Ástrid Bergés-Frisbey – POTC4

May 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

Her professional career may have begun obscurely as an actress and model in Paris, but Ástrid Bergés-Frisbey will soon see some major fanfare when her very first American-made movie, the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, hits theaters this week.

In the swashbuckling sequel, Bergés-Frisbey, who is of Spanish and French heritage, plays Syrena, a mermaid who becomes the key to finding the Fountain of Youth.

During an exclusive interview with me, Bergés-Frisbey, 24, talked about the long auditioning process she went through to land the role of Syrena and why she decided to stay out of the sun as much as possible while shooting in Hawaii.

What was the auditioning process like for this huge blockbuster movie?

The first was a casting audition in Paris. It wasn’t easy for me because at that point my English was really, really bad. I did a quick scene but knew nothing about the character. They didn’t even tell me it was a mermaid, but I guessed because the name “Syrena” sounded like “mermaid” in Spanish (“sirena”). During the audition I wasn’t expecting anything. I never thought I would be auditioning for a huge blockbuster English movie like “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It was just unbelievable to think I could get the part.

I’m guessing there was more than one audition you had to do?

Yeah, the second came four days later in L.A. It was my first time there. It was in front of [director] Rob Marshall and [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer. I was really nervous, but they made me feel really comfortable. They were really welcoming and lovely with me.

Did you go home thinking you had done enough to earn the part?

When I flew back to Paris I had this sensation that I did my best. I came back hoping I would get to work with these fabulous people. After that, my agent called me again to say there would be one more audition in London. I was like, “Oh my God, again?” After 10 days I went to London and the day before the audition my agent called me and told me I got the part. I didn’t think it was real. I was supposed to do an audition the next day. I was trembling and screaming in my hotel room.

As you started to learn more about your character, what did you like about her?

I really liked the way they imagined the mermaids in the movie because they are closer to the original legends like in “The Odyssey” from Homer. I liked the fact they are the enemy. They are creatures that take the form of beautiful women who charm sailors and then kill them. I was interested in that. I was also interested in my mermaid because she is a bit different. She has a different side to her. It’s exciting for an actress to work on a character like that.

Is it true while you were shooting in Hawaii you tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible so you wouldn’t get a tan?

Yeah, because I knew that for the continuity it would be really hard for everyone if they had to work with someone whose skin color was always changing. But it’s impossible not to get sun in Hawaii even if you wear a hat and sunscreen, so it was difficult. This mermaid was really pale because I imagined her living really deep underwater. Usually mermaids just come out at night.

Had that ever happened to you before?

Yeah, I had some bad memories from another movie. I had lunch outside in the sun one day. It was a huge problem for the movie. I was red. It was kind of tragic. I didn’t want something like that to happen again.

In the film you help Capt. Jack Sparrow look for the Fountain of Youth. If you were ever given the chance to drink from the fountain and be young forever would you do it?

No because I love life and I’d like to live every minute of it. I think life is more interesting if you take it each step of the way.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

May 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush
Directed by: Rob Marshall (“Chicago”)
Written by: Ted Elliott (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”) and Terry Rossio (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”)

On the high seas again for the fourth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” action-adventure franchise, this one penned as “On Stranger Tides,” three-time Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp returns as the slurry and always-peculiar pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, a character he first brought to the big screen in 2003’s “The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Eight years and two inexplicable sequels later, Capt. Jack is still up to his mischievous ways — drinking rum, wielding his sword, and looking for booty — this time in all its 3D glory. With a fantasy series like Pirates as bankable as ever, it’s safe to say Disney may still have a few installments to go, despite the fact that “Tides” is basically a quest we’ve all been on before.

This time, Capt. Jack finds himself on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a menacing-looking ship belonging to the much-feared pirate of all pirates Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Swabbing the decks with the rest of the crew, Capt. Jack has set sail to find the Fountain of Youth, a mythical spring needed by Blackbeard to save his life should an ominous prophecy come true. On the ship with Capt. Jack is Blackbeard’s daughter Angelica (Penélope Cruz, bringing the sex appeal provided in the first three films by Keira Knightley), who seems to have some kind of romantic past with our buccaneer hero.

Former Pirates Director Gore Verbinski is replaced here by Academy Award-winner Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), a filmmaker with the grandiose mindset to pull off a blockbuster like this, but who instead plays it cautiously by following his predecessor’s by-the-numbers approach. Even with Marshall’s enthusiasm for musicals, don’t expect a song and a dance from any of the mateys here. Capt. Jack is flamboyant enough without help from Gilbert & Sullivan.

Back for another round of swashbuckling is Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”) as the vile and peg-legged Barbossa, who proves more of an ally to Capt. Jack on this journey. Like Depp’s captain, Rush has embraced his character so thoroughly that without him or Depp there would be no point to continue the charade.

Whatever the case may be, the narrative of this series needs a major wake-up-call if it doesn’t want to lull audiences to sleep with the same old fantasy plotting and repetitious action sequences. Pay no mind to the four or five swordfights we get in “Tides” – the best scene comes during a mermaid battle that is heavy on CGI and imagination. Take all the scenes where the boys are banging blades and mix them in a barrel and you’d be hard-pressed to tell which one goes to which “Pirates” movie.

Besides its overall unoriginality, “Tides” just doesn’t have the same magic “Black Pearl” had back when Capt. Jack was something special and not just another option for a Halloween costume. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s had enough time to fiddle with the equation and turn it into a spectacle. For failing that, he deserves to be tossed overboard.