'Our Flag Means Death' Will Feature Taika Waititi As Blackbeard

Last year it was reported that Taika Waititi would produce and direct the pirate series Our Flag Means Death for HBO Max. Now, it's been revealed Waititi will appear in the series as well, playing infamous pirate Blackbeard. The series is inspired by the true story of Stede Bonnet, "a pampered aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege to become a pirate." Rhys Darby is set to play Bonnet.

The Wrap, and others, are reporting that not only is Taika Waititi directing the pilot episode and producing Our Flag Means Death, but he's also co-starring in the HBO Max pirate series as well. Waititi will play notorious pirate Blackbeard, who was a real guy named Edward Teach. Teach reportedly didn't like to use violence and instead preferred to scare people into submission with a fearsome image he deliberately played up, going so far as to stick lit fuses under his hat. After a few years of pirating, Teach was killed by soldiers and sailors hired by Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia, who'd had enough of Blackbeard and his bullshit.

"Our Blackbeard is a legend, a lover, a fighter, a tactical genius, a poetic soul, and quite possibly insane. Only one man could play this role, and that is the great Taika Waititi. We're thrilled beyond measure he's decided to don the beard," said Our Flag Means Death creator David Jenkins, who also serves as showrunner.

Our Flag Means Death is loosely based on the true story of Stede Bonnet, played by Rhys Darby, a character described as "a pampered aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege to become a pirate." Bonnet used his wealth to have his own fancy pirate ship built, which he named Revenge. Bonnet teamed up with Blackbeard at one point, but the two pirates had a falling out. That's just how things go in the pirate world, folks. At one point, Bonnet was pardoned for his piracy and even received clearance to go privateering against Spanish shipping. However, he was apparently so addicted to being a pirate that he returned to that life using an alias, Captain Thomas, with hopes that he wouldn't lose his pardon.

"A series concept like this jumps off the page and you can instantly envision every moment," said Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max's head of original content, when the series was first announced. "David and Taika's unique take on Bonnet's rollicking misadventures on the high seas are sure to thrill and delight audiences everywhere."