Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki


Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki

"I think this movie is for anyone who enjoys a sprawling adventure. It's got action, romance, intrigue. I think there's a child in all of us who enjoys these kinds of movies that are exciting, fun, with oddball characters, conflict and resolution."
―Gore Verbinski[src]

Gregor "Gore" Verbinski (born March 16, 1964) is an American film director and writer. Working in a wide range of genres and budgets with many top talents, Verbinski was considered one of the most innovative directors of his generation. Gore Verbinski directed one of the most successful trilogies in motion-picture history, with the Walt Disney Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films productions of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, and At World's End. His box-office success totals over $2 billion worldwide, as of the 2006 release of Dead Man's Chest, which not only grossed over $1 billion around the world, but broke many box-office records.


Early life[]

Gregor Verbinski was born the third of five children to Victor and Laurette Verbinski in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His siblings are Janine, Claire Caregiver, Diane and Steven. His father was Polish and worked as a nuclear physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1967, the Verbinski family moved to Southern California, where a young Gregor grew up in the town of La Jolla. Gregor was an active Boy Scout and surfed regularly. He went to Torrey Pines Elementary, Muirlands Junior High, and La Jolla High School before attending the prestigious School of Theatre, Film and Television at UCLA. Verbinski graduated with his BFA in Film from UCLA in 1987.


Early career[]

Prior to his incredible film success, Gore Verbinski's early career included being in rock bands and an award-winning commercial and music video director. His inventive work in advertising for companies including Nike, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser earned him a number of Clio awards. In 1993, he created the memorable Budweiser advertising campaign showcasing croaking frogs. Along with commercials, Verbinski also has seen success in the music-video world directing videos for bands such as Bad Religion and Crystal Method.

Film career[]

After completing a short film, The Ritual (which he both wrote and directed), Gore Verbinski's work caught the eye of Steven Spielberg who offered him his first feature film, the visually stunning family comedy MouseHunt. The film was a hit globally and he soon followed up the success with The Mexican and the hit thriller The Ring, which wowed audiences and grossed over $250 million worldwide and made Naomi Watts a household name. Verbinski also had a directorial hand in The Time Machine, temporarily taking over for an exhausted Simon Wells, and was given a Thanks to credit in the film.

Gore Verbinski would later direct Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which was released in 2003 and went on to become one of the top-grossing films of that year, earning a number of Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for Johnny Depp for his portrayal as Captain Jack Sparrow. In between the first and second Pirates pictures, Verbinski directed the acclaimed comedy-drama The Weather Man, staring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine. The powerful opus about the elusive contemporary American Dream, showcased Verbinski's versatility. The 2006 release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest not only grossed $1 billion around the world, but broke many box-office records, including the first film to break the heralded $100 million barrier in 48 hours.

Pirates of the Caribbean[]

The Curse of the Black Pearl[]


Director Gore Verbisnki working with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.

"My agent called and said, 'How do you feel about a pirate movie? I mean, how often are you going to get that call? It's sort of the singularly most failed genre of our time, but I thought it had to be attempted one more time. I think there's something rebellious about pirates, something revolutionary about them. They came out of a time when things were oppressive; you could get hung for stealing a loaf of bread. For me, the Pirates films are about when it's right to break the rules to achieve what you want."
―Gore Verbinski[src]

In 2002, Gore Verbinski would take the director's seat in helming Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a film based on the original Disneyland ride. Many of the cast and crew, Verbinski included, had not expected The Curse of the Black Pearl to be a successful film, as the pirate genre had been dead for decades prior. After its theatrical release in 2003, The Curse of the Black Pearl earned over $600 million at the international box office and went on to become one of the top-grossing films of that year, earning a number of Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for Johnny Depp for his portrayal as Captain Jack Sparrow.

For the DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, one of the special features included an Audio Commentary with director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp. It included the intimate recollections of Verbinski and Depp as they share their passion for the movie in this compelling and entertaining commentary.

Creating the Pirates Trilogy[]

"We've already grafted the pirate genre with the supernatural. I think we're fair game to go into everything from the Orient to sea monsters. We have a wonderful opportunity to tie up loose ends and open the thing up, take the genre to a wild place. You don't do something because it's a sure thing. You don't do something for the bank. That's the one that flops. That's a riskier proposition than doing something completely original. It's risky to be safe."
―Gore Verbinski[src]

Gore Verbinski with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and Johnny Depp.

Following the success of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Disney moved swiftly to capitalize on its new franchise, with Gore Verbinski signed on to direct two sequels, to be shot simultaneously, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Verbinski assured that he and Depp would have more surprises for audiences—and for Disney.[1] Though neither had completed scripts, pre-production for the second and third Pirates films began in 2004. Verbinski and the writers, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, created numerous ideas for the sequels.

On the commitment, director Gore Verbinski said, "It was exhausting, but I think it's a bit more of a duration issue. It's a bit mad to take on two movies at once but there are still a lot of stories to be told with these characters. I didn't know where to go with it when they talked to me about doing that. And Pirates, there was no plan on making a 2nd or 3rd movie when we filmed the first one and then the studio said, 'Could you do two more?' And that was sort of challenging to construct a trilogy in reverse so to speak. That was exciting."[2]

Geoffrey Rush, Keith Richards (Captain Teague), Gore Verbinski, and Johnny Depp.

The second film, titled Dead Man's Chest, started filming in 2005 and was released in 2006. Dead Man's Chest became Verbinski's most successful film, not only as the third film ever to gross over $1 billion around the world, but broke many box-office records, including the first film to break the heralded $100 million barrier in 48 hours. It is currently the highest grossing film in the Pirates series. The third film, titled At World's End, was released in 2007. Although it was not as successful, At World's End was the highest-grossing film of 2007, bringing in over $960 million. The three films of Verbinski's Pirates trilogy combined had grossed $2.6 billion.

At some point, Gore Verbinski provided Audio Commentary for deleted scenes from the two films, explaining why the scenes were deleted in the final cut. Unfortunately, neither the scenes nor Verbinski's commentary would not be available upon the films' initial DVD/Blu-ray releases. They would instead be available upon future releases, such as the Four-Movie Collection set.

After the Pirates Trilogy[]

At World's End was originally the proposed end of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, though most in the industry felt that such a money-making engine could not be shut down so easily. When asked on plans regarding a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film after the success of the original Pirates trilogy during a "virtual junket" for the DVD release of At World's End in 2007, Gore Verbinski stated:

I think the trilogy is now complete. All of the stories set in motion by the first film have been resolved. If there ever were another Pirates of the Caribbean film, I would start fresh and focus on the further adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow.[3]

Since then, it was believed that Gore Verbinski was going to return as director of another Pirates film, with Johnny Depp returning as Jack Sparrow. However, in April 2009, it was reported that Verbinski informed Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he won't be directing the fourth Pirates installment, partly due to committing on other projects. Verbinski stated on his departure:

I had a fantastic time bringing Pirates to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team. I'm looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future.[4]

Less than a month after Verbinski's announcement, one of his projects, BioShock, was put on hold in the middle of pre-production. Bruckheimer was asked if there was a chance Verbinski might return for Pirates. "You never know," Bruckheimer admitted. "He created the franchise so we'd love to have him back, but it's kind of up to him."[5] However, Verbinski was unavailable due to his commitment with the animated feature Rango, which also starred Johnny Depp.

Depp had a very short list of directors with whom he was willing to work on the fourth Pirates opus, prior to Rob Marshall accepting the job.[6] "You know, having done 'Pirates' one through three with Gore Verbinski, and Gore not being available for 'Pirates 4' because of his commitment to 'Rango,' made for quite a large dilemma initially." The actor noted. "I don’t think there’s anyone better who could have come in and followed Gore. Rob's approach was very respectful of what Gore built in the first three films but at the same time he has his own signature. He gave it a very new angle; he brought a brand-new pair of eyes and a fresh look."[7]

Despite all this, Verbinski would be reunited with several of cast and crewmen of the Pirates trilogy in at least two of his later films, Rango and The Lone Ranger. For Rango, Verbinski worked with actors Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, and co-writer Jim Byrkit. For The Lone Ranger, Verbinski worked with Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writers/executive producers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and executive producers Mike Stenson and Chad Oman.

Following the release of the fourth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a fifth film was in development, later titled Dead Men Tell No Tales. After Rob Marshall passed on directing the fifth film, which was being written by Terry Rossio, many directors were rumored to take over. Verbinski felt that "there's no reason other than financial" in making the film.[8] The eventual shortlist included Fredrik Bond, Rupert Sanders, and the Norwegian film duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.[9] Rønning and Sandberg said they were particularly moved by the "funny and touching" script by Jeff Nathanson,[10] who was hired January 2013, which convinced them to sign to direct in May,[11] Rønning believing that the script was "all there" but needed scenes to "carry the tradition of Gore Verbinski, bring the emotional core and big action set pieces."[12]

During a Reddit AMA in February 2017, Gore Verbinski answered a few questions about the Pirates franchise, among other projects. When asked if filming in the ocean was as stressful as it sounds, Verbinski answered: "Yes. Nothing stays where you put it." Verbinski was also asked if he had any issue with the continuation past the original Pirates trilogy and how he felt about the fourth and fifth films. His response:

"Well, it was really fun to do the three movies and certainly the first movie, there was a real sense of the unknown as we approached the narrative and Johnny's performance and the tone of the film. I certainly think one of the scariest moments in my career was filming the second and third Pirates movie back to back and at some point realizing that we were no longer making the studio nervous and I think when that happens you start to get nervous yourself because you're quite used to telling stories that maybe are operating on that boundary of the unknown and I think that sense of this thing could go off the rails at any moment is such a beautiful place to be and when people start becoming familiar with how things work or what an audience likes or the sense that your movie needs to make 300 million dollars at the box office to be considered successful, suddenly you find yourself wearing a lot more baggage than you intended. I felt like it was a tremendous opportunity and one of the greatest joys of my life to direct the first three films and I certainly think that audiences that want to continue to enjoy the adventures of Jack Sparrow should absolutely have that opportunity. But for me as a growth as a director and trying to do things that I'm not sure I can do, once you become comfortable with something, I think it's time to move on."

In 2021, Collider posted an exclusive interview with Gore Verbinski reflecting on his Pirates trilogy and the intense production of the two sequels, quoted as saying "It was survival mode."[13] Among the interesting trivia, Verbinski pointed out:

  • He does not have longer cuts of the three movies. He felt he pretty much got the director's cut, and just pulling it off, while trying to maintain that original madness, was enough. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest being the film he is "definitely proud of" in that it's got a similar spirit to The Curse of the Black Pearl. "Now where do you go? You have to go even bigger." Trying to wrap up that many fractal narratives and give everybody a conclusion, he tried to make the third one saying, "'There shouldn't be any more.' I was like, okay, no more, done, three and out." He also agreed with Steve Weintraub in that the third one is "not as tight" as the first two.
  • There was a story about Gore in post-production on At World's End where he was basically just a shell of himself. He was 30 pounds overweight, with no sleep. Verbinski remembered then-Disney CEO Dick Cook going, "Are we going to make the date? Can you make the date?"
  • Mixing, color, timing, editing and visual effects flying with an impossible post schedule in which he was cutting all while still shooting. They got hit by a hurricane, half the set got wiped out. They had to pull stuff back to LA. "It was pure survival mode by the time we got to the third one."
  • Dead Man's Chest and At World's End were shot back-to-back because Disney wanted two more as soon as possible. Knowing what they were in for, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio had offices next to Verbinski's at Disney, and then two other offices for "story rooms" were needed to move forward while reverse engineering the first film into a trilogy. They were in pretty good shape on the second film script-wise, as they had it 80% there, but the third was just cards that became an outline with no pages, having to write night after night after leaving the filming location. Filming for the end of At World's End was shot within the third or fourth day into shooting Dead Man's Chest, despite not knowing what the script was yet. This was done because the film crew were filming scenes for the two sequels in St. Vincent and were about to leave that location and never going back. They moved to different islands, like the Exuma and Dominica, not going back to St. Vincent. "You just embrace the chaos and figure it out." Verbinski aslo said telling the studio they might not make the release date was not an option. "The date was that most important thing. Also, the longer it goes, the more you're spending. At some point, the date also said, 'You guys are done.'"
    • One possible inaccuracy in this interview, while it is true that the final moments of At World's End were filmed simultaneously with Dead Man's Chest at the beginning of the back-to-back production, it was not the scene where Jack begins his search for the Fountain of Youth, but rather it was the end scene with Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs, Scarlett and Giselle in Tortuga docks. The scenes were shot as early as April 6, 2005, at the Tortuga set constructed in Wallilabou Bay on the island of St. Vincent.[14] Though it could be Collider's Steve Weintraub's error rather than Verbinski.
  • The process of pulling of the visual effects that was said to have held up even with modern VFX, specifically Davy Jones
  • Besides it being a good story point, the Kraken ends up dead because it was about the monsters are dying and this world is end. "Progress has come and myths are no longer relevant in this new world order" was its fundamental narrative function at that point.
  • As of this interview, Gore Verbinski has not gotten around to watch the other Pirates movies that he didn't direct, saying he was very busy working on what's in front of him, although he added, "I’m sure I will at some point."

Later career[]

In 2008, after Gore Verbinski finished the Pirates trilogy, his Blind Wink Productions company, which was founded in April 2005, signed a deal with Universal. One of Verbinski's projects was BioShock, an adaptation of the bestselling video game for Universal, that had a John Logan script and Verbinski himself set to direct. However, Verbinski was replaced by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo as director, then the film was subsequently put on hold in the middle of pre-production and later cancelled.

In 2011 and 2013, Gore Verbinski would delve into the Western genre, with decidedly different results: Rango was well received, critically and commercially, and earned the [[Wikipedia:Academy Award for Best Animated Feature |Academy Award for Best Animated Feature]]. However, The Lone Ranger', his adaptation of the 1930s radio hero for Disney, was stuck in development hell for several years, undergone rewrites and budget cuts, and gained controversy for the casting of Johnny Depp as the Native American character Tonto. The film grossed $260 million against a $215–225 million budget, plus an estimated $150–160 million marketing campaign. That same year, Verbinski was also the executive producer of the Ben Stiller adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, after being attached as director for several years.

In 2016, Verbinski's horror film A Cure for Wellness starring Dane DeHaan premiered at the Alamo Drafthouse before receiving a wide release in 2017. It received mediocre reviews from critics and was a financial bomb, grossing $26.6 million against a $40 million budget. Verbinski was set to direct a film centering around Gambit, set within the X-Men film universe, before dropping out of the project in January 2018.

PotC Films[]

External links[]

Notes and references[]