me later.
You and Johnny have a great back and forth. Was that natural or did you have to work on that?
GEOFFREY RUSH: The scripts are always pretty good. They know the relationship, we’ve sort of decided now that the Black Pearl is our mutual girlfriend and we both want her. Then chances are that Jack Sparrow will end up with the ship, which he does, but that sense of harmony is never always going to stay there.
We would love to hear about the monkey a little bit.
GEOFFREY RUSH: The monkey’s great. They monkey’s trained to really have no relationship with me because if it did, it would just be looking for things to eat in my wig. They’re also very loyal to their owner if trained correctly. So, if I pulled a sword or somebody yelled fire or whatever, they monkey would just go – they’re very head strong. [CHUCKLES] They would lead the way and do all that sort of stuff. The monkey is completely in the hands of the trainer and the trainers are brilliant. They’re able to sort of throw in all of the instructions around the dialogue.
As the interview wrapped, I tried to win a seat next to my new found friend but everyone wanted to sit next to him. I can’t say that I blame them! I settled for a spot right behind him which worked great for the picture.
We all thanked him a million times over as he was leaving and that is when he shared two things with us.
First, his idea of the sixth film… should there be one … PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: BARBOSSA MEETS THE MOMMY BLOGGERS.
Second, OSCAR WINNER Geoffrey Rush said his time with us had been the best part of the trip.
That ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a successful interview!
As we settled back in, looked over notes from the conversation, and tried to process everything that was going on we discussed how amazing Geoffrey’s voice is, his accent, and how calming he is to listen to. We noted that he should record audio books because we all could listen to him talk for days! It wasn’t until after our time in LA that I recalled, he was the narrator of a little film that came out in 2015, Minions.
Geoffrey Rush was a class act and a complete delight to meet with. I swear I could and would stay up for days just to listen to him talk and I’m certain he has experiences and stories to last a lifetime. I hope one day, our paths cross again.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES OPENS MAY 26, 2017