I believe it takes a lot to carry a strong female lead, surrounded by several strong males, and Kaya Scodelario accomplishes just that! In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kaya Scodelario plays Carina Smyth, an astronomer and horologist seeking the Trident and her father’s identity. Carina sought the Trident to prove herself as a scientist and also “unravel the mystery of where she came from, discover who her unknown father is, and who she is truly meant to be.”
Along Carina’s journey, she meets Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). With two strong-willed men at her side, Carina (Kaya) can definitely hold her own, and doesn’t back down. She wants to be seen for who she truly is. I had the privilege of sitting down with Kaya and chatting about her role as Carina, and she was beautiful, funny, and perfectly irreverent at all the right times. She’s definitely someone you could sit around a campfire with, and have some fun.
Kaya’s take on the costumes and a corset
When asked how she felt in her costume, Kaya said, “There’s something really cool about a corset, it does feel quite empowering actually, because you have to sit up strong. The first day is awful. And I’d get my husband to secretly loosen it up at lunchtime so that I could eat and stuff. I like that Carina’s dress isn’t perfect. It’s actually tattered and old and ripped up and dirty, as that helped me kind of understand a bit of her back story. I think this is a dress that she’s held onto because it’s kind of the only one she has, and she’s managed to make it as practical as possible to her.”
Being a part of a male dominated cast
As one of the only women in Pirates of the Caribbean, Kaya doesn’t seem to feel out of place. Here’s why:
“I shouldn’t say lucky because it should be like that- but the guys have never made me feel like the only woman, especially on Maze Runner, especially with this. They always treat me exactly the same. I’ve never felt like, you know, I’ll walk on the set and they’re like the girl is here, we have to stop farting. They continue to do that anyway! I’ve grown up with guys; I love them and my best friends are guys, and I like that energy. Once they get over you being a woman, it can actually be kind of bonding and nice. And the last two movies have been very male dominated.”
Playing a strong female and why it’s important as a mother
Kaya is selective on what roles she will take on. “Every role I look for a woman that I would have liked to have seen at thirteen on the big screen. I mean, (Carina) she’s an orphan, she’s a survivor. She’s also stubborn and argumentative and she’s also funny and flirty and there’s so much to her. And I’m grateful that they wrote her this way.” It is important to Kaya to portray such a multi-layered, strong woman, so her son son can grow up watching, respecting, and understanding women. “We aren’t just the Disney princess or the love interest or the damsel in distress and Carina is certainly not any of those things.”
Doing the stunts is really fun for Kaya because they aren’t things you do every day in life. It helps to know there’s a great crew who is going to keep you safe. There was a minor shoulder injury where she had to wear a sling between takes, so that was a bit challenging, but she definitely “swam in the Australian ocean with the sharks and every other thing that can kill you there.” Quite a gal, right?!
Kaya’s take on dyslexia and acting
“The biggest thing for me was just knowing that I wasn’t the only one. I remember when I was twelve and I was diagnosed, I was really freaked out by it because I didn’t understand what it was. For me it meant I’m dumb, that’s like all I knew, I thought well this just means that I can’t ever achieve what other people can. And then they had a poster up in my school saying Tom Cruise has dyslexia.
And that instantly to me was like, oh okay, well he’s doing all right. Maybe I’ll be okay and it’s just about having an open conversation about it. So the more we can discuss and the more resources we can bring into schools, I think the better.”
Working with Johnny Depp
Kaya had wonderful things to say about Johnny, so I’ll just let you hear it from her:
“It’s wonderful. I mean when you watch the movie, you get to see the one take that’s selected, and we get to see the fifty five other ones that he comes up with on the spot. He’s just a genius, he really is, there’s a reason why he’s so successful. He’s good at what he does. And his improvisation is just- I mean my first day on set with him, I had to be really serious in a scene, and I just laughed and laughed and laughed and I was like I’m going to get fired, there’s no way they’re going to put up with me, he just brings it every single time. ‘
When asked what she wants people to take away from Dead Men Tell No Tales, here’s what Kaya had to say:
“I hope that they understand that this is an adventure for the whole family and it’s something that should be seen on the big screen and the best technology possible. We spent six months making this and two years in post production for a reason. That’s how it should be seen and that’s how the whole family will enjoy it at its best.”
Kaya Scodelario is a darling person and a phenomenal actress. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in theaters now, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you really should!
I was provided an all expense paid trip for the purpose of covering the new Pirates of the Caribbean and Bambi releases. All opinions expressed are my own.