Our favorite line we wrote for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is one we didn't write...
Dairy on Location by Terry Rossio
"April 30, 2003
This is how it goes, some days, when you're a writer working on set of a major motion picture:
6:15 A.M., my writing partner, Ted Elliott and I get called into director Gore Verbinski's office after a 30-minute morning commute to work via ferry along the coast of St. Vincent (yeah, sure beats the 405 at rush hour). Gore explained there was a change planned for that day's shooting. The stunt guys had figured out a brilliant way to pull Johnny Depp out of the water onto the moving ship - but it meant Depp had to land back near the ship's wheel. The script had called for him to land mid-ships and move toward the wheel. The new staging meant Depp's character had to say something to order his crew away, and leave him alone for the final shot.
And this was the end shot of the movie, could we come up with a command that was interesting, meaningful, a bit more profound than "Back to work, Mates!"
Ted went off to talk to the captain of one of the film's working ships, the Lady Washington, and try to scare up some authentic nautical commands. I went to find Depp and warn him that some new dialogue was coming. Johnny was cool with it, and even had suggestions - as research for the role, he'd been reading stories of seafaring men, he said, so "How about something like, 'We venture forth over waves of adversity beneath clouds of adventure, always searching for that elusive shore of our dreams...?'"
"Right," I said... "Uh, something just like that. We're working on it."
So I go hook up with Ted on the Lady Washington, and they've come up with some possible phrases. There were a few that weren't right at all - chief among them, I recall, was "Put the wind to our aft!" That's just not a line you want to use to end a movie. We all liked the phrase, "To stations! Let go, and haul to run free!" I particularly liked the 'run free' part, it seemed appropriate for Depp's character, who considered his ship a symbol of freedom.
So we run that line past Gore, he stares off into the distance, says "I dunno, I get kind of a BORN FREE vibe out of that, maybe something else?"
So, back to the Lady Washington. On the way we get the message from a PA via walkie-talkie that Depp wants us to meet him in make-up, but the ship is on the way, so we stop off there first, to try to find another line.
Now I will always remember this:
We hear a shout, look over, and there's Johnny Depp racing toward us full speed from the make-up trailers, only half in costume, waving a piece of paper over his head. He's shouting - I kid you not - "I've got it! Got it!"
He races full speed toward the gangplank, and let me tell you something about gangplanks, they're not very sturdy. Whenever we went across the production was careful to have a sailor on either end, one to help you on, the other to help you down onto the ship.
Depp wasn't waiting for that -- he bounded onto the gangplank, it bounced him into the air, and light as a feather he came down on it, bounced up again, and landed gracefully on deck. Hey, that's why he gets the big bucks. He comes up to us, breathless, says "I got it." and shows us the paper.
Well, with a build-up like that, from your major star, you'd better hope that it's good. We look at the paper, and beneath a bunch of crossed-off efforts, it says -"Bring me that horizon!"
Ted and I look at each other.
"That's pretty good," Ted says.
Hell, it was really good. We put it together with the previous line and it sounded great, "Let go and haul to run free! Bring me that horizon!"
We took it to Gore. He thought about it for all of half a second, said "That's pretty good. That's really good." Now he even liked the 'run free' lead-in, too.
So by mid-morning we were rehearsing. The only thing left was the first line, the reference to the crew. Depp gamely tried our first effort, which I think was something like, "What are you looking at, you rickets-ridden layabouts! Back to work!" After spitting that out a few times he came over and demanded a better line. We worked through a few - Depp's candidate was 'starving maggots' but I pointed out that seemed like a contradiction - and then Ted came up with "scabrous dogs." So, the end line of the movie was finally set:
"JACK SPARROW: "What are you lookin' at, you scabrous dogs? Back to work! Let go and haul to run free! Bring me that horizon!"
As of this writing, I don't know if the movie is good, or if the lines made it in, or even if they work the way they should. But if the film is good, it's fun to think that the final line of the film was written the day it was shot.
I hope it does work. I hope the movie is great.
Because I've got something pinned above my desk. The scrap of paper Depp was waving as he raced out of the trailer, that he wrote the line on. I kept it, of course".
The translation in Russian