How Pirates of the Caribbean’s Meaty Special Effects Brought Its Skeleton Crew to Life


McBride is a veteran of the visual effects industry and has spent over two decades in the business. Looking at the final product in “Curse of the Black Pearl,” one would assume it was an integral part of the film. Yet McBride was only working as a concept artist on Ang Lee’s ‘The Hulk’ when he was called in for a two-day stint that would transition into a full-time role as the film’s art director. cloak and dagger from director Gore Verbinski. It was early in the project that Disney wanted to come up with a unique look for the skeleton pirates that inspiration struck McBride, as he told lucasfilm:

“My brain immediately remembered some time ago when my wife had given me this jerky turkey snack to eat. So I asked if I could run to the grocery store and buy some. I then had some. photos on my desk and pasted them on the surface of a skull. The director of the film liked it very much.

If you dive into McBride’s concept art on his instagram, it’s easy to see how much the “Pirates” production team needed his artistic vision. His development of mythology for his graphic novel”Toraitheis inspired by and reminiscent of the golden, plunging lines of art nouveau or the work of mid-century conceptual artist Eyvind Earle. In one instance, we see how McBride visuals for a scene in 2007, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” wasn’t just used as concept art, but as digital make-up. Much like the turkey jerky in the original film, the illustration of McBride’s tentacle wound in the third film was grafted onto the actor by a special effects artist.


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