THEN AND NOW: The cast of the original ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ 14 years later

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:

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.

Now he’s playing Albert Einstein.


In the years since, Rush has been in every “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. He also starred as Lionel Logue, King George VI’s old-school speech therapist in 2010’s “The King’s Speech,” a widely acclaimed role for which he won numerous awards and nominations.

After a few more smaller roles in studio movies like “Minions” and “Gods of Egypt,” Rush is currently starring as Albert Einstein in the National Geographic series “Genius.”

Kevin McNally is the only other actor to be in every “Pirates” movie.


Prior to the first movie, he had a steady career in Hollywood with small parts in British comedies and historical dramas.

He’s stuck with more prestigious British movies alongside his “Pirates” career.

McNally was in the well-received British drama “The Man Who Knew Infinity” in 2015, about a young math prodigy, and was also recently in the Tom Hardy-starring film “Legend.”

Orlando Bloom played Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

Bloom was in two huge franchises in the 2000s: “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Lord of the Rings.” The role of Legolas was his breakthrough, and Will Turner in “Pirates” was a worthy follow-up.

He reprised his Legolas role for the “Hobbit” movies and has returned to “Pirates” after skipping the last one.

In the past 14 years, Bloom has mostly been in passion projects with mixed reception, like “Elizabethtown” and “Sympathy for Delicious.” He’s also had a taste for other huge historical epics, including “Troy,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” and “The Three Musketeers.”

Bloom wasn’t in the fourth “Pirates” movies, “On Stranger Tides,” but he’s reprising his role as the swashbuckling Will Turner in “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Keira Knightley was a rising star before “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which made her into an international star.

She had a small role in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” and became popular in Britain with 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham.”

Playing Elizabeth Swann in the first “Pirates” movie, though, introduced her to the world.

She’s since gotten critical acclaim for her roles in historical dramas — including two Oscar nominations.

Knightley has made a career out of playing women at the center of historical dramas and adaptations of literary novels. She has Oscar nominations for her roles in “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Imitation Game,” and she’s won acclaim for her work in “Atonement,” “Never Let Me Go,” and “Anna Karenina,” among other movies.

Like Bloom, who plays her love interest in the “Pirates” series, Knightley skipped the last entry in the series but is returning for “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Jack Davenport made his name with “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

Before he played James Norrington in the “Pirates” series, Davenport was a standout in the 1999 thriller “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

His character was supposed to be only in the first “Pirates” movie, but fans liked him so much that he was also in “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End.”

Davenport has gotten choice roles in “FlashForward” and “Smash.”

He stopped being in the “Pirates” movies after 2007’s “At World’s End.” In the past decade, he’s mostly stuck to television roles, also having appearances in “The Good Wife” and “The Mindy Project.”

Jonathan Pryce has been a stage actor as well as an on-screen actor for decades.

Pryce played Hamlet at the Royal Court Theatre in 1980, which led to a multitude of on-screen roles, including a breakout gig in Terry Gilliam’s 1985 cult film “Brazil.”

He’s also been in several other Gilliam films, won a best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995 for “Carrington,” and had a small role in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

You might remember him as The High Sparrow in “Game of Thrones.”

Pryce was a prominent “Thrones” character, playing The High Sparrow. He was also Cardinal Wolsey in the acclaimed miniseries “Wolf Hall,” and hilariously played a fictionalized version of Philip Roth in “Listen Up Philip.”

Pryce’s role as Weatherby Swann in “Black Pearl” was his first major blockbuster film, but he followed it up by playing the United States president in the “G.I. Joe” movies. Like Davenport, “At World’s End” was Pryce’s last “Pirates” movie.

Zoe Saldana was in “Curse of the Black Pearl” at the very beginning of her film career.

Saldana’s character, Anamaria, appeared only in the first “Pirates” movie — as a ship captain whose ship is stolen by Jack Sparrow, and who teams up with him later — but isn’t in the rest of the series.


At the time, Saldana had only just recently begun her screen acting career in earnest. She made her debut with a 1999 episode of “Law & Order” and co-starred with Britney Spears in the 2001 movie “Crossroads.”

Saldana had a huge breakout year in 2009, and now she’s a part of the “Avatar,” “Star Trek,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” series.

After the first “Pirates” movie, Saldana had a couple of roles every year. But in 2009, she co-starred with Sam Worthington in “Avatar,” which became the highest-grossing movie of all time, and received good reviews for playing Uhura in the “Star Trek” remake. Later on, she played “Gamora” in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies.

Saldana will be in the upcoming “Avengers” movie as well as any new “Avatar” movies. She’s now one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood.

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