Geoffrey Rush Needed A Push To Join The Pirates Of The Caribbean Cast

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush is legendary for many reasons — he is one of the few performers to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony award). He rose to considerable international prominence after his role in Scott Higgins' biopic "Shine" and has played various incredible roles in his career, one of many being that of Captain Hector Barbossa in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise. 

The villainous, ferocious, once-cursed captain of the Black Pearl has a compelling character arc that takes time to evolve. He's not just a mustache-twirling villain existing to vex our heroes — he has depth. It's hard to imagine the franchise without Barbossa. Interestingly, Rush turned down the opportunity to play the character, and it wasn't until his agent persuaded him that he decided to take on the role.

It had been a long time since pirates ruled the cinemas

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise is one of the highest-grossing in the world. The sweeping tale featuring the swashbuckling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the ferocious undead pirate Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has captivated viewers for decades. The film's characters represented fun and freedom — it was a hit in the making — and still, Rush wasn't convinced to join the cast.

To be fair, Rush hadn't seen a good pirate movie in years when "Pirates of the Caribbean" was offered to him. His hesitation was understandable at the time, but his agent wouldn't hear of it. The actor agreed that the film's script was great, but he had commitments back in Australia — a collaboration with an old director friend to work on a theater production of "Waiting for Godot." 

'I hadn't really worked in the big studio world'

His agent refused to hear of the rejection and pushed him to take on the role, Rush recounted during an interview with Inside The Magic. Here's what he had to say:

"I remember writing a four-page email to my agent and it was titled something like 'I hope you've got a strong cup of coffee and you're sitting down ... I have to politely, regretfully decline the offer. It's a wonderful script, but I'm committed to this.' He then wrote me back an email that was about 10 times longer, telling me 'No no no, you are going to do this project.' So that's where fate comes in. I wrote to all my colleagues and said, 'I'm sorry I'm bailing out; I'm not doing it because I don't like you. But there's an opportunity that's come up that I think is a very important career maneuver.'"

"Pirates of the Caribbean" was a massive opportunity for the actor to break into the "big studio world," and he was fascinated with the character he was offered. Rush quickly determined it was essential that he played Captain Barbossa. "Here was a massive, vibrant, eccentric character that was kind of right up my alley. So I chose to do it," added Rush.

Rush's decision and dedication to perfecting Captain Barbossa cemented him as one of the most-loved characters in the franchise. We love a compelling villain arc — and with the actor's performance, it's exactly what we got.