Johnny Depp’s Pirates stuntman over horrific injury and connection to actor
Pirates of the Caribbean just wouldn’t be the phenomenon it is without the incredible stunts, sword fights, and terrifyingly high drop ship battles.
But Behind the Scenes was perhaps even more intriguing, with Double stuntman Johnny Depps suffering from an injury ending his career in one of the films, bonding closely with the actor and traveling the world to perform epic action scenes of Captain Jack Sparrows.
As part of our series, Seeing Double, which delves into the extraordinary lives of some of the most intrepid artists in film and television, we speak to Tony Angelotti, who is best known for voicing for Johnny in the Pirates franchise. of the Caribbean.
Tony’s double CV
- Tony started his stunt career working at Disneyworld and MGM Studios, before being hired for the Pirates franchise.
- He starred in films such as Planet Of The Apes, The Mask Of Zorro and The Amazing Spider-Man
- Despite his injury, he continued to work as a stunt coordinator, his career spanning decades.
What were the most memorable stunts he performed in the Pirate movies?
At the very end of the first movie where Jack Sparrow says goodbye to Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swan) and Jack Davenport (James Norrington), he jumps off the cliff or falls off the cliff and lands in the water. Tony reminded himself.
And then the Black Pearl comes swinging and throws a line at him. and the crew pull Captain Jack Sparrow out of the water, then he swings onto the ship and lands right behind the steering wheel of the ship.
And it took months of rehearsal. It was shot in one shot. And that was the complications behind it was a ratchet of me flying out of the water probably like 35 to 40 feet in the air, then another ratchet pulling me into the boat and a decelerator landing me on the deck of the ship .
And so many things could have gone wrong in this setup.
How was her relationship with Johnny?
Johnny and Tony have an incredibly close relationship, with the actor commissioning celebrity jeweler Neil Lane to make the stuntman a custom replica of the franchise’s Ring of Thieves at the end of filming.
I would have some fine wine with him at the end of the evening in his trailer, he would invite me in a while. I remember having beautiful Bordeaux and recapping the day and talking about the stunts and things to come, he recalls.
Tony added: I remember one time I saw him extremely angry. And that was when we were filming the blacksmith forge fight, and I was fighting Orlando Bloom and Johnnys sitting by the camera and Orlando the fights, they’ll get really intense and fast 
And Orlando, I think, got lost at one point, and went in another direction  and I stepped back and the tip of its blade caught right next to my eyebrow. I was fine, it was literally like a nickname. A hair closer would have left a decent mark.
Tony said that another director he hadn’t worked with before wanted to continue rather than call a doctor, before adding: And then all of a sudden Johnny got up from his chair, got up. walked over to this guy and said don’t do a damn thing until he’s checked out by the doctor.
And you could have heard a pin drop on this set. And it was like, thank you, Johnny! And sure enough the doctor was there in a split second and that was fine  This is the rare occasion I saw him, he blew a joint.
What was it like playing epic fight scenes with Orlando Bloom?
One of the most memorable fight scenes was, of course, the fight against Will or Orlando Bloom. [or] Mark Wagner, who is the double of Orlandos, in the blacksmith’s forge, he recalls.
This fight was fun and magical enough to fight on a rocking board to climb a beam, literally doing six to eight inch beam fights back and forth, then finally ending with a gentle little acrobatic movement, that was pretty amazing. He’s just a Pirates.
On Pirates Two I have to say one of the most intense and amazing sword fights ever [was] the beach fight, he continued. Much of the movie had been taken out of the movie, but they had filmed the beach fight between Captain Jack Sparrow, Norrington, and Will Turner, and they’re all arguing for the key along that long, long stretch of beach.
It was a sword fight on the run in sand and water over 100 meters long and we had to shoot it like a master [a film recording of an entire scene, start to finish, from a camera angle that keeps all the players in view].
At least we’ve done it three or four times. And it was shot from above with a helicopter and that iconic fight, doing it as a master, was just amazing.
How did he hurt himself?
Tonys’ acting career came to an abrupt end when he suffered a fatal injury on the set of the second film Pirates. He was performing a yoyo stunt, which must have seen Jack Sparrow fall off a cliff wrapped in rope and untangle himself, eventually swinging by his leg.
He said the test from 40 feet did not go as planned, but the team still tried it from 80 feet.
When I was upstairs looking down I gave the call three, two, one, come on, they pulled my quick release that allowed me to untangle. However, the operator of the descender did not put the brake on and I went into free fall, he said.
Tony added: So my body was the yo-yo and it hit the brake, and I had the five wraps around my waist. I spun so fast that the centrifugal force actually tore my pelvis.
I felt the tear from inside my pelvic area, the burning and tearing sensation. And once I got to the bottom I backed up, like you’d like a yo-yo and kind of did that backflip and then I got into this huge split.
Tony was rushed to hospital, suffering from internal bleeding after cutting a branch of his femoral artery. He lost six units of blood, had an ACL reconstruction and spent a year recovering, before having to have the operation again when a plaque in his pelvis broke. He also suffered from PTSD.
It practically ended my great career as an interpreter, he recalls. I was still doing stuff that looked like lighter stunts and everything, but it screwed me up a bit to be completely honest.
How did his career recover?
Tonys remained positive after his injury, stressing: Things happen for a reason. I am still alive. People are watching me today and you would never even know that I had such a bad injury and had to have the operation again.
He went back to the third movie Pirates, doing lighter stunts and, to this day, he works as a stunt coordinator, explaining: I do I keep training, I will do choreography, I do a lot of choreography. sword, I’m working on the Conan OBrien shows when they have sketches, where there are stunts in the sketches, I’m obviously still busy but obviously not like before.
He added: I’m still very grateful for all the opportunities I had at the height of my career and the opportunities I still have, it’s always good.
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Seeing Double returns every Wednesday, featuring the most intrepid liners in film and television.
Meanwhile, Check out the series so far.
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