Transforming into Will Turner's father in "Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
He's one of the newbies of the cast of "Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but that
didn't stop Stellan Skarsgård
from jumping right into the action. He plays Bootstrap Bill in this
second and third installment of the Disney series, Will Turner's father.
Of course, he was extremely familiar with the story when he got the call
to come aboard this film; he was excited just to be a part of such a
When I first heard Stellan was going to be playing that role, I knew
instantly he was the perfect person - his voice just fits a character
like Bootstrap Bill. Then, after I saw the film, it was solidified.
While I was talking to him, I started picturing Bootstrap in my mind; I
almost couldn't stop.
I walked into Stellan's room at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los
Angeles to find he was more than comfortable - a button down blue shirt,
jeans, and bare feet. I teased him a little about making himself at
home; he told me that's he's more relaxed without the constraints of
We actually did get down to business after that and talked about his
role and what's in store for Bootstrap in the third film. Here's what he
had to say:
After speaking with Bill Nighy a few weeks ago, he was telling me you
guys had already started shooting when he got to the set; did you guys
talk about what was going on or did you get right into the part?
Stellan: Well it was weird because I was the only one in make-up;
everyone else was working with a crew in grey pajamas and dots on their
faces. I spent 4 and a half hours in make-up, and then I worked with
Bill Nighy and he has those dots on his face that I've never seen on an
actor before. And I realized real fast that he acts as if he knows he's
got those tentacles on his face - he's acting extremely precise and big
to help the CGI people. And I'm standing there with my muscles in my
face trying to be subtle which made it very funny actually. I had the
advantage of using my own face, but the disadvantage of spending four
and a half hours in make-up.
So what does this mean to you now that you're smack-dab in the middle of
Stellan: I don't know, I don't think of it like that. I met with
Gore in London and I liked him a lot, and at that point, there was
hardly any script at all. But there were a lot of drawings of what it
would look like, but talking to Gore, who's a very smart director and a
very smart man, made me interested in the part. I thought I could have
fun doing it and it was basically why I did it. I don't really think of
it as it being a big financial adventure. What I knew was it was a big
adventure movie for summer release; there was space for actors in it to
have fun. When you work with Gore, he cares about the actors - and I had
a lot of fun.
When you got that make-up on, did you become Bill?
Stellan: I'm not really that kind of actor; I come from European
theater background, where we might play two or three characters. And
maybe thankfully, I didn't become Bootstrap Bill because I don't know if
I would have appreciated it. At first, I thought maybe these muscles in
my face would block me, block my acting, but the way Joel Harnow did the
make-up, it followed my muscles exactly - every time I moved my face, it
moved with me. It's silicon, the muscles were hard, and putty; I was
covered with glue all day long.
How quickly did you take that off at the end of the day?
Stellan: It would take an hour and a half to get it off every
day. We couldn't shoot more than three days straight because I would get
rashes. The rough thing wasn't having it on, it was taking it off. It
was new material every day.
How would you describe Bootstrap Bill?
Stellan: He's probably the saddest figure of them all in the
film. He's the father of Orlando's character. And as you know from the
first film, he's spent a lot of time undersea, but now he's under
contract working for Davy Jones for 100 years, which isn't a good deal.
You're still shooting part 3?
Stellan: Yeah, we go back in August. He's going to get worse
before he gets better. We have six different stages of becoming more and
more part of the ship and barnacles and that process continues into the
How was it shooting both Pirates 2 and 3 at the same time?
Stellan: When we started shooting 2, part 3 was still a work in
progress in terms of the script. So there were still a lot of questions
we continuously had to deal with because we had to build it for part 3
as well; but in general, the structure was there already.
Is there anything you spoke with Ted (Elliott) and Terry (Rossio) about
where you want to see Bill go either of these two movies?
Stellan: I don't remember; we sat down and talked through the
script and everything I responded to in different ways and they always
listen to you. But it's not like we re-wrote anything.
What about anything beyond the third one?
Stellan: Well, in the fourth one, I hope he gets a girlfriend
What about the relationship between Bill and Will?
Stellan: Well, I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about
part 3, because things happen between Bill and William - some good
stuff, some bad stuff.
Did you get to join in on any of the singing fun that went on set?
Stellan: No, and I think everyone
should be grateful for that!
So, no singing for Stellan - but a whole lot of fun on screen!
[By Steven Chupnick]