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Greg Ellis wonders if his "Pirates of the Caribbean" character will be returning for the fifth film in this series

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Greg Ellis wonders if his "Pirates of the Caribbean" character will be returning for the fifth film in this series

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Do you remember how much fun it was to play dress-up when you were a kid? Which is why you'd think  that getting to play a character like Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" films would be a lot of fun as well, right?

Greg Ellis visits the on-set costume department for Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Trides." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Well, think again. As Greg Ellis (who's played Groves in three of the "Pirates" movies) recalled in a phone interview with JHM last week, getting in costume to play a Royal Naval Officer was kind of of a pain. At least at first.

"The uniform that Royal Naval Officers wore in the 17th century had lots & lots of layers. Which is why - when I first started on 'The Curse Of The Black Pearl' - it would sometimes take me upwards of a half hour to get into the thing," Ellis explained. "And then when you factor in that we were shooting on location in the Caribbean, that costume - once you were all buttoned up inside of it - could get brutally hot. Especially when you had your tri-corner hat and periwig on."

But by the time that "On Stranger Tides" began shooting in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, Greg had this whole dressing-up-to-play-a-Royal-Naval-Officer-in-a-big-budget-action-adventure thing down to a science.

Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), British Officers Gillette (Damian O'Hare) and Groves
(Greg Ellis), and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), land in Whitecap Bay in the
aftermath of the mermaid attack on Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his men.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"In order to stay cool, I learned not to come to on set fully dressed," Ellis said. "I'd wait 'til just before the cameras were rolling to finish buttoning myself into that uniform. That way, I spent less time sweltering."

Mind you, it wasn't like every minute that Greg spent on the "Pirates 4" set was a misery. Far from it. Ellis genuinely enjoyed hanging out with the other veterans of this hugely popular film series: Johnny Depp, Academy-Award winner Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally (who plays Joshamee Gibbs) and Damian O'Hare (who plays Lt. Gillette).

"I actually got to spend a lot of time this time around with Geoffrey, Kevin and Damian. In 'On Stranger Tides,' Barbossa is now working for the King of England and Gibbs has been pressed into service in order to help him find the Fountain of Youth. And Lt. Gillette and Groves ... Well, they're there basically to keep an eye on Barbossa. Make sure that this privateer honors the agreement that he made with the King. So our characters got to do a lot of interacting on this movie. Which made for a really fun time on set," Greg continued.

Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) enjoys a repast on the poop deck of the HMS
Providence, as Groves (Greg Ellis) stands by to inform him of the crew's
complaints. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And what Ellis' absolute favorite experience during the shooting of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" ? I'm thinking that would probably be the day when Greg, Geoffrey, Kevin and Damian almost made to Mexico.

"We were filming off the coast of San Pedro. And because we had to match the look of the footage that we'd shot previously shot that day, our continuity person kept insisting that we had to keep sailing in the exact same direction. So we kept getting further & further away from California and closer & closer to Mexico," Ellis remembered. "And at one point, there was a semi-serious discussion among the actors that we should just keep going. Just sail on in to Mexico and then see how the locals would react as all these pirates and Royal Naval Officers came up on shore."

But eventually the HMS Providence did have to turn around and sail back to California. But as they were headed back to harbor, Greg noticed that their ship was being followed.

The HMS Providence at full sail in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth, with Captain
Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) at the helm. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

"There was this whale that stayed right alongside of us for a time. And some dolphins as well. So to be out there on the ocean, surrounded by all that beautiful scenery and then sharing an experience like that with old friends, that's a pretty spectacular way to end a day of filming," Ellis stated.

And speaking of ending ... Given that Lieutenant Commander Groves somehow avoided getting killed by all those undead pirates in "The Curse of the Black Pearl" and managed not to get stuck in Davy Jones' locker in "At World's End," will his character be returning for "Pirates 5" (which - if the rumors coming off the Disney Lot these days turn out to be true - production of the next installment in this film franchise should get underway sometime next summer after shooting of "The Lone Ranger" has been completed)? Greg doesn't seem quite so confident that his character will be returning this time around.

"The last we saw of Groves, he was being dragged off by this pair of soldiers. So I guess that he could have possibly survived the battle in the cave of the Fountain of Youth," Ellis reasoned. "Tell you what. Let me go call Terry (Editor's note: Terry Rossio - along with his longtime writing partner, Ted Elliot - wrote the screenplays for "Pirates 1 - 4." But Rossio is supposedly doing a solo on the "Pirates 5" script) and see if Groves will be making an appearance in the next movie. Because I'd love to spend another summer shooting in Hawaii if I could."

Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves (Greg Ellis), Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush),
Lt. Gillette (Damian O'Hare) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) on deck of the HMS
Providence. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Particularly now that Greg has got this whole coming-on-set-half-dressed-in-order-to-keep-cool thing down.

The Blu-ray and DVD version of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" goes on sale tomorrow.

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  • Let Groves and Gillette rest in peace; at least Norrington will have somebody to drink with in the afterlife. I'm all for Greg Ellis and Damian O'Hare to go surfing in Hawaii, but nothing will convince me to ever waste money on the PotC franchise again. What's the old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... and I think the fans of the Royal Navy have been fooled three times now. Thank you, but I think I rather wait for a sequel to Master & Commander.

  • I love Groves.  We quote his "That has to be the best pirate I've ever seen" line around our house quite a bit.  (Mainly so someone can then say "So it would seem" in response.)  I hope he makes it back for #5.  We'll be at opening night whenever a Pirates movie opens.  Nothing but good fun for us.

  • Geoffrey Rush seems to get many roles where he is employed by the King of England.

  • Honestly, I'd rather see Anamaria come back in the next one.

  • I loved Greg Ellis in "Starlight Express," and I constantly listened to him when I was a kid. I love it whenever I see him in the Pirates films (or anything for that matter).

  • It would be kind of amusing if the character did return. Make it kind of a running joke, you know, as in "How are this guy still here?"

  • I hope he holds out for more money, and since they can't get him, there's no more Pirates movies.

  • Pirates of the Haunted Mansion!

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