IN JUST a few short years Brenton Thwaites has gone from a Pirates of the Caribbean fan to a star of the hit Disney franchise.
The Cairns-born actor was just 14 when the first Pirates film, based on Walt Disney's theme park ride of the same name, was released and Johnny Depp's eccentric trickster Jack Sparrow took the world by storm.
"I haven't been on a movie like this with an already established fan base like this one; I'm one of them, to be honest,” Brenton tells Weekend.
"I've watched these movies since I was a kid and I know how it feels when a new Pirates movie comes out; the excitement and buzz that comes with that.”
Now 27, and a new father, Brenton joins the cast for the fifth instalment, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The film follows Sparrow as he searches for the trident of Poseidon, a powerful artefact that will allow him to battle his old nemesis Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), who has escaped from the Devil's Triangle and is determined to kill every pirate at sea.
Brenton plays Henry, a soldier in the Royal Navy. "When we first find him in the movie, he is a greenhorn on board a ship,” he says.
"He's basically warning his captain of an oncoming danger, a supernatural threat, and they don't believe him and throw him in jail.
"He's busted out of jail by Carina, who catches wind of what he's saying and believes him. She is after the same thing, so together they form an alliance and try to find Jack Sparrow, who's the only one who can help them.”
While Brenton says he was mesmerised by Johnny Depp in their scenes together, he was most excited to work with Javier Bardem.
"He was one of the highlights of the movie for me. For one, he's a really nice guy and was super excited to be part of the movie,” he says.
"Then as soon as action is called he turns into this monster; it's quite intimidating. You know the guy is the same guy from No Country For Old Men and he will kill you (laughs).
"His transformation physically and the things he was doing with his face were phenomenal. I was geeking out all through my scenes with Javier.”
The film brought Brenton back to Queensland for the first time in six years, when he starred in Foxtel's teen drama SLiDE.
He now lives in Los Angeles with his partner Chloe and their one-year-old daughter Birdie.
Shot on the Gold Coast, northern NSW and in the Whitsundays, the production boasted impressive set pieces including an entire town built in the Gold Coast hinterland and a "ship arena'' with 11 mechanised ships at Movie World.
"The great thing about this movie was the budget allowed these guys to create such wonderful set pieces and we could jump into the space and play,” Brenton says.
"On other films my experience is there have been more boundaries in terms of the budget for CGI is this much; you've got to pretend this and this. On Pirates it wasn't like that. For the most part we're acting on real pirate ships, with set pieces and real walls. It really gave the filmmakers and actors the chance to come up with ideas and be a little bit irreverent with their way of shooting things.”
And no Pirates character is worth their salt unless they get to do a bit of swashbuckling. "I did a few sword fights in this one,” Brenton says. "I have to say I enjoyed it. I think my sword skills are pretty good.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario, Orlando Bloom, Brenton Thwaites.
- Directors: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
- Rating: TBA
- Reviewer's last word: Javier Bardem is an excellent villain who, along with a few other new additions, breathes new life into this well-worn franchise.
Star Profile: Brenton Thwaites
- Quirky fact: Met his partner Chloe, with whom he has a daughter, while living in a share house on the Gold Coast to film Pirates of the Caribbean 5.
- Best known for: The Giver, Maleficent, Gods of Egypt.
- If you like this movie you'll like these: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland.
- Quote: "There are so many near death experiences (in South Africa), that near death just becomes like getting a coffee in the morning - it keeps you awake and alive.”