Kaya Scodelario has often played a strong female character on the big screen and there isn’t an exception in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. In Dead Men Tell No Tales she plays “Carina Smyth” an intelligent scientist confused as a witch, because of course females shouldn’t be educated. We sat down with Kaya Scodelario and she shared her thoughts on a few things.
Kaya Scodelario Shares All Things Pirates Of The Caribbean
Describing her character:
She’s a young woman who doesn’t have any family. She’s an orphan, but she’s really tried to carve out a life for herself. She doesn’t let that deﬁne her. She wants to study at university. That’s her main goal. She wants to be an astronomer. She wants to study time and space and stars and the universe.”
On Being one of the only females on the set:
Yeah I mean I’ve been, 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. And with this one too, 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 (laughing). They continue to do that anyway. I’ve grown up with guys; I love them. My best friends are guys, and I like that energy. I think once they get over you being a woman, it can be kind of bonding and nice and but yeah it was interesting. And the last two movies have been very male dominated.
photo credit Disney
On Playing a strong female character:
It’s always important for me. Every role I look for a woman that I would have liked to have seen at thirteen on the big screen. And it’s a huge responsibility because people forget in blockbusters that we’re not simple, there are multilayers, and a lot is going on, she has a lot of that. I mean, she’s an orphan, she’s a survivor. She’s also stubborn and argumentative, but also funny and flirty.
There’s so much to her. And I’m grateful that they wrote her this way. Because usually with a film this size, unfortunately, there isn’t time to layer out a character too much. I made a real effort to her to try and hit all those beats; it’s something that I hope my son grows up watching and understands in women, that we aren’t just the Disney princess or the love interest or the damsel in distress and she’s certainly not any of those things.
Her character also wants to find herself and make her father proud even though she doesn’t know who he is. All she was left with was a book she thinks was from her father.
SPOILER ALERT: Barbossa is her father.
The scene where Carina realizes that Barbossa is her father when she sees the tattoo, that was a very emotional scene.
On bringing those emotions forward?
Well, I have a real personal connection with all that. My father lived far away from me, and he’d always say if you look up at Orion’s Belt, we’re both looking at the same star. (She gets a little emotional). Sorry, I know. And he passed away.
So it was very easy for me to tap into that moment and also to get to work with an actor like Geoffrey. He’s, well you look in his eyes, he’s wonderful. He’s just a giving actor. A film like Pirates, you don’t expect to have that really strong emotional beat, especially as an actor, to get a chance to in the middle of all this craziness just kind of go quiet. And really focus on that relationship, it was an honor. I think we both really thought it was important and we wanted to treat it with as much respect as possible.
On Doing Stunts:
I love to do all that stuff. Because it’s not things, you do every day in life. And to get the opportunity to do it, when you have a great crew that you know it’s going to be safe and it’s going to be done the proper way. But I injured my shoulder. I didn’t break, but I popped out something in there on the Black Pearl of all places. And so afterward it was kind of tough we had about four weeks of filming still so I had to wear a sling in between takes and I had to go quite easy on it.
On working with Johnny Depp:
It’s wonderful. I mean when you watch the movie, you get to see the one take that’s selected, we get to see the fifty-five other ones that he’s come up with on the spot. And it’s he’s just a genius, he really is, there’s a reason why he’s so successful. And he’s good at what he does. 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.
On dealing with Dyslexia:
Well the biggest thing for me was just knowing that I wasn’t the only one. I remember when I was twelve and diagnosed, I was 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 fine, and it’s just about having an open conversation about it. There are great resources out there, and my school was wonderful. They gave me extra time in exams. I had a one to one teacher in classes for my reading because that’s where I struggled, and just have an open conversation about it and then to find support groups and to make sure that the school also understand what it is. Because it’s kind of a taboo subject, we don’t really know much about it. So the more we can discuss and the more resources we can bring into schools, I think the better.
Kaya did a fantastic job playing a strong character and held her own with all those men. She’s an amazing actress overcoming a learning disability and we will see her in many things to come I’m sure. For now see her in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No tales as it is now in theaters.