THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS!
Hugh Grant, starring in his first animated role, is the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain - a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!
The Pirates! Aardman’s most ambitious stop-motion film to date, will be created with the same beautiful hand-crafted technique that the company brought to the Academy Award®-winning film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run. The film is directed by Peter Lord, a founding partner of Aardman, director of Chicken Run (with Nick Park), and a two-time Academy Award® nominee for his short films at the company. The film is co-directed by Jeff Newitt. The screenplay is by Gideon Defoe, based upon his books. Production Designer is Norman Garwood. Producers are Peter Lord, David Sproxton, and Julie Lockhart. Executive Producer is Carla Shelley.
“If the pirate crew had been asked to list the seven wonders of the oceanic world in full they would confidently have said, in ascending order: 7) The Lighthouse at Pharos: 6) The Colossus of Rhodes; 5) Blood Island; 4) those jellyfish that light up; 3) Lobsters; 2) Girls in Bikinis; 1) the Pirate Captain’s fantastic beard”
The Pirate Captain - Voiced by Hugh Grant
“I was quite hungry at the start of this adventure, and I’m not hungry now. Does that count as an emotional journey?”
With his misplaced self belief matched only by the luxuriance of his beard, the Pirate Captain is a man of stormy moods, unlikely disguises, and not very well thought out plans. He loves his crew, his parrot and high quality ham - but he’s got a dangerous itch. A yearning for a bit of respect beyond the confines of his ramshackle boat: because amongst the rest of the pirating fraternity, he’s something of a joke. At risk of being undone by his ridiculous ambition, the Captain seems unaware that he’s already got everything a pirate could want, if only he could see past his own nose.
The Pirate with a Scarf - Voiced by Martin Freeman
“Do you remember that talk we had?”
“The one about whether pigs are actually a type of fruit?”
“No. The one about trying to avoid hare-brained schemes that end with us facing certain death.”
The Captain’s trusty deputy, the Pirate With A Scarf is constantly prepared to see the best in his boss despite all evidence to the contrary. If the Pirate Captain is the crew’s flashy but unreliable dad, the Pirate with a Scarf is their slightly put-upon mum. He takes care of the little details that the Captain tends to overlook, manages his unpredictable moods, and does his best to keep him out of trouble. Smart, resourceful, and perhaps just a little TOO loyal, the Pirate With a Scarf also has a very nice scarf.
“By Jove! An actual dodo! Makes electricity look like a pile of crap!”
The feathery heart and soul of the pirate boat, beloved by all the crew, Polly is the Pirate Captain’s insatiably hungry, strangely big-boned parrot. Except she’s not - because unbeknownst to her doting owner, she’s actually the last remaining dodo. Oblivious to the unlikely events she sets in motion, Polly is happy just so long as there’s somebody around to feed her biscuits.
“We laugh in the face of danger, remember?”
“Um - I don’t really like danger at all.”
Equal parts nervous, excitable and confused, the Albino Pirate believes everything he’s told. Like a toddler with a cutlass, the most familiar and repeated phenomena of life can still surprise or delight him.
He’s innocent, credulous, gullible, naïve, prone to unwittingly blurting out uncomfortable truths, and his natural expression is one of constant wide-eyed wonder. Sometimes mistaken for a milk bottle.
Pirate with Gout - Voiced by Brendan Gleeson
“People who live alone are always serial killers!”
“This is our most educational adventure ever!”
The Pirate with Gout is Oliver Hardy to The Albino Pirate’s Stan Laurel. By outward appearance, he’s a hoary old sea-dog. But really he’s just as daft and childlike as the rest of the pirate crew. He enjoys dispensing wisdom that isn’t particularly wise, and his fondness for meats of all descriptions has led to his raging gout, of which he is inexplicably proud.
Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate - Voiced by Ashley Jensen
“I’d take a jellyfish in the face for that man.”
Probably the Pirate Captain’s biggest fan, the Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate loves everything about piracy: the fights, the derring-do, and especially the plank-walks. Stuck in an era when women at sea were thought to bring terrible bad luck, none of the other pirates appear to notice anything strange about their crew-mate, despite her child-bearing hips and frankly implausible beard.
Charles Darwin - Voiced by David Tennant
“Dear diary - about to meet a watery grave. Will die without reaching second base with a lady.”
This Darwin is the Darwin before the facial hair and the world-changing theory of evolution. Serious, academic, something of a nerd, the young scientist hasn’t been having much success with his faltering career, or - perhaps more importantly - with women. But his encounter with the Captain, and with Polly, seems to offer him a chance to change all that. The lengths he will go to in an attempt to impress the object of his affection might surprise even himself…
“I had this theory. I thought that if you took a monkey, gave him a monocle and covered up his gigantic unsightly arse, then he would cease to be a monkey and become more of a… Man-Panzee, if you will.”
The latest of Darwin’s - so far rather unsuccessful - projects, Mister Bobo is the world’s first Man-panzee, somehow overlooked in today’s history books. A slightly reluctant side-kick and fall-guy for his master’s desperate schemes, Mister Bobo is only able to communicate through the use of flash-cards, which is frustrating, because he’s almost certainly smarter than any of his less hirsute companions.
Queen Victoria - Voiced by Imelda Staunton
“Listen Captain, I can see I’ve gone about this all wrong. You see I might have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and soul of a person who really, really wants that dodo.”
Newly crowned, still single, the tiny, plump and all-powerful ruler of nearly a quarter of the globe. She has a burning hatred for pirate-kind, but her real passion is even more sinister: as head of the Rare Creatures Dining Club, Victoria wants nothing more than to eat the world’s last dodo. And underneath her voluminous bustle, she turns out to be surprisingly deadly for a dumpy little queen.
Black Bellamy - Voiced by Jeremy Piven
“Read it and weep, you coves. That’s right! Black Bellamy is gonna be Pirate of the Year! Again.”
Everybody has a Black Bellamy in their life: he’s the school jock, the cocky colleague, the annoyingly flash next-door neighbour. The most successful pirate on the Seven Seas, multi-time winner of the Pirate Of The Year Award, and the Captain’s long-term nemesis, Black Bellamy is by turns crafty, smooth, and mischievous. The sort of pirate who makes dramatic entrances by surfing across a sea of gold coughed up by a whale, he likes nothing more than to push the Pirate Captain’s buttons, which is something he excels at.
Cutlass Liz - Voiced by Salma Hayek
“Hello boys! You’re probably all wondering if I’m still as deadly as I am beautiful.”
The ‘Butcher of Barbados’, a woman in a man’s world, Cutlass Liz is the murderous, no-nonsense, devilishly attractive femme-fatale of Blood Island. Like a nautical Calamity Jane she shoots, spits, drinks, and runs people through without a second thought. Another contender for Pirate Of The Year, Cutlass, like Bellamy, has no respect for the Pirate Captain. Which stings even more, because, like everybody, he really can’t help but have a bit of a crush on her.
The Pirate King - Voiced by Brian Blessed
“Oh villainous treachery! Treacherous villainy! You have betrayed the pirating fraternity!”
The quite literally larger-than-life ruler of Blood Island. He can roar loud enough to make walls shake and children cry. He can explode a hot water-bottle just by blowing into it. He’s Elvis and a hurricane rolled into one, dressed in a lot of expensive jewellery. Quite simply, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the Pirate King.