Brenton Thwaites, who stars in the latest Pirates of
the Caribbean, talks movies, babies and his love of Oz.
It’s easy to see Brenton Thwaites as a young heart-throb who fulfilled his swashbuckling dreams by playing sailor-turned-pirate Henry Turner in the fifth instalment of the Hollywood mega franchise Pirates of the Caribbean.
Dead Men Tell No Tales indeed felt like child’s play to him as he had “waited to do that since I was, like, five years old”, he admits, when Soap
World meets the charming Aussie at The Montage hotel in Beverly Hills. “I think it started around the time that I saw [1991 hit film] Hook.
“When I saw that movie I just wanted to be Peter Pan and fly and do these crazy sword fights. Then
Pirates came along when I was a bit older, in my early teens, and it became a whole new thing, with the supernatural element and the whole new wave of CGI technology. And I also loved the comedy, so yeah, it was something I played around with as a kid.”
But the aspiring thespian is a rising star and serious actor to be reckoned with. Admittedly, even Brenton himself acknowledges that he easily looks 10 years younger than his actual age of 27. “I look 17,” he laughs. And it’s probably his boyish good looks that got him a foot into the door of showbiz. As has become
“I’ll always call Australia home. It’s a hard place to leave.”
tradition for many starting actors in Australia — including Melissa George, Isla Fisher and Chris Hemsworth — the Queenslander got his first taste in front of the cameras in Home and Away, in which he played Stu Henderson. His first American production was the television film
remake of classic movie The Blue Lagoon, in which he played the romantic lead, followed by portraying Prince Charming in the Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent. Since, he’s been mixing up dramatic characters and roles appealing to the young-adult audience. His roots, though, are in the theatre. “The first moment I thought, ‘I can do this. I am good at this. I love this’, was when I was acting in Romeo and Juliet on stage as part of an outside-of-school theatre group [in Cairns] that was led by a woman called Maggie Shepherd Smith. She was a fantastic teacher and basically showed us kids the fun in being an actor. I try and keep those lessons with my work even today.”
Brenton even recalls the moment he caught the acting bug. “I had read Shakespeare at school and wanted to burn every single Shakespeare book I’d ever read, but when I did Romeo and Juliet I realised: Shakespeare is meant to be acted! It was written to be spoken. The words, when spoken, feel amazing.”
Brenton’s greatest role so far, however, is playing Daddy to daughter Birdie. He and his partner, Chloe Pacey, gave their little girl this name because “she tweets all the time”, he says with a laugh. “It’s great. It’s exciting. It’s changed me in the sense that everything’s a little bit more planned now. I was the kind of guy that would just roll with the flow, and I travelled with a backpack and a guitar for years. Having a kid kind of was great because it forced me to think about my life, where I want to live, what kind of films I want to do, and have a little bit of a re-think about my goals and what’s possible.”
He continues, his eyes lighting up: “The greatest thing about being a dad is bringing your baby to set, because you get these fantastic photos of you in these weird costumes with your baby. And I just can foresee myself in 10 or 20 years looking back at the photo of me covered in mud in my World War II outfit with my daughter [Brenton’s upcoming thriller movie Ghosts of War, is set in world War II].”
Alas, Dead Men Tell No Tales was shot before he became a father in March last year, so don’t expect any pictures of pirates under Birdie’s spell. “I didn’t have a baby on this one. Not yet,” he tells. However, thanks to Pirates of the Caribbean, Brenton met the love of his life. As the film was shooting on the Gold Coast, the actor needed a place to stay. It just so happened that Chloe was his housemate.
“She’s a painter and starting to be a naturopath,” he says. “It was amazing. I was staying 20 minutes down the road from the studio in my own house. It kind of created a relaxing, comforting environment for me. Completely two different worlds. I was at work on this massive franchise with hundreds of people, and then I’d drive 20 minutes down south and I’d be at a little coffee shop in a sleepy little surf town.”
Now, the happy couple calls Los Angeles home. Well, “Me, my partner and our baby have been travelling around for the first year of her life,” Brenton reveals. Plus, “I’ll always call Australia home. It’s a hard place to leave. I’ve been in Los Angeles for most of my 20s, trying to make it as an actor. But I’m always looking at going back for Australian stories. It’s funny, every time I move to America, I get a movie back in Australia,” he laughs.
He who not only shot Dead Men Tell No Tales Down Under, but also last year’s Gods of Egypt, with Gerard Butler. “I just moved back to Hollywood in February, and I am just waiting for that one call …”
Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And as Prince Charming (aka Prince Phillip) with Elle Fanning (as Aurora) in Maleficent. Brenton and Chloe at the recent LA premiere of Dead Men Tell No Tales. The star with our writer Anke Hofmann.