“Pirates” Mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey

May 15, 2011

We’re face to face on dry land with the beautiful “Syrena”

Was The Little Mermaid one of your fave films? Kidzworld is sitting with mermaid “Syrena” from the new Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides movie! 

Beautiful-without-make-up young French/Spanish actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey is making a big splash as the captive mermaid in the film. Syrena’s special tear is needed to activate the magic of the fountain of youth sought by both Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

Along the way, mermaid meets pious young missionary/sailor Philip (hot Sam Claflin… the new Prince to Kristin Stewart’s “Snow White”) and the two have a cross-species magical love connection.

How did Astrid, who is still valiantly struggling with her English, get the part, get paired with Sam and why was Johnny Depp waterlogged on set? Read on…

Kidzworld: Did they match you up with Sam Claflin as a pair at an audition?  When you first knew he was going to be playing Philip, what did you think? He’s pretty cute.

  • Astrid Berges-Frisbey: The day I met him, I had gotten the part before and he was just really happy for me. I was the only girl left. He asked me “you are the only girl (here). Did you get the part already?” Sam was the first person I told I got the part. When I knew he would be Philip, I was amazed and called him up to say congratulations as he had done for me because he was so excited for me.  But, from the first audition, I thought he would be marvelous because he is such a good actor and, at the same time, such a good person and so professional and cute with everybody. Such a pleasure.

Kidzworld: He just got the part of the prince in the new Snow White and the Huntsman film with Kristen Stewart.

  • Astrid:  I just (heard) that he will be Prince Charming and I’m so happy for him! Those people are really lucky to have Sam in their cast.

Kidzworld: You saw the first “Pirates” when you were a teen but had you seen Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” as a child?  If so, were you pretty surprised when you read that these mermaids were very different, had sharp teeth and killed sailors etc.?

  • Astrid: Yeah, of course. I was such a big fan when I was a child. I have a sister who was six when I got this part and she is such a huge fan of The Little Mermaid and she was so excited and it’s kind of a dream to bring this dream for my sister, to be a mermaid for her. It was so interesting about the new appearance of the mermaids. I was excited how they wanted different mermaids than we have seen before. They are closer to the original myths like “The Odyssey” by Homer. Because I’d heard about those stories, so I was even more excited that my mermaid had the opportunity to show another side.

Pirates of the Caribbean astridAstrid at our interview

Kidzworld: Mermaid Syrena and missionary Philip don’t seem like they could be a couple. He is kind to her whereas others are cruel. Do you think that love and kindness can change even a savage creature into being “tame”?

  • Astrid: It’s a challenge for those characters because they are two different species. They are symbols of two cultures. It could remind us of “Romeo and Juliet”; two enemies with enemy families and I think their relationship is so great because the first moment they look at each other they find immediately the person inside is similar. Even if it’s the enemy and a different species, it’s fine. I think it’s why she appears more human. She sees that he is such a good man.

Kidzworld: Did anything funny happen on set or between takes? Like Sam was carrying you. Did he ever drop you?

  • Astrid: No, he didn’t but I remember, in one scene when I’m in the glass (box), Johnny (Depp) is standing on the bank of the river and he just fell in the river and everybody was like “Oh my God, Johnny! Are you okay?” 

Kidzworld: Were you shown any artwork or drawings of how your character was supposed to look with her tail? On set, you were in a motion capture suit and didn’t have a tail.

  • Astrid: Yes and that was really good for me. The CGI people in charge of the mermaid were showing me each stage and they were making me aware how they work. (They were saying) “This is how we find the movement for the tail” and things like that.

Kidzworld: Are you personally a good swimmer? Did you do a lot of her swimming?

  • Astrid: I’m a quite good swimmer. All the swimming parts you see, I did all that. (The director) Rob asked me when we met. “Do you swim? Are you afraid of water?” Good thing I was not.
    Pirates of the Caribbean astridCourtesy of Disney

Kidzworld: You were told to not go out in the daytime in Hawaii to keep your pale skin. Was that not fun for you or did you manage to go out and party a little at night?

  • Astrid:  I went out. I went to the beach at night or at sunset. That was cool.

Kidzworld: Was there anything in particular that Johnny Depp did for cast and crew on set that you were impressed by?

  • Astrid: He was so welcoming with everybody. Pirates of the Caribbean is kind of a baby for him. Because he loves to be Jack Sparrow and has so much pleasure and fun being Jack Sparrow, he’s just so happy and in a positive mood for everybody. He’s so generous and takes care of everybody on set.


By: Lynn Barker


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