KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent -- Johnny Depp's performance as the
tooth-challenged, swashbuckling, liquor-soaked Capt. Jack Sparrow
in Touchstone Pictures' "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the
Black Pearl" earned him not only an Oscar nomination and top award
from the Screen Actors Guild but also won him a devoted set of fans
and a return invitation to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The film, which was shot in various locales on St. Vincent and
surrounding islands over a 10-month period in 2002 and 2003,
simultaneously opened in SVG and in U.S. theaters on July 9,
"We were told that it's unusual that a U.S.-produced film debut
anywhere except the U.S. on opening day," a tourism official said.
"The producers did it to show their gratitude to our people for
their support during the filming. Everyone here already has seen it
at least two times."
Many scenes from the movie were shot at a stage set built along
the sea on St. Vincent's west coast, which has become a popular
Wayne Halbich of Baleine Tours, who offers daily powerboat tours
along the coast to the Falls of Baleine near La Soufriere Volcano
in the north, said he always "pulls into the lagoon where many
scenes from 'Pirates' were shot. Tourists love it. Most have seen
the film, and they take photos of the beach and rocks and movie
Up close, it's easy to see that the pier and jumble of
buildings, which appear authentically aged on the screen, actually
are made of flimsy plywood and will probably not stand much
The rock arches, however, at the entrance to the small lagoon
are the real thing; several of Depp's fellow mateys hung from,
swung from and fired from the arches at enemy ships.
Although room occupancies all over St. Vincent soared during the
filming, it was a mixed blessing, according to several
Jean-Michel Kent, general manager of the 10-room Villa Lodge
Hotel on Indian Bay in Kingstown, said that "we were full during
the filming with cast and crew members, but since no visitors could
get a room, they gave up on us and went elsewhere, even to other
islands. I hope they haven't forgotten that we're here and now need
Restaurants, too, benefited from the movie. Ocean Allegro, a
Mediterranean-style waterfront restaurant in Kingstown, served as
the unofficial after-hours hangout for many of the cast and
Lisa Cham Roberts, owner and manager, said that Johnny Depp "was
a very entertaining guest."
"He and his pals were here almost every night and the place was
packed. We hosted the wrap party, which involved not only the cast
and crew but lots of locals." -- G.N.M.
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