Keira Knightley Had A Shipwreck Of Her Own While Shooting Pirates Of The Caribbean

The legacy of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films is ... complicated. The two post-Gore Verbinski sequels "On Stranger Tides" and "Dead Men Tell No Tales" were quite bad. Our perception of Johnny Depp has taken some major hits, both as a human and an actor. Disney is looking to rework the whole franchise into a Margot Robbie vehicle, and I would not be surprised if they would be trying to distance themselves as far as they could from the series we know.

That being said, those first three films are still tremendous blockbuster entertainment. And, yes, I said three. Gore Verbinski imprinted his wacky visual and tonal control to this lore-filled, swashbuckling epic and created three films that were not just extremely important to me as a young filmgoer but remain some of the best auteur-driven blockbusters of the 21st century. Any one of them I can throw on at anytime, any place. For most, the draw was Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. Not me. My draw was Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, and its her story that leads me across the trilogy.

Swann's evolution from cloistered governor's daughter at the beginning of "The Curse of the Black Pearl" to being elected the Pirate King in "At World's End" never fails to get my fist to pump in the air. Knightley's charm and gravitas, along with her action abilities, hold these fairly shambolic movies together, which is even more impressive considering how young she was while making them. She was thrown into the deep end with these films and held herself up brilliantly, but it was no easy task. Working on ships and islands can cause so much production trouble, and Knightley had some firsthand experience on how it could go poorly.

Getting caught on a reef

Shooting out on the water causes so many issues. Making a film requires a ton of equipment that needs some kind of power source, and getting it all out on some boats takes a lot of time and preparation. You have to contend with the weather, the tide, the size of waves, and so many more natural occurrences that could vary day-by-day or even hour-by-hour. Just listen to Steven Spielberg talk about making "Jaws" to know how difficult it can be out there.

Well, Keira Knightley ended up in one of those unforeseen situations that can come about if you are cruising on the water all day for a film production. One night, on the first film, she was in a rubber speed boat that got caught on a reef, and she was stuck there for nearly an hour. Funnily enough, her character Elizabeth Swann ends up stuck on a deserted island with Jack Sparrow, and she handles the situation much better and figures out an ingenious way to get off of it. While Knightley may have excelled at playing Swann, she does not have the same mentality as her character in real life. Talking with Spin back in 2003, Knightley said:

"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."

Honestly, who can blame her? That's why you will rarely find me on a boat. I would be scared out of my mind, and I am not a 17 year-old in the midst of a gigantic Hollywood breakthrough. You wouldn't find me in the ocean for awhile after that. But Keira Knightley made two more "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, so I guess she got over it.