Coming off the critical raves — plus awards and nominations — he received for The King’s Speech, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush is easing back into his pirate drawl to once again play Capt. Barbossa opposite Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Metro sat down for a one-on-one with the Oscar winner.
I hear you snuck into one of the press screenings to catch the film.
I thought I wanted to hold off until [the premiere at] Disney Land and do all of that stuff, but there are three journeys in this film that are on individual ships, so I only knew everything that happened to Barbossa and the Royal Navy on the Providence, but I had no idea how they’d shot the mermaid stuff, how they’d done the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It was fantastic; it was really thrilling.
What do you think of how Barbossa has progressed from the first film?
It’s an enjoyable thing. I think we would’ve run out of validity for him being part of the storyline if he’d remained only the kind of dark, black-hearted mercenary villain from Part One. And within the story, in the trilogy and now in Part Four, they’ve brought in Cutler Beckett from the East India Trading Company as a kind of corporate villain adversary for Jack Sparrow, and there’s been Davy Jones and now we’ve got Blackbeard. That’s given Barbossa room to move.
With two more films planned for the series, where do you see him going?
Johnny and I were saying, you know, if only these two guys could get together, they would be the best kick-ass team in the world. Because Jack’s got an extraordinary daring, improvisational, “take the crises as they come and deal with them” (attitude), and Barbossa fancies himself as a rather brilliant strategic long-term-planning mastermind. But they’re always at odds, completely.
Are you familiar with the phrase “EGOT”?
I’ve been made aware of it. I know it came up in a 30 Rock episode.
It means winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. You have three. Do you have any plans to try to win a Grammy?
(laughs) Oh, well, you know. I had no thought way back even of being honoured by the Academy with an Oscar, and I remember thinking, “It’s highly unlikely that I’ll end up doing anything for American television, so where would an Emmy come from?”
Let alone a Tony, because — particularly with Exit the King, taking an Australian production to Broadway, there was no precedent for that.
But the Grammy thing, I don’t know. I’ll have to put out a rather boring album of poetry or something.
(laughs) You know, it’s not keeping me awake at night.