Tommy2: What can you tell us about your character in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I play a mermaid called Syrena in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Syrena was a very interesting character to work on because the mermaids are very different to anything you’ve ever seen before in movies. They’re not regular mermaids because they are not very human. They have a very evil side to them.
Tommy2: Did you do any research for your role?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I tried to research mermaids throughout history in literature and film, but these mermaids are very different. They move more like fish and they are very animalistic.
Tommy2: How did you feel when you won the role of Syrena?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: To be honest, it was very bizarre. I couldn’t believe that I was part of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides until I arrived in Kauai, Hawaii, for the first fitting. That’s when everything sunk in and I finally realized I was going to be part of this amazing franchise.
Tommy2: What was it like to work alongside actors like Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: It was fantastic. I learned so much from watching them work. They put a lot of effort into their work, but they also manage to have a lot of fun – and I really liked that about them. I got to see how normal, ordinary and humble they are, despite being incredibly professional, hard-working and lovely people.
Tommy2: Do you get the sense that Penelope and Johnny love what they do?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I feel that they are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work on amazing characters again and again – but most of all I love the way that they are so humble. They are two of the biggest stars in the world, but they are so normal, generous and welcoming. They are amazing.
Tommy2: Let’s step back in time for a second to learn a little more about your past… When did you first start acting?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I did a little acting at school when I was very young, but that was more of a hobby back then. We did a lot of school plays and I really enjoyed it – but I didn’t think there was any possibility of becoming a professional actor. To me, a job in this industry seemed completely unreal. I grew up in the countryside, which is so far removed from the movie industry. I didn’t even have a TV at home.
Tommy2: What changed?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I moved to Paris on my own when I was 17. I wanted to become an osteopath at that time, but then my father passed away and I realized that life is too short.
Tommy2: Is that when you re-examined your ambitions?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I had a close look at my life and I realized that my heart was telling me I had different ambitions. That’s when I discovered that I wanted to become an actress, so I started to chase my dream. After graduation, I went straight to drama school and I never looked back.
Tommy2: You grew up in Spain and France. Which country do you call home?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I feel like I’m from both countries, so I wouldn’t like to choose just one. I have two nationalities and I speak both languages. I started my life speaking Spanish and then I moved to France at the age of five, which is where I learned French.
Tommy2: Did you get to speak in both French and Spanish on the set of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? After all, Johnny Depp spends much of his life in France and Penelope Cruz in Spain…
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: Yes, I did. English isn’t my first language, so it was a breath of fresh air to speak in one of my home languages when working on certain scenes in the movie. I really enjoyed speaking to them in French and Spanish. It helped me relax.
Tommy2: What did you learn from working with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I learned so much from everyone in the cast. Everybody was special because they were so generous and kind. I loved the way that Penelope was so grounded. She was incredibly welcoming and lovely to everybody on set. And I think this humble approach is the most beautiful thing to see from huge actors and stars.
Tommy2: Do you think Hollywood actors of this caliber are grateful for their careers?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: Yes, they feel very lucky. Each moment they spend on set, you can see that they are having fun, but they are also very grateful to be in this position.
Tommy2: What’s your favorite memory from filming the movie?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: I remember one day in particular, when I had been filming in Hawaii for about a week. I watched a scene being filmed with Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp and Kevin McNally, and I realized that I’d never seen three actors have so much fun at work before. It’s unbelievable how much they love their respective parts, and how much they enjoy acting. It felt like a dream for a young actress like me to watch this and realize they are enjoying themselves so much. I want to have this much fun after working for years and years on my career.
Tommy2: Do you think it is important to have fun even if you’re playing a dark character?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: Yes, it’s really important. Even when playing a depressed character, you need to have fun on set. There’s no point in doing this if you’re not having fun.
Tommy2: What happens if you don’t enjoy your work?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: If you don’t, or if you think what you’re doing makes you more important than anythone else, then that makes you the worst kind of person in the world. If you enjoy the work with this great kindness and energy around you, it makes you a good actor and a good person at the same time. I love the feeling I got from working on this movie. It’s been incredible.
Tommy2: Do you think we will see Syrena return for another Pirates Of The Caribbean movie?
Astrid Berges-Frisbey: Who knows? There has been nothing mentioned yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I’d love to play with this character again, and I’d love to work with these people again, too. It would be a dream come true for me, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is Available on Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray Hi-Def Combo Pack October 18th!