New “Pirates of the Caribbean,” New Directors


Now, for the “fifth voyage” of Johnny Depp’s action franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have chosen Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.

The men who made a splash with their Oscar-nominated film about explorer Thor Heyerdal’s epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific in a balsa wood raft in 1947 would be jumping from a tightly-controlled drama that cost roughly $16.6 million to make to a mega-budget Disney adventure where they’d be telling Johnny Depp where to go (nautically, at least).

Still, despite relatively short directorial CVs and nothing of the scale of Pirates under their belts, they could still be solid choices. After all, they know how to make the money stretch and have plenty of experience on the water. Though the hit rate of European directors (in this case, Norwegian) switching to Hollywood blockbusters hasn’t always been great, there is room for pleasant surprises such as Rupert Wyatt and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Pirates veteran writer Terry Rossio was hired back in 2011 to start work on the script, and Jeff Nathanson has polished it since then, apparently to a level that Disney feels confident going forward. They picked the directing team from a short list that also included Fredrik Bond and Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders.

It appears the pair will be getting to work soon ready to kick off shooting later this year or early next with Depp back in the lead role. Despite murkier critical reviews for the last couple of films, the Pirates outings have been big performers for Disney, and the studio is eager to keep the money boat afloat.

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