from Source: Andrew Weil October 24, 2005

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is bound to be one of the most anticipated films of the upcoming summer movie season. Touring around sets on the Universal Studios and Disney lots, was able to discover a few scant plot details, as well as see some incredible sets from the film. We were also able to talk to Production Designer Rick Heinrichs and Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll.

The tour started on the back lot of Universal Studios. While walking into the first soundstage, Stellan Skarsgård, who stars in the film as 'Bootstrap' Bill Turner, walked by. He was in full dress for the film, wearing pirate regalia, yet he didn't look like any worldly pirate seen in the first film. He looked as if a barnacle was growing off his shoulder and his face looked to be dripping off. The makeup was incredible to see. Also seen hanging around the set were cast members in all-grey spandex-looking suits, covered in small white balls. Their heads were covered as well; the only thing exposed being their faces. These cast members were obviously stand-ins for CGI models added in post-production. According to Visual Effects Supervisor Knoll, there will be 800 total visual effects shots for "Dead Man's Chest," compared to 326 made for "The Curse of the Black Pearl."

After this quick sighting, the tour promptly started with a look at the Flying Dutchman deck. The Flying Dutchman is a ship featured in the 2nd film and its captain is none other than Davey Jones (Bill Nighy). According to Knoll, "He's got a whole octopus for a face (and) a crab claw hand." Davey Jones also walks on a "crab leg," which is like a peg leg. The writers borrowed from popular Pirate mythology to craft their story and it was eluded that the crew all resemble each other.

Knoll elaborated on many details about Jones and his crew. "The design is really cool," said Knoll. "Him and his whole crew are collection of sea life. They are very complicated. It's actually like building one of the characters is like eight characters because they are a conglomeration of things. One character's got an eel growing through him… The longer you serve on the Dutchman, the more you sort of become of the sea. Someone who has recently joined the crews looks human, but someone who has served on the crew for 200 years doesn't really have a face anymore. It's a gradual placement of reprocess."

The deck of the ship was undergoing water tests, in which water cannons on the side of the set sprayed water on the main deck of the ship. The ship was very rickety-looking, with many barnacles growing on all sides of it. It was a dark brown color and the cannons looked rusted and moldy. The set sits on a gimble, which is able to make the ship tilt as if it is on the ocean. The scene that was shooting featured the aforementioned Nighy, Skarsgård, and Orlando Bloom. The only details given was that the ship has been undersea for one hundred years and resurfaces to collect the souls of pirates that died at sea.

According to Production Designer Heinrichs, "The Dutchman is the most elaborate (ship). We are almost done building it. (It's) elaborately sculpted; it's not a floating barge." Knoll said, "The Flying Dutchman is going to be CG for wide shots cause its going to do some stuff we can't do with models." Knoll then describes the Kraken; a sea monster that will be featured twice in the film. "It's half squid, half octopus. (It's) just really big and it attacks the ship." Knoll also mentioned scenes taking place on "Cannibal Island."

The rest of the sets were on the Burbank Disney lot. The most impressive of the lot was "Bayou" set. Filling a rather large soundstage was an entire swamp (with a four foot deep tank of water), surrounded by massive trees (made out of foam) and two shacks. One shack was an obvious tribute to the Disneyland ride. The other was home to soothsayer Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris). Her shack overlooked the swamp and was cluttered with tons of props. The shack features a giant crocodile head, small lizards hanging, alligator skins, wax sculptures, crosses, spices, bats, and snake skins. The shack looked very rickety and looked to be made out of rotting wood. The actual bayou was huge; during the film, there will be boats in the swamp. Also, the scene will feature all principals of the cast.

The Black Pearl Captain's Quarter was next on the agenda. The set from the first movie was completely rebuilt. It also features more details than the first set. The Captain Quarters was built completely out of black mahogany, which is heavy, costly, and very authentic. There are gold-plated decorations and ornate candles in the film will light everything. The skylight in the set was made of glass imported from Germany from the early 18th century. The set is used only for interiors, with a Black Pearl sailing to St. Vincent for location shooting. Thus, every window is filled with blue screen.

The next set scene on the tour was the Port Royal prison that was featured in the first film. It is a newly constructed set, but the set was given the same look as the first. There are stone walls and iron doors, exactly like the original set. Also, the key-ring dog will return.

A new ship featured in the film is the Edinborugh Trader. The set on the tour was the Captain's Quarters of this ship. The set looked very different than the Black Pearl; much brighter and more sailing details. The set featured many maps and was built very close to scale for the ship. The actual ship used for location filming for the Edinborugh Trader is the HMS Bounty. It is being reformatted from the 1962 Marlon Brando film and is unrecognizable.

Finally, the last set viewed was two cross-sections of the Black Pearl. The entire set was full-sized and on a hydraulic system making it rock as if it were on the ocean. The two decks were the cannon deck and the underneath deck (or the sleeping deck.) The Cannon deck obviously feature gigantic cannons; five on each side. Everything looked very authentic. There was aged wood and rusted nails; everything was newly built for the second film. The set had a very dark, moody look. Also dark was the sleeping deck, which featured hammocks and many other random props (there were many bananas around for some reason.)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest opens in theaters on July 7, 2006.