Can you imagine getting to work with your childhood friend, every day, doing what you love? Directors Joachim Running & Espen Sandberg have gotten to do just that, while working on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. These two friends have been “working” together since they were just 10 years old, back when working in the Disney family was just a fantasy. They met as fellow break dancers, but quickly gave that up to pursue film, with their dad’s camcorder. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the Pirates of the Caribbean directors, all about the making of the latest Pirates movie.
Landing Pirates of the Caribbean
Espen made it clear, Dead Men Tell No Tales didn’t fall into their laps. “..We chased it. We really wanted to make this movie. The basic reason as you know, Joachim and I started making movies together when we were 10. Movies that inspired us back then was you know the Spielberg and Lucas and Zemeckis films. And this franchise just reminds us of that. It has that unique blend of spectacle and humor and scary parts and also a lot of heart. So that meant a lot to us.”
Creating the ghosts
The ghosts were written into the script, but it was the directors’ task to translate that and to add elements in the action sequence. “The design of the ghosts became a long process that we did together with Javier Bardem as well. The production designers and the VFX supervisors, with us, were trying to find what can give a ghostly appearance without losing the actors. Javier is so wonderful and you don’t want to mess it too much up. So, that’s where it started. And then the ghost sharks came from that trying to be a part of that family, so to speak.”
Working as a team
Joachim filled us in on why he and Espen work so well as a team, and with their entire crew and cast. “We don’t really know any other way of doing this then being together. For us, it’s a very natural process. And I think it’s a collaborative one. We include the actors and the crew and everyone as part of the discussion basically. And we try to create safe work environment as you could say.
You know where every odd day is welcome and everybody can be a part of the discussion. And that’s important to us. I think that’s probably one of the strong advantages that we have as a directing team.”
Working with Johnny Depp
“It’s amazing. He’s so funny and what you see with Jack Sparrow is all Johnny. He’s a genius. I mean for us he’s like up there with Chaplin and the other ones because his timing is just perfect and he has such a weird imagination. So he comes up with the craziest ideas. And for us, the highlight was always going into his trailer in the morning and going through the scenes and the lines and trying to come up with even more cool stuff to do to make it even more funny.
And of course when we started shooting he would do something completely different. And everyone was sort of thrown off but that also makes it come alive and funny.”
In regard to the Young Jack Sparrow, Joachim and Espen refer to this process as Youthification. “We shot it with Johnny and then spent the year in the computer basically, with a company in South America that does it.
Johnny was thrilled when he saw the result. He was a little freaked out by it, but he loved it. And that was a fun moment.”
The directors really wanted to touch on the emotional core of the story and the family theme that the film has. A treasure is not always you know a chest of gold. They were really inspired by the first movie and believe this series has a big heart. They hope that the audience will moved by this film, and it’s in theaters now so be sure to catch it with the family!
I was provided an all expense paid trip for the purpose of covering the new Pirates of the Caribbean and Bambi releases. All opinions expressed are my own.