Pirates 5 Reviews

I know you guys have used CG in your films before, but this is on a whole different level. What is the learning curve like for working with CG effects on a film of this scale?

JR: Well, we’ve done commercials for twenty years, big commercials all over the world, so we’ve had experience with it. Also, Kon-Tiki, our previous film, had over 500 effects shots in it. So we’ve been through it. But of course, this movie has over 2,000 effects shots in it, and it’s just a very lengthy process. The principle kind of stays the same, I must say. If anything, it’s more fun because you have these resources that are enormous and the best of the best. I don’t think they ever say no…you just keep working on it.

ES: We’ve worked a lot with CG, so I’d say we’re pretty used to it. It’s just that in this movie, it’s just ten times as much, or more. It’s just the scale of it. What we used a lot in this movie that we [previously] couldn’t really afford – we’ve used it before, but not to this extent – is pre-viz. That’s just a perfect tool, because a lot of these action sequences are so tricky. They involve so many different people and so many different technical departments, actors, countries, and weird machines to work, that you need a tool like that just to make everybody understand what the heck we’re doing and bring everybody to the same page.

This is obviously the biggest film you have ever made. I have to imagine there were a ton of moving parts and a lot of different voices to answer to on a film this size. Amid all of that, were you able to feel artistically and creatively fulfilled making this movie?

JR: Absolutely. It’s what we always dreamed about. It’s a dream come true. To sit here and talk to you and be here in its opening week, and we’ve been to some screenings and hearing the reactions, people laughing in the right places…yeah, it’s a great feeling.

ES: Yeah. Disney and Jerry encouraged that, and the actors demand that, so yeah, it’s great fun. Every movie you make has rules, whether it’s Kon-Tiki or Max Manus or any other movie. You have to make rules, because if not, the movie is just going to [fall apart]. For Pirates, of course, there are many rules because this is number five and there’s a universe. You can be creative within those rules. But there’s a lot there to be creative with.

I remember enjoying Bandidas when I saw it back in 2006. Do you have fond memories of that film? Any fun behind-the-scenes stories you remember?

JR: Really? I think it was the best film school I could have ever had. The most expensive film school [Laughs], and it was great to work with that level of actors. And also the producers – Luc Besson was amazing. Talking about steep learning curves, we were hitting the ground running on that one. The thing I learned most about that process is probably “know your audience” a little bit. I wanted it to be a Sergio Leone western, and I feel it should have been a broader comedy looking back at it.

ES: That’s a long time ago! That was a treat. We had great fun. It was, of course, our first film, so it was really scary in that way. But [stars] Penelope [Cruz] and Salma [Hayak] are such great people, so they made it a great experience for us. It was really cool being in Mexico.

I’ve heard all of these crazy rumors about how this was a very difficult movie to make, so I’m wondering A) if you felt this was a tough movie to make, and B) if you felt like this experience had a negative impact on your working relationship with your co-director?

JR: No. These kind of movies are very complex. I think it’s part of the appeal, actually. We have to go to these remote locations – tropical, exposed to the weather, on the ocean – and it’s 100 days. And shit happens, and suddenly you’re in the middle of that. But also, we do have the best crew and production in the world, and you’re prepared for most of that when it happens. I think for Espen and I it was a great experience, and something I would do again for sure. It was an amazing journey.

ES: It’s definitely a tough movie to make. Also, it takes a very long time. It’s just so big. I think that’s the tough part of it – it takes a pretty big chunk of your life. [Laughs] But then again, it’s also worth it because it is a movie that so many people are going to see for so many years to come, so I’m really proud of it and it’s been really fun and totally worth it. I think Joachim and I both had a great time and we’re very proud of the result.

***

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is in theaters now.

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