In 2003, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” premiered to low expectations.
The film was based on a Disney theme park ride, and it looked like yet another hokey — if family-friendly — Disney film.
The movie proved everyone wrong. Critics praised it as a swashbuckling, witty adventure. Johnny Depp earned an Oscar nomination for the eccentric, shrewd Captain Jack Sparrow. Keira Knightley was introduced to the world as Elizabeth Swann, and Orlando Bloom — also starring in “The Lord of the Rings” series at the time — left fans swooning.
14 years later, the franchise is now five movies long. Like a Fast and Furious” of the seas, it just keeps going. “Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), “At World’s End” (2007), “On Stranger Tides” (2011) have made billions of dollars at the box office, even as critics lob rotten tomatoes at them. The new movie, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” keeps the franchise going and marks the return of Knightley and Bloom, who weren’t in “On Stranger Tides.”
Here’s where the main actors of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” have been up to between the 2003 premiere of “Curse of the Black Pearl” and the latest installment:
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In 2003, Depp was at the height of his popularity.
Depp brought the off-kilter sensibility he cultivated with Tim Burton films — with roles in movies like “Edward Scissorhands” and “Ed Wood” — to Jack Sparrow, which would become his biggest role yet.
“The Curse of the Black Pearl,” based on a theme park ride, made $650 million worldwide and earned him a best actor nomination at the Oscars.
Since then, audiences have grown tired of him and his financial life is in pieces.
Depp followed up “The Curse of the Black Pearl” with more “Pirates” movies, another iconic Tim Burton collaboration in 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and critically acclaimed performances in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Public Enemies.” He also played the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland,” which made $1 billion at the box office. By the end of the decade, he had three best actor Oscar nominations under his belt.
But the triumph of the 2000s turned sour in the 2010s. He stuck with the same wacky schtick in his acting, and audiences grew tired of it in little-seen movies like “The Lone Ranger” and “Mortdecai.” He has the clout to make some interesting passion projects, like “Rango,” “The Rum Diary,” and “Black Mass,” but not all of them were successful.
Depp also had a tempestuous marriage with Amber Heard, which ended in 2016, after Heard alleged that Depp physically assaulted her. The charges were dismissed in court. Heard donated the entire $7 million divorce settlement she received from Depp to charity, half of which went to legal defenses for women who have experienced violence.
To make things worse, Depp is embroiled in a lawsuit with his former business managers for mismanaging his finances, while there are allegations that Depp spends beyond his means and acts unprofessionally on set. If “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a hit, it might just save him.
Geoffrey Rush was a regular, acclaimed actor in the British film industry.
By 2003, he had an Oscar and BAFTA award for 1996’s “Shine,” as well as a handful of other Oscar nominations and other awards. “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” where he played the villainous ship captain Hector Barbossa, was his first big blockbuster role.