Disney Responds, Kiera Knightley Nearly Drowns During “Horrific” ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Filming

in Disney, Entertainment

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in 'Pirates of the Caribbean'

Credit: Disney

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is responsible from bringing in billions to the Walt Disney Company, and while good storytelling was essential in the franchise’s success, so were the actors. Now, it is coming to light that there were many negative experiences on set that have led to years of therapy and trauma, but Disney has not spoken out on any of it.

Johnny Depp smirking as Captain Jack Sparrow in 'Pirates of the Caribbean'
Credit: Disney

The Pirates of the Caribbean film series, an American fantasy supernatural swashbuckler, is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and draws inspiration from Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name.

This successful film series has consistently surpassed $650 million in box office earnings for each instalment, with every film (excluding Dead Men Tell No Tales) securing a position among the top 50 highest-grossing films of all time. The journey commenced onto the seven seas in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a film adored by both fans and critics, amassing an incredible $654 million worldwide.

The triumph spurred Disney to embark on further cinematic adventures, introducing a second film titled Dead Man’s Chest in 2006. This instalment shattered financial records globally on its premiere day, ultimately becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2006, raking in almost $1.1 billion worldwide. The third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, continued to be successful in 2007, earning $960 million.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean
Credit: Disney

In 2011, Disney released the fourth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which surpassed $1 billion in earnings, making it the second film in the franchise and the eighth film in history to achieve this milestone at the time of its release.

The series concluded with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017. Altogether, the franchise has amassed over a whopping $4.5 billion, securing its place as the 15th highest-grossing franchise of all time.

The narrative follows the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), accompanied by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) across the films.

The original trilogy also features characters such as James Norrington (Jack Davenport), Pintel (Lee Arenberg), Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook), Marty (Martin Klebba), Cotton (David Bailie), Murtogg and Mullroy (Giles New & Angus Barnett), Bootstrap Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgård), Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), Governor Swann (Jonathan Pryce), Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy).

Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Credit: Disney

As we noted, Kiera Knightley starred in the film as our love interest to Orlando Bloom’s character. From Star Wars, Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually, Pride and Prejudice and more, she rose to stardom from the age of 6.

Her character turns from royal to pirate, as she joins for an adventure on the Black Pearl. She starred heavily in the first three films, and had a cameo in the fourth, and now, with more information of her on-set experience coming out, it is understandable why the actress pulled away from the film.

As said by Fandom Wire, “What many might not know is that an incident took place after the shooting of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl that nearly killed Knightley and two others. The entire situation was so serious that the rules of shooting were completely changed to make sure it never happened again.”

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in 'Pirates of the Caribbean'
Credit: Disney

An aspect that the crew appears to have neglected is the myriad challenges that can arise when filming on the expansive waters of the sea. This oversight became evident one night as Keira Knightley was returning home after a late shoot.

The publication continued, “The actress used a boat as her mode of transport and was accompanied by her mother and the boat’s skipper. Unfortunately, the boat ended up hitting a reef and started to go down, endangering the lives of all who were aboard. While all three of them were safe, having been reduced [sic] after a few hours, the severity of the situation could not have been ignored.”

Knightly, her mom, and the skipper were waiting 45 minutes before being rescued.

Disney ultimately made a drastic decision to completely cease night shoots on the islands of the Caribbean Sea. Prioritizing the safety of their cast and crew, they opted to relocate scenes requiring such a backdrop to the studio rather than risk real-world challenges, tossing out authenticity for safety. However, all of this was realized at Knightley’s expense.

Related: Margot Robbie’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Replacement Scandal Update Revealed

pirates of the caribbean jack sparrow watching will turner and elizabeth swann
Credit: Disney

Things got worse from there.

Koimoi revealed, “Keira Knightley recalled facing a tough time after achieving fame at just 18, courtesy Pirates Of The Caribbean. She shared, “I found it pretty horrific. I’m not an extrovert, so I found that level of scrutiny and that level of fame really hard. It was an age where you are becoming, you haven’t become, and you need to make mistakes. It’s a very precarious age, particularly for women. You’re in some ways still a child. It was traumatic, but it set up the rest of my career.”

Keira Knightley continued, “So looking back, would I do anything different? No, I wouldn’t because I’m unbelievably lucky now, and my career is in a place where I really enjoy it, and I have a level of fame that’s much less intense. I can deal with it now, and that’s great. But at the time, it was not so great, and took many years of therapy to figure it out.”

elizabeth swann in pirates of the caribbean
Credit: Disney

Knightley is not the only one to have spoken out.

Zoe Saldaña who starred in Curse of the Black Pearl said the film experience was “not-so-good.” However, she also noted that producer Jerry Bruckheimer did “apologize” to her after he found out that she felt being in the movie was a “disappointment”, per The Direct.

“I really had a not so good experience because of just the poor management at that time, and Jerry Bruckheimer knows this, we spoke about it eventually. I think he read somewhere where I had expressed my discomfort and disappointment, and years later he apologized, which felt really quite honorable actually, I have to say.”

At the moment, the franchise is in the air following the cutting of ties with Johnny Depp. Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is said to be in the works, with a script being developed by Craig Mazin, but no further information has been divulged since. One thing that we can likely rule out is that Knightley will likely not be returning in any reboot of the franchise.

Are you looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean 6? What cast would you like to see in the film?



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