Greg Ellis (born March 21, 1968) is a British actor and voice artist. He was known for his roles on numerous films, television, and video games. Greg Ellis portrayed the character known as Lieutenant Theodore Groves, though only credited as either "Officer" or simply "Groves", in The Curse of the Black Pearl, At World's End and On Stranger Tides.
Early life and career
Ellis was born on March 21, 1968, in Wigan, England, moving with his family to the small seaside town of Ainsdale at the age of seven. Following his father to a business meeting in London when he was 14 years old, Ellis found himself in a mall where more than 10,000 kids had lined up to audition for a part in Alan Parker's film musical Bugsy Malone. With the encouragement of his father, Ellis tried out for the part and was chosen for the second lead role of Fat Sam. While performing in the film, Ellis caught the eye of a record-label executive who offered him a record deal. He went on to sign with BMG Germany, recorded four songs back-to-back that went to the top of the European charts, with three hits in the Top 20s, and performed for H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth at Saint Paul's Cathedral.
Upon obtaining his high school diploma, Ellis trekked to London and immediately landed a role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, directed by Trevor Nunn, then joined the cast of Miss Saigon in the lead role of Chris. He landed a role in the British family sitcom Bread and shortly thereafter was asked by Andrew Lloyd Webber to recreate the lead role of Rusty the Steam Train in the newly revamped version of Starlight Express, and then played the role in Las Vegas. Moving to Los Angeles, Ellis was cast by James Cameron in Titanic. Following Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he was cast by Robert Zemeckis as barbarian warrior Garmund in Beowulf. Ellis also appeared as Chief Engineer Olsen, first chief engineer of the original Starship Enterprise, in J.J. Abrams' 2009 film Star Trek, which also starred Zoe Saldana, who played Anamaria in The Curse of the Black Pearl.
On the small screen, Ellis starred on TNT's series Trust Me, The Riches and Valentine. He also portrayed the villainous Michael Amador opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the third season of 24. On the big screen, in addition to the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Ellis appeared in two other blockbusters, James Cameron's Titanic and Doug Liman's Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
On television, Ellis has appeared in The X-Files, Bones, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Closer, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Jake in Progress and Nip/Tuck. Ellis guest-starred on C.S.I. Crime Scene Investigation, executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, in the fifth season episode "King Baby". His voice talents have been heard in numerous animated series, including Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Mummy, What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, The Boondocks, Ben 10 and Teen Titans and animated features Garfield, Foodfight!, and Batman: Assault on Arkham. He also lent his voice to many video games.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Greg Ellis was widely known for his role as Lieutenant Theodore Groves in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The name "Theodore Groves" was made by a group of fans on a forum with Greg Ellis' blessing. His full name wasn't officially revealed until On Stranger Tides was in production. For his role in the films, Ellis was credited as "Officer" in The Curse of the Black Pearl and At World's End. It wasn't until On Stranger Tides that he was credited as "Groves", though the name first appeared in the At World's End junior novelization. In the description of a promotional image for On Stranger Tides, the character was named "Lieutenant Theodore Groves".
When brought up of reprising his role of Officer Groves from The Curse of the Black Pearl in At World's End, Ellis stated that his character had undergone a couple of changes. "In the first movie I was a Royal Navy officer. Then I switched allegiances to the East India Trading Company and I'm one of Cutler Beckett's lieutenants. I got a promotion as well from officer to lieutenant, which was nice," explained Ellis, who approved of the direction his character had taken. "It's always fun to play the bad guy. (laughing) Much more fun."
Groves' role was expanded in On Stranger Tides, though according to Ellis, it wasn't always that way:
- "I remember I saw a script and I think it was an early draft of the script, but I met a very early demise at the hands of I think it was a mermaid maybe attacking our ship. It went down and I got dragged deep into the water and then just appeared on the beach. Just when you thought Groves was fine, the rope that was tied around my leg snagged and dragged me into the ocean. I thought it's a really cool way, if Groves is going to go, that's a really cool way to do it. It was just that scene really, that scene and maybe one of the earlier scenes, and then after a rewrite, I think the notion was to keep Groves with Barbossa. The King had maybe said to Groves and Gillette (Damian O'Hare), 'Keep an eye on him even though he's working for me, we don't trust him. You go with him the whole way.' That's really what it was, Groves and Gillette traveling with Barbossa to keep an eye him for the king."
On May 19, 2011, Greg Ellis was one of the special guest stars that made an appearance at the Pirates Marathon at El Capitan. It was during this event that Ellis revealed that prior to filming the On Stranger Tides in Hawaii, as per the suggestion of Geoffrey Rush (Barbossa), there was a get-together between "old-timers" to relive and watch the first three installments in about two weeks prior to filming the fourth film in Geoffrey's hotel room. Those who gathered with Geoffrey were screenwriter Terry Rossio, Kevin McNally (Joshamee Gibbs), and Ellis. Ellis also read messages from his three fellow Pirates veterans during the event.
Other Pirates work
With his voice over career, Greg Ellis also provided many voices for the video games for the Pirates franchise as well. Ellis lent his voice in The Legend of Jack Sparrow, in which he voiced Pintel and Ragetti (originally portrayed by Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook respectively), Fat Pirate and Spanish Soldier. He also voiced several "British officers" in the video game adaption of At World's End.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Officer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Officer
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Groves
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow - Pintel, Ragetti, Fat Pirate and Spanish Soldier
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game) - British officers
Notes and references
- Post from Lt. Groves at KTTC forums
- The Hollywood Reporter news article
- Peter Mountain Photo
- Greg Ellis Interview - Beowulf and Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End Greg Ellis Interview
- IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Greg Ellis talks 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' and 'Star Trek 2'
- 1 of 4 - Pirates Marathon! El Capitan Theatre Celebrates Pirates of the Caribbean 4