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Pirates Star Kaya Scodelario On How She Landed Her Role, Working With Johnny Depp, & More!

Pirates of the Caribbean is a franchise that’s existed for the better part of fifteen years. Taking its inspiration from the Disneyland ride of the same name, the film showed a whole new edgier side of Disney that we hadn’t seen in a good while. Despite its family friendly image, it managed to tell the tale of a kickass pirate movie, with all the violence and fun that one would expect to see in such a film. Add into that the character of Jack Sparrow, and you had real gold.

The franchise has had four films as of this point, and the latest iteration, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sees the arrival of a mostly new cast of characters, including that of new leading female, Carina Smyth. Taking on that role is Kaya Scodelario, who is probably best known for Skins and The Maze Runner. We had a chance to sit down with Scodelario and discuss her character, her on-set injury, and what it was like working with Johnny Depp.

Check the full interview after the jump!

LRM: How did you get this role?

Scodelario: I heard about it a few years ago, but I hadn’t decided what they wanted to do with the character yet. I think she was 2 characters at the time. It came back around a few years later, and I did a self tape. I was shooting the second Maze Runner movie at the time, so I had the boys help me do the audition and play all the different parts in the scene. Thomas Brady played Jack Sparrow, which was quite cool. Then I was flying out to Los Angeles to meet with Brenton, we did a chemistry read. He’d already been cast, and they were trying to find the right emotion between actors. We got on really well straight away, and I really liked his work, I liked how he did stuff, we worked through the scene, we did it a bunch of different ways and felt really good about it, made me really excited about the project, and that was it. I got a call a couple weeks later.

LRM: That was nice, you had help during the Maze Runner.

Scodelario: Yeah, they’re all a part of it.

LRM: Great. Tell me about Carina.

Scodelario: She is an orphan and she is a woman of science. She doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy tales. She’s a survivor, she’s very strong. She’s on her own personal identity to find her identity, she has a diary she believes is her mission to unlock the secrets to. Along the way, she meets Brenton’s character, Henry, and she overhears that he can help her, he has information that she needs. So they go on this journey together, they end up with Jack Sparrow, and it all goes wrong after that.

LRM: I imagine you’re being a fan of “Pirates of the Caribbean” is what attracted you?

Scodelario: Definitely. I watched the first movie when I was 13, and it’s something I’ve always grown up with. I remember when every movie was coming out, people would get so excited, they wanted to be a part of it, they wanted to know what was going to happen. I was really honored to get to be a part of something that so many people love and enjoy so much.

Scodelario: I really liked the day where we shot in this huge courtyard of this town they built. It’s my character and Jack Sparrow, they’re both about to be executed. We had about 500 extras, we had kids that were extras, we had dogs, we had cats, everything you could imagine, and we have this great back and forth banter argument, we’re both about to be executed. It was so absurd and crazy. And for me personally, I’ve never done stage work, so I was nervous about performing in front of all these extras, all these people. But they were so great, they got so into it, and they made me feel confident enough to be part of it.

LRM: Did you guys have to pause a lot? It was a long exchange.

Scodelario: We did it in one go, we did the whole thing from beginning to end, then we did the stunt with Brenton at the end where he swings down on the rope. That whole dialogue stuff, we did it all in one go.

LRM: That was pretty good, I know exactly what scene you’re talking about. I was talking to one of the directors, he mentioned you fell on the Black Pearl.

Scodelario: Yeah, I did.

LRM: You dislocated your shoulder and you got up and continued.

Scodelario: It’s part of it. Sometimes that happens on set, and we’d also been there for so long, and people wanted to go home and see their families. I don’t want to hold up filming anymore. So I went to the hospital quickly, had some morphine, and was back on set.

LRM: I’m sure they appreciated it.

Scodelario: They were very good about it. I had to wear a sling between takes and between scenes, but it worked out okay.

LRM: You’re a trooper, that’s for sure. And as for that dress, I got a chance to see it because it’s here. It looks really heavy.

Scodelario: It’s very heavy.

LRM: But you’re wet for a good part of the movie.

Scodelario: The hardest part is the corset. Once the corset gets wet, it shrinks. You’re already squeezed in as much as you ever thought possible, and it gets smaller and smaller. It was tough, it’s a tough costume to work with. But for me, it’s part of who she is. She was a woman in the 17th century, this is what she would’ve had to wear. It’s dirty and tattered and old, I liked that as well. It’s not perfect, it’s not pretty, it’s definitely worn. But it was tough. She is a practical girl, so when she has to swim in the ocean, we have the scene where she takes it off. Obviously they make a couple jokes about it, but I like it because it’s true. She’s like, “I’m not going to get very far in this dress. I’m going to have to lose it.” She doesn’t care.

LRM: Practical.

Scodelario: Yeah, very practical.

LRM: So did you actually have to wear a corset the whole time?

Scodelario: Yes, I used to get my husband to secretly loosen it at lunch time so I could have pasta.

LRM: That’s intense. How is it working with Johnny Depp?

Scodelario: It’s great. He’s an actor I’ve admired for so long. I followed his career, I think he’s brilliant at what he does. To get the opportunity to be on set with someone like that, and Javier Bardem, and Jeffrey Rush, it’s a once in a life time kind of thing. He was great. He’s funny and interesting, you can have a normal conversation with him about anything, and he can also be really eccentric and turn into Jack Sparrow like that. So it’s great to be able to see that firsthand.

LRM: I know his career has been a long one, and that he’s more experienced. Is there something that you caught from him? Maybe a tip you learned from him?

Scodelario: It’s inspiring how successful he is and how huge he is and how dedicated he is to his work, but he also takes the time to talk to everyone on the set. He’ll go over to the electrician in the corner and have a chat with him and ask about his kids and his life. I thought that was a really important lesson. I always try and be as humble as possible and as grounded as possible. To see Johnny Depp being able to do it, I don’t think any actor has an excuse to be rude to the crew after seeing that.

Scodelario: Yeah. We’re shooting the third one at the moment. They let me come here quickly to do this, I go back next week, and it’s really great. This is a rescue mission movie. They’re the boys, they’re trying to get Minho out. We’re also trying to understand why Teresa made the decision that she did in the last movie. I think it’s going to be a really fitting end to everyone’s story.

LRM: Any other projects you have coming up?

Scodelario: At the moment I’m focusing on getting this out there, and then I’d love to explore producing a little bit. I’d love to create something back home in England, I’d love to work with a female director I love, and make something with my friends.

LRM: What kind of direction would you consider producing?

Scodelario: I want to get an all female crew, I think that would be interesting. Not all female, because that would be discriminatory, but I’d like to have a female writer, female director, and me as a producer and see what energy that brings, what we can create out of that.

LRM: That seems like a whole lot of great energy to me. Thank you so much for your time, I appreciate it

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in theaters now! Stay tuned at LRM for our full review later today!

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