A pirate’s life for me! Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released on June 28, 2003 — but it was only the beginning for Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.
The film was based on a Disney theme parks attraction and led to four sequels: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At World’s End (2007), On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
The franchise’s first installment was a commercial success, grossing $654.3 million worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing film of the year. Johnny Depp received an Oscar nomination and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow.
At the time, film critic Roger Ebert said of the 58-year-old actor’s performance, “It can be said that [Depp’s] performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie … his behavior shows a lifetime of rehearsal.”
The Curse of the Black Pearl was also nominated for four other Academy Awards, including Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects.
The film follows Captain Jack Sparrow and young blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) who set out to rescue Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) after she is kidnapped by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).
Knightley and Bloom’s characters were in love, but the pair never dated off screen. In a 2019 interview with Howard Stern, the Lord of the Rings actor admitted that he’d once had a crush on both Knightley and his Elizabethtown costar Kirsten Dunst but was “way too shy” to tell either of them. He also claimed not to date people he works with. “I never s—t where I eat,” he told the radio show host. “I’m not saying I haven’t fallen in love.”
While Knightley and Bloom only appeared in the Pirates franchise’s first three films, Depp starred in all five. In 2022, amid his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, however, the Edward Scissorhands actor claimed that he was axed from his Captain Jack Sparrow role as a result of Heard’s domestic violence allegations.
“My opinion is it was related to the accusations that Amber has made,” the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star said in a pre-recorded video deposition, adding that he’d spoken to producer Jerry Bruckheimer about the situation. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, stated that Bruckheimer never directly confirmed that Depp’s departure from the franchise was due to the Aquaman actress’s claims.
Scroll down to see where Bloom, Knightley and the rest of the Pirates of the Caribbean cast is now: