What happened behind the scenes of The Curse of the Black Pearl that drove Zoe Saldana to quit? Zoe Saldana had only been in the profession for five years when she got what looked to be a dream part. She was cast as Anamaria the Pirate in The Curse of the Black Pearl, the first installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, in the early 2000s.
What ensued was an event that not only exposed her to the true cutthroat nature of the film industry but also nearly ended her promising career. Here’s what occurred behind the scenes of The Curse of the Black Pearl that nearly drove Saldana to resign.
Thrust Into Deep Waters
Saldana was born in June 1978 in New Jersey but spent most of her childhood in her father’s home Dominican Republic. Her first significant role came just before the turn of the century when she was cast as Belinda on the NBC police program Law & Order.
She appeared in up to five films in the three years that followed, as her early career began to take form. She co-starred with Nick Cannon in the 2002 coming-of-age picture Drumline as Laila. In the same year, she co-starred with Britney Spears in another adolescent drama, this time as Kit in Shonda Rhimes’ Crossroads.
Drumline and Crossroads were both critical and commercial successes, grossing $57.6 million and $61.1 million, respectively, at the box office. Following this success, Saldana was plunged into even deeper waters when she joined the renowned, revolutionary Pirates of the Caribbean cast.
The Curse of the Black Pearl recounted the narrative of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Will Turner, a blacksmith (Orlando Bloom). The two are on a mission to save Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), a young lady who has been kidnapped by the zombie crew of the ship ‘Black Pearl.’
A Smash Hit Around The World
Saldana played Anamaria, a pirate whose ship, named ‘Jolly Ann,’ Sparrow had previously seized. The ship finally sunk in the Jamaican town of Port Royal’s port. Anamaria joins Sparrow’s crew and quest, seeing it as an opportunity to confront Sparrow about the wrongdoing.
Why Does Zoe Saldana Regret Her ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Role?
Sparrow promises her ‘The Interceptor,’ a ship he has commandeered from the British Royal Navy, to appease her. Anamaria worked under Sparrow’s leadership on the ‘Interceptor’ and then on the ‘Black Pearl’ before quitting the crew.
The Curse of the Black Pearl was a worldwide mega success. From a budget of around $140 million, it grossed well over $500 million at the box office worldwide. The picture received positive reviews as well, with critics praising how it managed to find a balance between satisfying commercial responsibilities and retaining a leisurely tone.
Empire Online’s Alan Morrison stated, “[Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl] is a film that takes pleasure in its vivid detail and high-quality production, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s a lesson that virtually all of its blockbuster competitors would do well to remember. Audiences aren’t coerced into thinking they should be having fun; they’re having fun because the movie is.”
Being a part of such success, one would think Saldana would have been chomping at the bit to reprise her role as Anamaria in the sequels that followed. In fact, the actress was so dissatisfied with the film that she considered leaving the industry.
In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she discussed the incident. “Those weren’t the appropriate individuals for me,” she explained before adding, “I’m not referring to the actors.” The cast was fantastic. I’m referring to the political maneuverings that took place behind closed doors. It was a lot of above-the-line vs. below-the-line, extras vs. actors, and producers vs. PAs. It was really elitist. I was on the verge of quitting the company.”
Fortunately for the fans who have come to appreciate her on-screen prowess over the years, Saldana swiftly booked a film with a director whose humility and guidance served to rapidly change her perspective. This occurred in Steven Spielberg’s comedy-drama The Terminal, in which she portrayed Dolores Torres.
Saldana has subsequently gone on to become an A-lister in Hollywood, playing famous characters such as Neytiri in Avatar and Nyota Uhura in the J. J. Abrams and Justin Lin Star Trek reboot. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she is also commonly known as Gamora, Thanos’ estranged daughter.