Kevin R. McNally
|Behind the scenes|
Kevin McNally (April 27, 1956), also credited as Kevin R. McNally, is an English actor. A well-known actor in his native UK, McNally has played leading and supporting roles on stage, film and television for over 30 years and has now become increasingly well known in the United States. Kevin McNally portrayed Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean films and voiced the character in the At World's End video game and Pirates of the Caribbean Online.
Early life and career
Born in Bristol, England, Kevin McNally grew up in Birmingham, attending Redhill Junior School on Redhill Road in Hay Mills and Mapledene Junior School (now Mapledene Primary School) on Mapledene Road in Sheldon. He went to Central Grammar School for Boys on Gressel Lane in Tile Cross. His first professional job, at the age of 16, was at the Birmingham Rep. In 1973 he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where, in 1975, he won the Best Actor Bancroft Gold Medal.
McNally made his feature-film debut in the James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me; his other early credits include The Long Good Friday, Enigma, Not Quite Paradise, Cry Freedom and All Things Bright and Beautiful. More recently, McNally has appeared in The Legend of 1900, Entrapment, When the Sky Falls, Johnny English, De-Lovely, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, Irish Jam, Woody Allen's Scoop, Bryan Singer's Valkyrie, Father's Day and The Raven.
In London's West End, Kevin McNally has appeared on stage opposite Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van and Juliette Binoche in Naked. He also starred in Terry Johnson's Dead Funny at the Savoy Theatre. McNally starred on Broadway as Claudius opposite Jude Law's Hamlet in Michael Grandage's production, which began at London's Donmar at Wyndhams. McNally also starred for Grandage on stage at Donmar at Wyndhams as Lebedev in Chekhov's Ivanov, for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2009 Olivier Awards. Just previously on the West End, McNally starred in Matthew Warchus' acclaimed revival of Boeing Boeing.
McNally's numerous television credits include the Emmy-nominated Shackleton for the A&E Network and Conspiracy for HBO, both of which received BAFTA Awards in the United Kingdom. He's appeared over the years in such miniseries as Poldark II, Masada, Diana, Thin Air, Love and Reason, Miss Marple and the TV movies Praying Mantis, Jekyll & Hyde, Stalin, Abraham, The Smiths, Dunkirk, Blood Lines, The Murder of Princess Diana and Wuthering Heights. McNally has also been a series regular on The Devil's Crown, Tygo Road, Full Stretch, Dad, Underworld, Up Rising and Bedtime. He recently starred in the pilot of the ABC TV period crime procedural Poe as Commissioner Kyle Kilpatrick.
In making video games, Kevin McNally had portrayed Joshamee Gibbs in the At World's End video game (based on the film), as well as the online game Pirates of the Caribbean Online. McNally also lent his voice in Assassin's Creed III in the role of an elderly sailor named Robert Faulkner. Faulkner shares a great deal of similarities to McNally's Pirates character Gibbs, from being a first mate to his appearance, mannerisms, as well as being superstitious; they both believed having a woman aboard a ship was bad luck.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Kevin R. McNally's best known role was portraying Joshamee Gibbs, who was Captain Jack Sparrow's longtime comrade in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. McNally was surprised as many were on the success of The Curse of the Black Pearl, which led to the back-to-back productions of the second and third films, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. "I don't know what the expectations were for the first film," admitted McNally. "Working on it, I had no idea what I was in, really, until I watched it with a group of friends in the cinema. It came as a pleasant surprise to see just how good it was, adventurous, funny and character-rich. I thought my pirate days were over, but when I was shooting 'The Phantom of the Opera' I met Mike Stenson from Jerry Bruckheimer Films, who said 'Pack your bags, Kevin, we're going pirating again.'" He only realized how huge Pirates had become when he attended the premiere of Dead Man's Chest at Disneyland. "It was like being a Beatle for a moment. Then, when we were shooting off of Redondo Beach, people were just going crazy. It was amazing. It's a real honor to be in something that has such wide reach and that so many people love," notes McNally.
Throughout his time in the making of the Pirates trilogy, McNally enjoyed almost every minute of being in them. He had stated that the terrible thing about filming out at sea was that it was just basically spending 10 hours a day "circling the boat like a cat trying to find somewhere to settle."
On Stranger Tides
- "The film has everything you expect from the films. But for me, the best thing about this film is the reintroduction perhaps of the humor into the film. That wonderful wit and humor of the first film is there, and obviously, Gibbs has always been part of that. But the character and the humor is the real hallmark of this film, interspersed between the amazing action sequences."
- ―Kevin McNally
After At World's End, though they were far apart in their deal, Kevin McNally was approached to do the fourth Pirates film, On Stranger Tides, in which he was one of only three cast members to return; the other two being Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow) and Geoffrey Rush (Hector Barbossa). Though he never thought he'd still be making the films at that point, he expressed a thrill of returning, stating:
- "It's a real thrill, because it's very rare in features that you get a chance to revisit characters and have a look at them again, particularly when you've got writers who are very keen to bring out some new aspects to the characters and not just trot out the same stuff time and again. It's a wonderful, exciting plot that Mr. Gibbs is involved with from the beginning, which is really enjoyable."
While at the beach, filming the last scene of On Stranger Tides with Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, Depp came up with an end speech different from the script. It stomped on the line Gibbs said on the script, "I'm Joshamee Gibbs", and was centered around calling back (yet again) the "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow, Savvy?" bit. After having heard Johnny's line, McNally immediately knew he'd have to give up his. McNally also liked the idea of walking off into the sunset with Johnny Depp. In the later half of production, McNally found himself at Pinewood Studios, where he worked on his first movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, in 1976.
Knowing that On Stranger Tides was the first movie that was loosely based on a book of the same name, McNally did start to read the book around principal photography and then left it until the end of shooting. Comparing the making of On Stranger Tides to the previous films, McNally stated he enjoyed making it, saying it was really imaginative, from opening in London instead of at sea as well as the beginning and ending of the film. McNally also stated that it was great to have On Stranger Tides be better than bigger, as was the third film At World's End; they had a more focused, manageable story to deal with, and also that it would be sort of impossible to keep getting bigger, saying "it would be a mad thing to do."
When on the subject about the newcomers of the films (director Rob Marshall, and actors Penélope Cruz and Ian McShane), McNally thought they added very valuable contributions to the franchise. Talking about working alongside the newer cast members like, McNally said it was very enjoyable, particularly with Ian McShane because he had known him for years, mainly from working with his wife on a very successful TV series Lovejoy. McNally adored Penélope Cruz, saying he thought she's a brilliant actress and a beautiful woman. He thought Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and young Sam Claflin were a delight; regarding Claflin, McNally thought "he did wonderful things with this sort of milquetoast young man. It could've been a really boring performance, but he gave it real vigor and spunk. I really liked it." Regarding other changes, comparing to the previous films, McNally didn't find there was a wrong note sounded in any of the changes, including 3D, which he thought was shot really artistically, rather than for effect.
A Fifth Pirates
Despite Gibbs having survived the events of On Stranger Tides and was last seen in Captain Jack's company, Kevin McNally was philosophical when the topic of the pending sequel came up. "Who knows. Gibbs could get eaten by some off-screen sea beast between Pirates 4 and Pirates 5," McNally said. "Don't get me wrong. I love making these movies. I love working with two consummate professional gentlemen like Mr. Rush and Mr. Depp. But I'm not the one who gets to decide here if my character comes back or not. That said, I do hope that they bring Mr. Gibbs back. He seems to be the only sensible character in the Pirates series. Plus Gibbs usually occupies a very important role in these stories. He's the one who typically questions Captain Jack's motives. Which makes this character a very useful device, at least when it comes to clarifying key plot points for the audience."
Along with his role in the films, Kevin McNally reprised his role as Joshamee Gibbs by lending his voice in some of the Pirates of the Caribbean games, including the At World's End video game, as well as the popular online game Pirates of the Caribbean Online.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Joshamee Gibbs
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Gibbs
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Gibbs
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Gibbs
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game) – Gibbs
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online – Joshamee Gibbs
Notes and references
- ↑ POTC2 Presskit
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 POTC3 Presskit
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 WORDPLAY/Archives/"We Sail With the Tide" by Terry Rossio
- ↑ POTC4 Presskit
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Jim Hill: "I Get to Walk off Into the Sunset With Johnny Depp?" - Huffington Post
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 EXCLUSIVE: Kevin McNally Talks Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blu-ray - MovieWeb.com