The 'Pirates' Life on the Set, The Arizona Republic (US), July 3, 2003
by Bill Muller
While making Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the
Black Pearl, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley shared more than their on-screen
romance. During filming, both young English stars were shipwrecked for real, and
both had trouble catching their breath - albeit for different
Knightley, star of the sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham, found
herself aboard a sinking speedboat after shooting scenes with co-star Johnny
Depp on a nearby island.
"The boat started going down, we had to jump out,
and we realized we'd washed up on a reef," says Knightley, who rescued a
"sparkly purse," a cowboy hat and her passport. "We waited there in the pitch
black for about 45 minutes before two Frenchmen came in a rubber dinghy and
rescued us. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my entire life.
can safely say I'm a Method actress now because I got shipwrecked."
known for his role as the elf Legolas in The Lord of the Rings films, found
himself in a similar situation with a borrowed kayak, which had a hole that he
discovered too late.
"We thought, 'Well, we'll just paddle around the
island," he says. "Well, we get halfway around the island and it started to sink
. . . so we had to kind of get rescued and towed in."
Bloom played his own
rescuer during a scary sequence that featured his character trapped below the
decks of a sinking ship.
"You have to get yourself into that state of panic,
and it is really unnerving," Bloom says.
"At the end . . . I couldn't grab
the air (hose) so I just swam out of the set. I was, like, done, like a
little guppy swimming to the surface."
Knightley also had trouble getting air, mostly
because the film called for her to wear a corset. Determined to shrink her waist
to Scarlett O'Hara proportions, Knightley often felt faint.
"I hated that
corset," she says with a laugh. "It's so painful. It's like beyond oxygen
She was also dizzy during a "walk the plank" sequence.
they'd just say 'OK, jump, I would have been fine," says Knightley, who shooed
away a stunt double and leaped into the water to complete the scene. "But it was
standing up there for two days with the bloody plank wobbling about . . . it
just completely freaked me out."
In the film, which opens Wednesday,
Knightley plays a governor's daughter who is kidnapped by a band of cursed
pirates, who transform into skeletons in the moonlight. Bloom plays her
childhood friend and would-be suitor, who vows to rescue her from the evil Capt.
Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) with the help of flamboyant pirate Jack Sparrow
Besides their common exploits on and off the screen, Bloom and
Knightley are also both on the cusp of stardom.
Knightley's path was more
unlikely, considering her actor father and playwright mother tried to steer her
away from show business.
Undeterred, Knightley demanded an agent at age 3
(she was turned down), but finally got her way after being diagnosed with
dyslexia. Her mother challenged her to read every day during summer vacation,
and when she did, she was allowed to act.
But she wasn't permitted to miss
any school, and her parents made sure she stayed grounded.
"They did not want
to have a stage-school brat," Knightley says.
Of her co-star Bloom, who has
become a magazine-cover teen heartthrob, Knightley says, "He's fanciable."
think he's got that androgynous sort of boyish look," she says. "I mean terribly
attractive boyish look, so he's sort of unthreatening to teenage girls, I
Bloom, 26, said he was impressed with the maturity of Knightley,
who was 17 during filming and only recently turned 18.
"She's very talented,
very beautiful," Bloom says. "I think she's going to go the distance . . . she's
got all the goods."
Bloom, who's rocketed to fame with The Lord of the Rings,
said he's amazed at the dedication of his young female fans, including one who
drove three hours to a set in Australia, then waited another nine hours for him
to finish filming.
At the same time, fame is not something he ever
"It's flattering, but to be honest I'm not really interested in
being a celebrity," he says. "It's not really about that. I like the work. I
enjoy being an actor."