Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Timeline This film has been released in 2017
Release date:
May 26, 2017

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On this day, May 26, 2017, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales“, the fifth film in the series “Pirates of the Caribbean“, was released in US theatres. From Wikipedia:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (released in some countries as Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge) is a 2017 American swashbuckler fantasy film directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg from a script by Jeff Nathanson. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is the sequel to On Stranger Tides (2011) and the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. It stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, and Kevin McNally.

The filmmakers cited the series’ first installment, The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), as inspiration for the script and tone of the film. Pre-production for the film started shortly before On Stranger Tides was released in early 2011, with Terry Rossio writing the initial script. In early 2013, Jeff Nathanson was hired to write a new script for the film, with Depp being involved in Nathanson’s writing process. Initially planned for a 2015 release, the film was delayed to 2016 and then to 2017, after 6 years of development hell, due to script and budget issues. Principal photography started in Australia in February 2015, after the Australian government offered Disney $20 million in tax incentives, and ended in July 2015.

Johnny Depp plays the main role, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Paul McCartney plays the role of Jack Sparrow’s paternal uncle, Uncle Jack, in a brief scene in a prison. The role was expected to be filled by Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stone fame, who had participated in a previous Pirates of the Caribbean film; but was not available.

I guess the cat’s out of the bag and it’s big news that Sir Paul McCartney makes a cameo in the film. I understand this was shot after the film was wrapped up. What’s the story behind that and how did that all come together?

Well we really wanted him in a movie. Keith Richards was part of the previous ones and we really loved that, but he couldn’t make it because of a tour. So we made a very short list of people who we wanted in this one, and Sir Paul was at the very top of that list. Johnny Depp has his number so he just simply texted him. They texted back and forth and we were a little bit a part of that, and their lingo got more and more pirate-y. That was just amazing and then we had a few days of shooting in Vancouver so we could fit that into the schedule for everybody. He came and it was just an amazing shoot.

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg – Co-directors of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From The AU Review, May 24, 2017

We had even written a scene for Keith [Richards]. And then because of some scheduling issues, he couldn’t come to Australia to shoot, so we sat down with Johnny [Depp] and kind of brainstormed, like, ‘Okay, who could fill his shoes?’ Because we felt like we should have something. We should honor the tradition of showing a Jack Sparrow family member. And we made a very short list, and of course, at the very top of that list was Sir Paul McCartney.

Joachim Rønning – Co-director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From EW.com, May 26, 2017

Johnny, of course, has his phone number, as you do. I don’t know what kind of club these people are a member of, but he had the phone number, so he said, ‘You know, I’ll text him! No problem.’ So he did! He just texted Sir Paul, and Sir Paul texted back. And it went a little back and forth, and their lingo got more and more pirate-y, and it was like, well, this is going to happen!

Espen Sandberg – Co-director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From EW.com, May 26, 2017

Yeah, I’m loving it. [Johnny Depp] got me a lot of favors in the past. He’s been in some of my music videos. So you know, it’s a way of repaying him. […] My character is Jack’s uncle who he was named after and I’m an old pirate awaiting execution just like he is. It runs in the family, I’m afraid to say. I started telling him about my Liverpool relatives and I sent it on this uncle Jack of mine. He said “oh, yeah charile uncle Jack”, so I told him a few stories and that he always used to tell jokes. Jack was the family joke teller. And then last night before filming, we had a little meeting, a little bit to eat, a bit of wine, and it kicked it around. Johnny come up with a load of ideas. I spun off it and I thought “okay he’s going to bed, he must be tired and everything”. Well, he typed the whole thing up and he had it all as a script this morning, very impressed.

Paul McCartney – during the filming of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From How Sir Paul McCartney act in film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – YouTube

When co-directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg met Paul McCartney in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel for his first costume fitting, they became nervous at seeing how unrecognizable he now was:

There he is. And he’s unrecognizable. I got nervous, because no one is going to see it in a way. It felt like we had gone too far. It was still great. But he became too much a pirate. We had to tone it down a little bit and dig out his own features.

Joachim Rønning – Co-director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From usatoday.com, May 31, 2017

McCartney decided to keep his Liverpool accent during his scene:

We were happy with that, it was part of recognizing him

Joachim Rønning – Co-director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From usatoday.com, May 31, 2017

He also suggested singing the song “Maggie Mae“, a traditional Liverpool folk song recorded by their Beatles and released on the “Let It Be” album.

It’s an old sailor Liverpool song. But it’s also a Beatles tune. And we still meet people that don’t see that he’s in the movie. Even though he sings!

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg – Co-directors of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From usatoday.com, May 31, 2017

One of the best moments of the whole shoot was at the end of the shooting day with him. The scene starts with him singing a song, and at the very end of the day, we needed to do a wild take to just record him singing. Nobody else is working on the set so on the soundstage, it’s completely quiet, and we’re only rolling sound. So I’m sitting there behind the monitors, listening in with earphones and basically recording Paul McCartney. That was a big, big moment.

Joachim Rønning – Co-director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – From EW.com, May 26, 2017

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