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    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl turns 20 years old

    Today marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which marked the beginning of the tenth most successful series in cinematic history. True, viewers from Russia were not very lucky and the picture was released in Russian cinemas at the end of August. Despite the undoubted success of the first film, no one initially believed that the tale of the sea robbers would become the basis for such a successful film series.

    While pirate stories are very popular in culture, they have long been unlucky with a decent portrayal in the movies. Suffice it to say that for a long time the “Red Corsair” in 1952 was considered his greatest success, after which each such project encountered significant obstacles in its implementation.


    In the minds of film producers, this image was most strongly entrenched after one of the biggest box office flops in film history, Renny Harlin’s infamous “Thug Island”, which all but sunk the then-not-so-successful Carolco label. In this case, it was not even the quality of the film itself, but errors in its production, as well as in marketing, which led to extremely low interest in the film, which earned only ten million dollars against almost a hundred million in production costs, as was said. for years.

    Not surprisingly, when Disney first came up with the idea of ​​making another pirate movie based on some of the company’s theme park rides, the question was whether it would be a low-cost production aimed directly at the video market, or whether it would be a show that would appear. in cinemas. The management of the giant initially chose the first option, but at the same time, among those who considered the form of the new production, the idea of ​​​​creating something that the audience had never seen before began to mature. She was supposed to combine the typical motifs of the past with fantastic threads that had already begun to appear in the first versions of the script.

    The first draft of the script was provided by Jay Wolpert, best known for his work on TV quiz scripts. In March 2002, Stuart Beatty was co-opted as the writer most knowledgeable about pirates. However, when Dick Cook, who was in charge of the project, decided to hire Jerry Bruckheimer as a producer, the latter immediately rejected the first draft of the script, saying that there was no point in making a simple pirated film. This decision appears to have been pivotal in shaping the final look of the series, as the concept of pairing an adventure-adventure production with a fantasy film was revisited.

    Jim Carrey was originally cast as Captain Jack Sparrow, but he was filming Bruce Almighty at the same time. In numerous speculations, the name of Christopher Walken again appeared, as well as Michael Keaton. Luckily, however, the aforementioned Dick Cook met Johnny Depp back in 2001, who at the time was interested in landing a voice role in one of the latest Disney animated films. Cook decided to cast a bait and mentioned to him that Disney was trying to make a series about pirates. Depp immediately liked the idea, and Bruckheimer immediately jumped on it, seeing in the star one of those actors who could give the main character exactly the amount of personality that is needed to actively promote the film.


    Both of them, of course, were not mistaken, but Jack Sparrow was originally supposed to be a completely different character. Indeed, both the writers and Disney management originally intended him to be a very typical pirate ship captain, again modeled after Burt Lancaster. However, when Depp began to study the history of 18th century pirates, he discovered that at the time they were considered downright adventurous, just like today’s rock stars. It was then that the actor came up with the idea that Keith Richards should become the model for his character, who, by the way, later appeared in subsequent films of the series. However, not only was Depp’s unusually idiosyncratic performance during filming, but the decision to make the character he played stand out with gold teeth was not greeted with enthusiasm by everyone.

    Among the most outspoken critics of the form that new Disney productions were beginning to take was one of the producers, Michael Eisner, who felt that the way Depp played his part would ruin the whole enterprise. However, Gore Verbinski gave the go-ahead to his team to go ahead with the plans, and when the producer saw the result of their efforts, he was so enamored with it that the film was given the green light after all.

    Other members of the cast deserve special mention besides Johnny Depp, because while Jack Sparrow’s performance proved to be a magnet for the film’s audience, the other members of the cast also deserve their triumph. And Orlando Bloom (who won the role from Heath Ledger, mainly due to his role in The Lord of the Rings), and the then 18-year-old Keira Knightley, who was rumored to be so sure that she would be fired after a few days of filming armed with only a few essentials. Crazy Sparrow was opposed by the much more stereotypical Barbossa Captain Geoffrey Rush. The role was rumored to be turned down by Robert de Niro, fearing the film would be a financial failure, which he later regretted.

    The film turned out to be a huge success, earning over $650 million (against a budget of $140 million). The Disney film has gone through as many as five Oscar nominations, including for Johnny Depp, who, according to many observers, should have received a statuette that year (he lost to Sean Penn). However, the first film’s main contribution to pop culture appears to have been to lift the pirate curse that seems to have plagued numerous productions centered on sea robbers over the years. Without the huge success of Jack Sparrow’s Adventures, there might not have been a Black Sails series, or even last year’s Netflix animated film Sea Monster.

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