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
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
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 theaftermath 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
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 HMSProvidence, as Groves (Greg Ellis) stands by to inform him of the crew'scomplaints. 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 CaptainBarbossa (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
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 HMSProvidence. 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.
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!