For Gore Verbinski, the man at the helm of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, last July’s release of Dead Man’s Chest brought both heaps of doubloons at the box office — to the tune of $1.1 billion worldwide — and heaps of scorn from the many critics and moviegoers who deemed it a muddled, waterlogged mess. Just weeks before the May 25 release of At World’s End, the final Pirates installment, Verbinski chatted with EW.com about those scurvy critics, Keith Richards’ cameo as Teague Sparrow, and whether there will be more Pirates movies sailing over the horizon.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There’s been a lot of talk lately about how expensive this summer’s big franchise pictures are, with several, including At World’s End, at around $300 million.
GORE VERBINSKI: Why is that? If you go on a cruise, you don’t wonder how much the boat cost. It’s just, was it a good cruise? You don’t go on a vacation and worry how much it cost to build the engines of the plane you’re traveling on.
Still, I’m sure you don’t want to be the guy whose name gets attached to ”the most expensive movie ever made.”
I don’t think we’re the most expensive movie ever made.
Well, right now some people are pinning that title on Spider-Man 3.
[Laughs] Fantastic. Beautiful. But it gets back to this: You pay $10 and go in the theater and you want to be entertained. That’s a pretty tremendous value. You’re going to tell the story with however much money they’re going to let you have.
Dead Man’s Chest received some pretty harsh reviews. What did you make of the criticisms that the movie’s intersecting plot lines were confusing?
I find [Sergio Leone’s] The Good The Bad and The Ugly confusing in a beautiful way. I think sometimes that’s an asset. As long as there’s chatter, then there’s at least a kind of visceral response. I’m constantly the one going, ”Yeah, but they’re talking about it. Don’t change it so that they don’t.” If you’re just eating a piece of pizza and not thinking about it — I hope I don’t make movies like that. I don’t really read the reviews, so I guess I don’t know what was confusing. But if it’s an argument against complexity, I think we’ve gotten more complex [in At World’s End], not less. We haven’t run away or chickened out. We certainly don’t shy away from putting stuff in that upsets people. I wouldn’t want to take all the pimples out. It has to have some smell and a voice. I like movies that aren’t perfect.
NEXT PAGE: ”What’s fun to me [is] to pervert the genre. You throw stuff in a Petri dish and see what grows.”