Australian actor Brenton Thwaites stars in the brand new film ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ as Henry Turner - coming from the humble beginnings of ‘Home And Away’. He’s since gone on to work alongside the likes of Gerard Butler and Jeff Bridges in ‘Gods Of Egypt’, and is set for even more great heights with this new role in ‘Pirates’.
We spoke to Brenton about his role, the importance of the ‘Pirates’ franchise, and his other creative pursuits…
COUP DE MAIN: You play Henry Turner, a brand new character in the ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ franchise. If you were to describe Henry’s character in one sentence, what would you say about him?
BRENTON THWAITES: I would say he is a confident young man who’s searching for the key in order to free his father.
CDM: It’s crazy that this upcoming ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ film is the fifth of it’s kind! Were you a fan of the series prior to being cast in the film?
BRENTON: I was. I watched the first one when I was a kid, about 13 or 14, and followed them right through my teenage years. So when I heard this was being cast, I jumped at the opportunity to audition.
CDM: It’s rad that ‘The Curse Of The Black Pearl’ (a.k.a. the first Pirates film) was used as inspiration for the tone and style of the new Pirates, and that the film-makers are making it self-referential in a way. What do you think it is it about the ‘Pirates’ films that have made it so beloved by fans all over the world?
BRENTON: I think it’s managed to incorporate many different genres that other movies haven’t really had the success in doing. They’re great adventure films that have really funny aspect to their characters. They tend to be focusing on minor supernatural things which people tend to love, and at the same time, these characters are fighting for love and freedom, and I guess, moral things.
CDM: The movie seems to really emphasise your and Kaya Scoledario’s characters - as the new faces in a way, for the franchise. Was it strange, coming into this franchise as the ‘newbie’ in a way? Obviously for the actors who’ve been a part of it for such a long time, it’s second nature for them - but for you it would’ve been an entirely new experience.
BRENTON: Yeah, it was. The great thing about this one is they brought back a lot of those old pirates, and so it really felt like I was stepping into the first movie which was really exciting. The directors were fresh, a lot of the crew were fresh. We were shooting in Australia, which is the first time Pirates have done that, so I feel like the whole movie in general was a pretty new experience. But we were definitely the newbies coming into the franchise, so it did feel a little intimidating, but for the most part exciting.
CDM: It must’ve been like a high school reunion where everyone knew each other.
BRENTON: It did feel like that - I was always hunting for stories about how the old ones were shot and what it was like back in the day. <laughs> I felt like a journalist asking questions. Those guys all lived together on islands for years and years, so it’s kind of cool to see how the shooting of ‘Pirates’ has changed since the first one.
CDM: It’s rad that Kaya’s character Carina is academic and not just a passive character. Do you think it’s important for blockbuster films to include strong female characters?
BRENTON: Yeah, I think it is. I think it’s important for blockbuster movies to include strong characters in general. But, yeah I think so. We’re seeing it more and more these days, which is cool, and modern, and how it should be. But also, I guess back in those days it was different, so it’s nice to see Kaya’s character breaking outside the mould... you know, fighting for things that women in those times didn’t really fight for.
CDM: What do you want people to take away from watching ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’?
BRENTON: I just want people to be entertained. That’s about it. I hope all the fans are happy with the movie, and we fulfil their hopes and dreams.
CDM: As an Australian, it must’ve been nice doing so much of the filming around Australia - do you have a favourite of all the locations that you shot?
BRENTON: I’d have to say my favourite location would be Hastings Point, which is northern New South Wales, where we shot in a little cove there on the water which was beautiful. We shot on a really nice hill, it looked very similar to England I have to say, but it was nice knowing that it was in Australia. It was half an hour down the road from my house. It was a very handy commute.
CDM: How involved were you in the stunts in the film? I imagine they would be pretty daunting to take on, and the fight scenes too!
BRENTON: Yeah, I mean I didn’t really have a lot of fighting in this movie, to be honest. In other movies I’ve had quite a large involvement in stunts. But this one I had a few that I was... mostly I was able to do on my own. My stuntee was the same guy from ‘Gods Of Egypt’ the year prior, so he had a pretty good understanding of what I could and couldn’t do. But in terms of all the sword-fighting and stunts on the boats, I was more than happy to do all that stuff on my own.
CDM: You’ve been in several Disney films now - ‘Maleficent’, and now ‘Pirates’. What’s your favourite Disney film of all time?
BRENTON: My favourite Disney film of all time would have to be ‘The Lion King’, I’d have to say. It’s great. Probably for the music, I’d say it's my favourite.
CDM: Is there one highlight or moment from filming for ‘Pirates’ that has stuck with you?
BRENTON: You know what, my scenes with Johnny Depp were a highlight for me. We just had a great time shooting those and watching him work was, you know, one of the best educations in film I’ve ever had.
CDM: In an interview about ‘The Giver’ you revealed that you’d gotten into photography after Jeff Bridges used to take photos on set. Is this something that you still pursue in your spare time?
BRENTON: Yeah, I’m still doing that. I actually just bought a new camera, a new Russian camera called a Zenit which is an old film camera. I’m developing the photos now, so I’m excited to see what comes out of it.
CDM: If you could hitch a ride in real life on the Black Pearl to anywhere in the world right now, where would you want to sail to? And who would you want onboard with you?
BRENTON: Home. And then probably the north shore of Hawaii sounds good.
CDM: You’re also into music, and writing. Are these creative endeavours something you want to pursue further, professionally, as well as acting?
BRENTON: I don’t really see it as professionally, only because in those kinds of things, they’re not really a profession unless someone buys them or reads it or they get made, in terms of writing for movies. It’s more of an outlet of creative freedom, I guess. I have ideas in my head, and when I get a spare moment, I try to write them down. I’d like to make some of them, but I guess, professionally is a different feat. You know, when you’re a writer professionally, it’s very different than when you’re just creating an idea or putting an idea to pad. I really don’t know. I’d like to make a movie one day… It’s a just a tricky world for me.
‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is in cinemas now - watch the trailer below…