Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are known most for their directorial works as a team. They first became most known for their feature film debut, Bandidas, before moving onto the Norwegian film, Kon-Tiki, which was nominated for a Golden Globe and for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Now they have joined together again to direct Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Screen Rant got a chance to sit with Joachim and Espen on press day, where we discussed what they wanted to bring new to this installment in the Pirates franchise, what stories they’d like to explore with Jack Sparrow, and the possibility of Pirates 6.
Congratulations, you guys. I really really enjoyed this film a lot.
Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg: Thank you.
First question I have for you was what is it that you wanted to bring new to the franchise? We’ve already seen four other films. What was it that you wanted to bring new to this?
Joachim Ronning: Well I think that, you know, going into, coming into this universe as directors and as fans of the franchise ourselves, it was important for us to honor the mythology of the series and trying to maintain the tone that I think Gore Verbinski sets so brilliantly making the first time. And, at the same time, trying to make something fresh and maybe feel a bit more contemporary, so that is what we wanted and, at the same time, keeping it funny and telling a story with a big heart.
For some people this is going to be their first Pirates film. How is it, cause you guys did a really good job at making this almost, obviously not a standalone, but you don’t have to necessarily watch the other four.
Espen Sandberg: Correct. Yep.
Was that something you had in mind going into this?
Espen Sandberg: Yes. Yeah. We wanted to make sure that it would work for new fans and for the old fans, so you can definitely watch it as your first Pirate movie and hopefully it’ll make you want to watch the other ones afterwards.
Yeah. Cause it has a huge history. Another question I have is what other stories would you like to see Jack Sparrow in? Are there more stories you want to tell with Jack?
Joachim Ronning: I’m sure there is.
Espen Sandberg: Yeah.
Joachim Ronning: He’s an interesting character though. As a movie character, he doesn’t really have a character arc. It’s like, you know, it’s like flat. He learns nothing from his journeys, so that was also tricky for us going into making the origin take on his character and not stepping on any toes, but we wanted to explore and I’m sure there is a lot more to explore.
So this film could have been an ending to the franchise or it could have also been a new beginning. To you, which one was it?
Espen Sandberg: Maybe it’s the beginning of the ending. We’ll see.
Joachim Ronning: [laughs]
Great answer. The beginning of the ending. Listen. I love the new kids that you’ve brought in. Kaya and Brenton did a great job. I’m sure you have more stories to tell with them. Are you guys already thinking Pirates 6?
Joachim Ronning: It’s not really up to us. [laughs]
Espen Sandberg: No. It’s not up to us at all, but I can say we love the franchise and we hope it’ll continue so many great characters. And, yeah, Brenton and Kaya’s characters are really interesting, so we are really curious where they are going to go.
So you guys, well, is 6 on the table? We’re talking about it right now?
Joachim Ronning: No…that’s…[mumbles]
Espen Sandberg: No.
Joachim Ronning: You can’t ask us that. You can’t ask that.
Espen Sandberg: [laughs]
Joachim Ronning: No, we don’t know. Again, we hope that they’ll make more and, you know, we are fans of the franchise ourselves, so…
Espen Sandberg: We’ll see how this one does.
Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” also stars Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani as the sea-witch Shansa, David Wenham as Scarfield, Stephen Graham as Scrum, and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are directing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing. The executive producers are Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Joe Caracciolo, Jr., Terry Rossio and Brigham Taylor. The story is by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio, and Jeff Nathanson wrote the screenplay.