Exclusive Disney Pirates Interview with Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters on Friday, May 26th, marking the 5th time we’ve seen Captain Barbossa – the witty, villainous, pretentious pirate.
Geoffrey Rush is SO good in this role! And if you know the franchise well, you know just how integral a role Captain Hector Barbossa is to the whole series (almost as much as Captain Jack himself). That remains true in the 5th installment! So, we were thrilled to sit down with Geoffrey Rush during our #PiratesLifeEvent trip for a a fun, exclusive interview! And truth be told, the time went WAY too fast. He’s an amazing storyteller and we could have listened to him talk ALL day! 

On Captain Barbossa…. 

After a little fun banter as he entered the room, the first question was about his role as Captain Barbossa and the evolution of the character over all of the films. And he started in telling fantastic stories, all about the part. Since some things are spoilers (You NEED to go see the movie), I’m going to just give you a brief overview… 

From the beginning, Geoffrey said, “I wanna make him very arrogant and very pompous and very superior and maybe a bit slightly [CHUCKLES] self-diluted about how bright he actually is.” All of these are of course qualities are SO brilliantly executed by Rush in this role. He also likened Barbossa to a politician and a bit of a control freak. And, then in this movie, we see that Barbossa is quite thrilled with all the wealth he has. Geoffrey said the Barbossa has become SO wealthy that in this lastest installment, he really brought out the vulgarity of it all and of Barbosa’s lack of personal style. “Barbossa isn’t somebody with any sense of personal style whatsoever [CHUCKLES], you know. He wouldn’t care if he mixed checks with stripes.

On working with Johnny…

We also had to ask about working with Johnny, especially since the two characters have always had such an incredible back and forth in each of the films! Geoffrey had nothing but praise for his pirate co-star.

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, you know. ‘Cause that — 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, ‘you know,  we can’t be stereotypes. We’ve gotta create really imaginative kind of people that an audience will get very engaged with’.

And did they BOTH ever do that!!! Both of them are just SO fantastic! He said that he and Johnny actually had a discussion in the beginning about the glam rockstars of the past and incorporating some of that into the character. So fun!

On working with the monkey…  

If there is one thing iconic about Barbossa, I’d say it’s the monkey on his shoulder! So, we had to ask about the experience of working with the monkey in the films (which of course has been a few different monkeys over the years).

And boy did he have some fun stories! “It was very comforting, ’cause I’d feel them on my shoulder going, you know, making all those little noises. And you just get very warm soft, aromatic, peanut breath [LAUGHS]. So, every time I had the monkey in the scene there was a real kind of connection.” 

Then he shared a cute, little story about Pablo the monkey who he worked with on the last couple films. But, there was about a 5-year break between Pirates 4 and filming this one. Both of them were in getting fitted for costumes and Geoffrey said that when Pablo saw him, he made an excited face! Geoffrey asked the trainer if it was possible that Pablo would remember him after like 5 years and the trainer said, ” yeah, he’d remember the smell of your ear wax.” And then Pablo actually gave Geoffrey an original painting as a wrap gift, signed with a little paw print. How cute is that?!

And sadly, then the interview time ran out!!! So, you’ll have to go find out more about Captain Barbossa in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” when the movie opens in theaters nationwide on May 26, 2017!!!! After we took this group photo then, he was so kind and nice. He thanked us all right back and said that talking to us had been the most fun he’d had on the whole trip! I’m not sure I believe THAT ;), but he was VERY kind and humble and seemed to have just the best time telling stories! LOVED IT!

Disclosure: Disney hosted me in LA in order to attend the film screening and to participate in group interviews & media events. As always, all opinions, experiences, and love of Disney are entirely my own! Photo credit:  Disney and MomStart.com for all images.

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