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That Time Keira Knightley Was Really Stranded On A Desert Island Filming Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

It sounds like the behind-the-scenes experience of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies was just as rowdy and swashbuckling as what was going on onscreen. Though the pirate-focused franchise is considered some of Keira Knightley’s best movies, her memories from filming the big-budget action movies are far less treasures, and that included getting stranded on a desert island.

The British actress — who portrayed Elizabeth Swann in 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2006’s Dead Man’s Chest, 2007’s At World’s End and 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales — not only had to deal with her character’s tight period corsets but also nearly being stranded on a deserted island during production on Black Pearl

In a 2003 interview with Spin, Knightley detailed the night shoot when a rubber speedboat she was riding in got stuck on a reef, leaving her waiting for rescue in “waist-deep” water for 45 minutes:

I don’t know how anyone ever dealt with being lost on a desert island. Forty-five minutes awaiting rescue while being stranded waist-deep in water was quite enough.

Ironically, in the film, her character Elizabeth — who the actress describes in the interview as “a damsel in distress who ends up a wench, a 21-st century rebel living in an 18th-century world”— would also wind up marooned on a deserted island with Jack Sparrow, the irreverent pirate famously played by Johnny Depp. 

Given the harrowing reef rescue, though, it’s not exactly surprising that Knightley wouldn’t be eager to return for more Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The actress’s brief return to the Disney franchise in 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, alongside her onscreen husband Orlando Bloom, would allegedly be Knightley’s last appearance as Swann, as she toldETearlier this year: 

I mean, she sailed away so nicely. She sailed away in brilliant style.

Thankfully, it looks like Knightley has since forgotten the more distressing moments of filming the Pirates films. She told the outlet that there’s “not much” she remembers from the first film now, two decades after it was released, since she was a mere teenager while making those movies. 

But she does note how important The Curse of the Black Pearl was in kicking off her lengthy acting career, saying that the blockbuster action flicklaunched [her] out of a rocket:”

It sort of launched me out of a rocket, really, as far as my career went. That year was Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean. So, I’m being asked about all three. Unfortunately, I was 16 and 17. so I don’t really remember very much of it, but yes, it certainly was a very big year for me.

So, it’s highly unlike that we’ll be seeing Keira Knightley back as Elizabeth Swann anytime soon, but you can stream the Pirates movies with a Disney+ subscription. And you can see the English star as Loretta McLaughlin in the recent historical crime drama, Boston Strangler, which is available to stream with a Hulu subscription. After surviving being stranded on a desert island, tracking down a serial killer sounds like a walk in the park!

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