The cast and director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” sat down with the folks at Disney for a Q&A session about their film. Here are a few snippets from their interviews.

Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Syrena)

DISNEY: Did you do any research for your role?

BERGES-FRISBEY: I tried to research mermaids throughout history in literature and film, but these mermaids are very different. They move more like fish and they are very animalistic.

D:What was it like to work alongside actors like Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp?

B-F: It was fantastic. I learned so much from watching them work. They put a lot of effort into their work, but they also manage to have a lot of fun – and I really liked that about them. I got to see how normal, ordinary and humble they are, despite being incredibly professional, hard-working and lovely people.

D: Do you get the sense that Penelope and Johnny love what they do?

B-F: I feel that they are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work on amazing characters again and again – but most of all I love the way that they are so humble. They are two of the biggest stars in the world, but they are so normal, generous and welcoming. They are amazing.

D: Did you get to speak in both French and Spanish on the set of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? After all, Johnny Depp spends much of his life in France and Penelope Cruz in Spain…

B-F: Yes, I did. English isn’t my first language, so it was a breath of fresh air to speak in one of my home languages when working on certain scenes in the movie. I really enjoyed speaking to them in French and Spanish. It helped me relax.

Geoffrey Rush

Geoffrey Rush (Barbossa)

DISNEY: Have you got used to the scale of the sets involved with the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies?

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.

D: How long does it take you to get into character each day?

R: 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.

D: What does the makeup process involve?

R: 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.

D: What is the secret behind the success of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise?

R: 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.

Cast of Pirates 4

Penelope Cruz (Angelica)

DISNEY: How would you describe your character in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?

CRUZ: I play a pirate called Angelica in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Angelica is very tricky, manipulative and dangerous when she has to be. She loves games, but she has a good heart and she has a religious background with very strong values, so she’s full of contradictions.

D: Exactly how manipulative is Angelica?

C: Angelica knows that to be the equal of people like Jack Sparrow, she has to be a very good liar, a very good actress and a very good manipulator. I think that’s what makes the character so interesting. In order to get what she wants, she knows that she has to manipulate people.

D: Is Angelica successful at manipulating Jack Sparrow?

C: Angelica has a personal score to settle with Jack, but at the same time she needs him because they are both on a mission together. They spend the entire movie tricking each other, but at the same time they help each other, too.

D: How did you approach this interesting relationship?

C: It was great fun to create this fantastic relationship by working with Johnny Depp. Whenever we work together, we always end up playing characters that fight. We played a married couple in a movie called Blow where we fought in every single scene. And in Pirates Of The Caribbean, we fight a lot, too. We’re always playing enemies that love each other.

D: How would you describe Johnny Depp?

C: One of the things that surprised me the most about Johnny Depp is the fact that he’s incredibly humble. He’s extremely kind to everyone and he’s very sweet, but he also has a really brilliant mind. He’s smart, clever, fast and funny. In fact, he’s one of the funniest people I know. However, he also has a very big heart.

D: Angelica dances the tango with Jack Sparrow in the movie. Were those scenes fun to film?

C: Johnny was a little scared about the tango. At first, he kept saying, “I’m not going to be able to do this. I’m not a good dancer. I can’t dance!” But then he learned the choreography in two minutes. He’s a great dancer with a fantastic sense of rhythm. I guess that isn’t surprising when you consider the fact that he knows how to play a lot of instruments. He’s a very good singer, too.

Rob Marshall (director)

DISNEY: How did it feel to sign up as director of the fourth movie in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise?

MARSHALL: I was extremely excited to join the franchise because I am a huge fan of the first three movies, but I was also impressed with the way that Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer were so welcoming to me. I think we were all aware that the biggest danger with the fourth movie would be to sit back and think, ‘Oh, we don’t have to work too hard because the audience is going to watch it anyway.’ You have to work extremely hard. Also, I think the fact that we had a completely new story with all these new characters worked in our favor.

D:Did you go back and watch the previous three movies during your preparation for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Or did you deliberately avoid them?

M: I didn’t re-watch the movies, as I wanted to start something fresh.

D: Did you hesitate for a moment before accepting the job?

M: Yes, I hesitated initially because I wasn’t sure about the schedule. I like to take a little time off in-between movies, and I had just literally finished a film. But after meeting Johnny Depp, I had no hesitation whatsoever.

D: What are the pitfalls of directing a movie on this enormous scale?

M: When you’re creating a movie like this, sometimes the story and the acting can get lost because of the technical elements involved — so I worked hard to keep plot and performance in the forefront.

D: How did your previous career as a choreographer help you on Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?

M: I wasn’t quite anticipating how similar filming an action adventure would be to directing large-scale musicals. When you’re working on a movie like this, it’s all about rhythm – but instead of production numbers, you have action set pieces. And as with musical numbers, the action needs to feel organic and advance the story and develop character.

Sam Claflin

Sam Claflin (Philip)

DISNEY: How did it feel to work alongside actors like Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?

CLAFLIN: I have been over-awed and overwhelmed by this amazing opportunity to work on the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. It’s been a dream come true to watch people like Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz act and to discover how they work. They are incredibly generous actors, and to know that they’re very down to earth is both inspiring and admirable.

D: How much has your life changed since you finished work on the movie?

C: To be honest, I don’t feel like anything has changed. I live a very normal life in London. I get on the subway, I get on the bus and I meet my friends in the same pubs that I used to go to. Life is still the same.

D:Do you think you’ll make the move to Hollywood full-time in the future?

C: It would be a dream to have a house in both the US and the UK, but I don’t see that ever happening. At the moment, I’m very comfortable and I feel very much at home in Britain. But who knows what the future holds?

D: How much is your desire to remain in Britain influenced by your friends and family?

C: My friends and family – and everybody who has helped to get me here – all live in London. I feel that if I abandoned all that, I’d miss out on a lot. Obviously, if work brought me out to Hollywood then I’d love the option of being able to work there for six months or however long, but at the moment I’m comfortable being in London. I love it.

You can also check out some concept art of the mermaids below the post. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is out on DVD and Blu-ray October 18.

Ian Mcshane and Johnny Depp

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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