Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa’s Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush [Photo Credit: Louise at]

Perhaps most well known for his devious role as the self-serving pirate, Barbossa, in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush has taken part in a wide range of films like Gods Of Egypt, Intolerable Cruelty and Shakespeare In Love, as well as the upcoming Genius, in which he plays Albert Einstein. I particularly enjoy his speeches in the Pirates franchise where his words seem to role off the tongue like a Shakespearean sonnet. There are many unexpected layers to his character in the upcoming 5th film in the franchise, as we will soon find out. But don’t worry, there are no spoilers.

It's A Pirate's Life For Me! Follow Along May 17-20 #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush as “Barbossa”

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa’s Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys

[We asked Geoffrey Rush how he felt taking on different personas for his role as Barbossa in the 5th installment in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.]

Geoffrey Rush: Before I actually entered into the story, he was described rather fearfully by the two pirates that are now my assistants. He’s spat out from the mouth of hell. So, he was pretty much the dark villain of the piece. There is a sort or poignant but rather ridiculous comic madman.

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush [Photo Credit: Louise at]

[What did you think of Johnny Depp’s role and working with him?]

Geoffrey Rush: It was just fantastic to think someone like Johnny, [who] was the king of the independent films here, [who created] great characters like Edward Scissor Hands and What’s Eating Gilbert Great and all of the things that he did. For him to create such a unique, unpredictable pirate, there’s nothing like it in literature or cinema before. And he got nominated for a Best Actor Award, which is just fantastic. Action adventure films just don’t really get a look in on that territory. But I remember him telling me when we shot the first film, he said, “We can’t be stereotypes. We’ve got to create really imaginative kind of people that an audience will get very engaged with.

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

[What was the inspiration for your Barbossa character?]

I like the British rock stars of the ‘60s, you know, the real Blackbeard used to have fuse wire burning in his beard [so] that when people saw him they thought he was the devil. So, with Barbossa I wanted to make him very arrogant and very pompous and very superior and maybe a bit slightly self-diluted about how bright he actually is. I was a bit more like a glam rock star [of the 70s]….he’s a control freak and he loves thinking he’s the most powerful person on the planet. And then I worked for the king. I liked that in Pirates 4. And I said, you know, I really insist that I have a very elaborate wig and lovely makeup and a beauty spot. When he put on the courtly makeup with his crusty skin, he didn’t look any prettier. Barbossa isn’t somebody with any sense of personal style whatsoever, you know.

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush [Photo Credit: Louise at]

[Barbossa’s character arc has many surprises in the upcoming film. We touch on that in the interview, but I will share with you the non-spoiler parts today.]

Geoffrey Rush: I had a guy interviewing me yesterday and he was tearing up while we were chatting. He said I just went the last 25 minutes of the film sobbing. I just like the way [it works] thematically in the whole film. And Kaya [Scodelario] is such a gorgeous actress, and she’s got a very feisty, natural funky quality. My daughter worked on the film in the costume department, and they’re the same age. And I don’t know if Skins shows here in the states. It was very popular teenage series in the UK, and Kaya played one of the main characters in that. And I love the fact that she’s, you know, [portrayed] as being this really brilliant, female astronomer. And the fact that she, you know, for all of her rationale, empirical, scientific aspiration, she still has to deal with the fact that somebody like Salazar existed as well, who’s supernatural.

[You and Johnny have a great back and forth. Was that natural, or did you have to work on that?]

Geoffrey Rush: We sort of decided now that the Black Pearl is our mutual girlfriend and we both want her, you know. Then chances are that Jack Sparrow will end up with the ship, but that sense of harmony’s always going to stay there I think.

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

[Then we get to the monkey. Actually, monkeys, as the monkey in Pirates was played by several different monkeys. Awwww…]

Geoffrey Rush: The monkey’s great. The monkey’s trained to really have no relationship with me, because if it did it would just be looking for things to eat in my wig. You know what I mean. And they’re very loyal to their owner if trained correctly. So, I pulled a sword or somebody yelled fire or whatever, the monkey would just go [crazy]. So, the monkey is completely in the hands of the trainer. And the trainers are brilliant. They’re able to sort of throw in all the instructions in and around the dialogue.

I remember on the first film we’d shot the first meeting with Elizabeth Swann and I’d come down with the monkey on my shoulder, and we had a big dialogue between us. And suddenly when they came in for the close shops, the boson was this massive, deep, black-skinned guy called Isaac Singleton Junior. He was this gentle giant and he hadn’t been there in the earlier shots. And the monkey was kind of [uncomfortable].

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush [Photo Credit: Louise at]

And the trainer [Ursula] said “I think it’s okay.” She had this idea of just squirting a water pistol onto Tara’s chest. She had a little vest and everything. So everything looks like she’s looking at Elizabeth Swann. And Ursula’s sort of down on the ground going “Tara, Tara, Tara.” It was hilarious. There was one scene where we’re going into the scene and Ursula, she was quite an attractive blonde woman, was down lying on the floor between my legs in the boat sending all of these commands out to Tara. And then Pablo and Chiquita [2 more monkeys] came.

Pablo and Chiquita were a good team. [They got] peanut rewards or little bits of dried banana and stuff like that. And I used to love it. I’d feel them on my shoulder making all those little noises. And you just get very warm soft, aromatic, peanut breath.

[He also spoke of how one of the monkeys actually remembered him 5 years later when they met again on the set of Pirates. How sweet! And Pablo even gave him an original painting as a wrap gift!]

Geoffrey Rush: It’s really amazing. And it’s framed. And it’s an ogre background and it’s got these mad, green spreads, like abstract – I call it abstract simian expressionism. And then there’s some yellow over on this side. It’s really quite artistic. I don’t know what that is. That could’ve been the contents of the diaper that he wears.

Because I took it on the Chelsea Lately Show and I described it like it was a great painting. And then I go, “Oh, sorry, it’s the wrong way.” Then over on the side, there’s a little paw print. Signed. It’s an original by Pablo.

Geoffrey Rush Interview: He Talks Barbossa's Inspiration & Pirate Monkeys #PiratesLifeEvent

Geoffrey Rush [Photo Credit: Louise at]

[While we were getting our picture made with Geoffrey Rush, he commented on how he would kiss us all but he didn’t have time. Too bad. :P]

*Thanks to Louise at for the epic pictures. 😉

Be Sure To Watch Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales In Theaters May 26th!

Get Social With Pirates Of The Caribbean

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.


  1. This looks like such a great movie. I am a fan of all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This was a great interview. I enjoyed reading it.
    Tara recently posted…Cobb Salad RecipeMy Profile

  2. I am a big fan of these movies. I can’t wait to go see it.

  3. Oh my goodness what an amazing opportunity to get to interview such a talented actor. I adored reading this and finding out some more about him and the way he thinks.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…How to Find the Perfect Plants for your GardenMy Profile

  4. When I first saw the trailers I didn’t realize it was Geoffrey Rush because he looks so different. I can’t wait to see the movie.
    Heather @ Kraus House Mom recently posted…Touring Middle SchoolMy Profile

  5. I love this interview! Geoffry Rush and his character, Barbosa, are my two most favorite parts of Pirates. I love reading about how he approached his character.
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted…21 Strawberry Dessert RecipesMy Profile

  6. It would not be an exaggeration to say the Geoffry Rush is one of the greatest actors of our time. He really puts a spin on characters that you can’t beat.
    Bill Sweeney recently posted…Get Deep Into The Mix and Elevate Your Game TimeMy Profile

  7. Catherine Sargent says

    He is such a good actor and what a great interview. We have plans to see this movie over the weekend and I am super excited about it.

  8. I definitely love this post, especially the part about the pirate monkeys. Not a huge fan of the movie series, but love all things Disney, and besides who couldn’t love a pirate monkey?
    Sarah recently posted…Morning Coffee (5/25) Golden Girls Clue, Free Stuff, Best Burger, Cookie Pizza, Potty Talk + MoreMy Profile

  9. It’s really interesting how Geoffrey’s performance was inspired by 70s glam rock stars. I think he’s done such a good job in the first four movies.
    Liz Mays recently posted…Fitness? Yeah, Fittin’ Dis Workout into My Travel PlansMy Profile

  10. What an incredible experience! I cannot wait to see this movie. It’s so neat to read about how they all are behind the scenes too. So fun!
    Jennifer Soltys recently posted…Brunching in the City – 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander ReviewMy Profile

  11. gingermommyrants says

    I would love to interview him. This must have been an amazing experience. I am so excited to go see this with my girls.

  12. He is great at every role he plays! I just love him as Barbossa, he is the best!

  13. I am so excited to see this movie. The more I hear about it the more I want to see it.

  14. Amy Desrosiers says

    This is going to be fun movie. I really need to catch up soon!

  15. Geoffrey Rush is such a talented actor. I love almost every role that he’s played, even when he’s evil.
    Natasha recently posted…Engineering Summer Fun with Tinker CrateMy Profile

  16. What a great interview. I always like to hear the actor’s point of view. I am in love with all of the POTC films and am super excited for the new one to be released this summer!
    Theresa recently posted…Garlic & Herb Braid Bread – Get In My Tummy!My Profile

  17. What a great opportunity and how fun to meet him. I can’t wait to see this movie.
    Fariha recently posted…That Time I Met Prime Minister @justintrudeau #CdnPoli #LPCMy Profile

  18. This looks like it’s going to be such a great movie. I’ve really enjoyed the whole franchise.
    Randa recently posted…I Survived My DIY Kitchen Renovation + Before & AftersMy Profile

  19. This movie will be so awesome. I love the whole pirates franchise.

  20. What a great opportunity!I can’t wait to see the movie with my family! Sounds like an amazing one!
    Toni | Boulder Locavore recently posted…Gluten-free Summer Salads for Grill Parties, Picnics and CookoutsMy Profile

  21. What an insane opportunity! Geoffrey Rush is a legend and has been a part of so many amazing movies.

  22. Gosh! I just had a movie marathon of the Pirates of the Carribean movie series and I really can’t wait for this latest installment! Love all the characters! Such a great actor!
    Jenni recently posted…Importance of Knowing Your Target ClientMy Profile

  23. Sounds like he’s a great guy and it was a great interview. That girl in the group picture on the bottom left hand side is a cutie LMAO!!!
    Rachel Ferrucci recently posted…Exclusive Interview With Brenton Thwaites-Henry Pirates of the CaribbeanMy Profile

  24. Geoffrey Rush sounds like quite a guy.
    It really looks like this was an information-rich interview.

  25. Such a great interview! I cant wait to see this, it looks really great. I love interviews like this, they make the movies that much more exciting!

  26. What a fun interview! He does such a great job.

  27. Such a great interview. It would be fun to attend. Too bad you gals didn’t get that kiss. 😉

  28. Funny, my husband and I were watching Jimmy Kimmel on tv tonight and Johnny Depp was the main guest promoting this movie, and we were saying that we need to watch this new Pirates movie. 🙂
    Jocelyn @ Hip Mama’s Place recently posted…Watch Your Kid Grow with Mott’s + Get A FREE Growth ChartMy Profile

  29. Our Family World says

    This must have been such an awesome experience for you to get up close and personal with such a talented actor! I can’t wait to see the new Pirates movie in our local theater!

  30. Such a fun experience you had there, looking forward to seeing it. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge