British child actor to star alongside Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean

What's it like be a 15-year-old playing a pirate in a Hollywood blockbuster alongside Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz?

The British child actor Robbie Kay dons a long wig for his latest role as a scruffy but gutsy cabin-boy in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The new 3D Disney film, out next month, sees Depp return as Captain Jack Sparrow, who is forced aboard Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, by Cruz's Angelica, his love interest.

"I'm the youngest pirate on the ship," says Kay. "It was a long shoot over five months so you get a strong connection to the other actors. We spent eight weeks in Hawaii, four weeks in LA and the rest of the time in Pinewood Studios."

Kay, who was born in Lymington, Hampshire and currently resides in Texas, has already gained considerable work experience. His first lead role was in Fugitive Pieces in 2007, in which he played young Jakob Beer, a boy orphaned in Poland during the Second World War.

His acting career blossomed when his family moved from England to the Czech Republic in 2006. He was cast in The Illusionist after he responded to an advert on his school noticeboard looking for English-speaking children to be extras. Although his scenes were cut from the finished film, this led to a number of small roles, including one in Hannibal Rising. More recently, he played alongside Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham as her on-screen son.

Did he get the jitters on the set of his latest film? "It was a bit nerve-wracking when I had to sword-fight a zombie on the ship," says Kay. Anything in the pipeline? "I go to LA once in a while for auditions and I've got the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean to look forward to – but other than that I'm focusing on my GCSEs."

'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' is in cinemas from 18 May

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