When it comes to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, few characters are as important as Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann. She was a love interest, a fighter, and ultimately a fan favourite. But, it turns out that the swash-buckling success of the adventure movies and her rise to fame came as a shock.
Speaking with ABC News for a 20-year retrospective on the hit Christmas movie Love Actually, director Richard Curtis recalled meeting Knightley, who was cast in the romance movie just before the Pirates franchise catapulted her into stardom with the release of the 2003 movie The Curse of the Black Pearl. The director went on to reveal how Knightley wasn’t confident the Disney movie would succeed, as she stated pirate films “always fail”.
“I remember sitting down with Keira while we were shooting and saying, ‘What are you doing next?’ And she said, ‘I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s a pirate film, and they always fail,’” Curtis said.
Considering how pirate movies did reach their peak in the 1960s and died out over the years in Hollywood, Knightley’s concerns were well-founded. However, this is Disney we are talking about, and expectations were blown out the water. Today, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the highest-grossing movie series of all time, and was the first film franchise to produce two or more movies that earned over $1 billion.
The films would turn Knightley into a global sensation, along with her co-stars, Lord of the Rings cast alumni Orlando Bloom and the already well-known Johnny Depp. The franchise is still kicking, too, with Pirates of the Caribbean 6 rumoured to be in the works.
If Pirates of the Caribbean 6 does go ahead, it is unlikely that Knightley will return. Johnny Depp has also stated that he won’t be reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow either. Still, even without the staple faces, we are sure that the studio has something up its sleeve to keep the seven seas sailing series alive.