Geoffrey Rush, Interview

Interview with Geoffrey Rush for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 17th May 2011

Interview with Geoffrey Rush for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 17th May 2011

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Aussie Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush is one of those rare actors who mixes higher-brow fare like The King's Speech with more raucous roles such as the rogue Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Now Rush is back for his the fourth high-seas adventure in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. As this story kicks off, Barbossa has thrown his lot in with the 18th century British navy, racing against the Spanish, Captain Jack Sparrow and the notorious Blackbeard to find the Fountain of Youth.

Have you enjoyed how this series plays gleefully with pirate stereotypes?

Geoffrey Rush: In the first film there was a memo that sort of came down from head office saying we're not going to have any eye-patches in these films and no one's allowed to say "Argh!" But I slipped in one as a kind of post-modern quote. And in the third film Ragetti [Mackenzie Crook] loses his wooden eyeball and puts on an eye-patch, which we like to be seen as maybe the first pirate that ever wore an eye-patch.

And now you get to totter around on a peg leg.

Geoffrey Rush: Yes, no one's had a peg leg so far. Somewhere in the story between the end of Part 3 and the beginning of Part 4, Barbossa's lost a limb. I did go and work with a prosthetician who works with genuine amputees, because I was going to do that old Robert Newton [star of 1954's Long John Silver] thing of strapping my leg up the back and then walking on the peg. But he said it takes up to two years to train your muscles to find the proper restructuring and balance. So I said, "You know what? I think I can act the leg." And I knew that the CGI guys could work with a blue stocking and paint it out.

This film was shot all over the world. What was your favourite location?

Geoffrey Rush: Out on Kauai we were often on night shoots in fantastical bamboo forests or crawling through murky, strange undergrowth, skulking our way into the Spanish camp. The art department could feasibly create potent scenes like that in the studio environment. But when you're on location it does 90 percent of the acting for you, because you feel and smell things lurking around you. There's wildlife nearby in the scene with you.

Rich Cline

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