Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg:
An inside look at Dead Men Tell No Tales
A treasure is not always a chest of gold, it could be other things….Even for a pirate.
– Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg,
Directors of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise welcomed quite a few fresh faces with Dead Men Tell No Tales. On screen, they added Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem, and Brenton Thwaites. Behind the scenes, they added the Dynamic Director Duo Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg. These two are childhood friends who grew up making their own movies using Joachim Ronning’s fathers’ video camera. Upon graduation from Stockholm Film School, in 1994 the duo formed their own production company, Roenberg, which is their last names put together. They started their career making commercials, short films and music videos, before landing their first major film Bandidas (starring Selma Hayek and Penelope Cruz) in 2006. Since Bandidas they have received nominations for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for the People’s Choice Award for Best European Film. These two make a great team, their chemistry was apparent throughout the entire interview. I have to admit we laughed A LOT, and it was a fun interview. Nothing like laughing and chatting while being served the inside scoop on what it was like working on their first Disney Film and becoming a part of the Pirates of the Caribean Franchise.
Espen Sandberg shared with us that both he and Joachim, are long time fans of the Pirates Franchise and that the Dead Men Tell No Tales project did not just fall in their laps. They chased it.
We really wanted to make this movie. And I think the basic reason as you know Joachim and I started making movies together when we were 10. Movies that inspired us back then was you know the Spielberg and Lucas and Zemeckis films. And this franchise just reminds us of that. And it has that unique blend of spectacle and humor and scary parts and also a lot of heart. So that meant a lot to us.
These two have been together since they were children, they are lifetime friends. we asked Joachim Ronning about his longtime collaboration with Espen Sandberg, and he shared
You know we don’t really know any other way of doing this then being together. For us, it’s a very natural process. And I think it’s a collaborative one. We include like the actors and the crew and everyone as part of the discussion basically. And we try to create safe work environment as you could say. You know where every odd day is welcome and we can, everybody can be a part of the discussion. And that’s important to us. I think that’s like probably one of the strong advantages that we have as a directing team.
Espen Sandberg on the movies special effects, in particular, the use of Dead Sharks
[The Movie was] brilliantly written by Jeff Nathanson. Then it became our job to translate that and to add elements in the action sequence. The idea was on paper but that scene where he jumps over the boat and all, that’s all you know coming as we’re developing the idea. But the ghost sharks are part of the look of the ghosts basically. The design of the ghosts became a long process that we did together with Javier Bardem as well. And the production designers and the VFX supervisors and going in and trying to find what can give it a ghostly appearance without losing the actors basically. Javier is so wonderful and you don’t want to mess it too much up. So, that’s where it started and then the ghost sharks came from that trying to be a part of that family, so to speak.
Joachim Ronning digs a little deeper into why he and Espen Sandberg wanted to Direct Dead Men Tell No Tales
Like Espen was saying, we grew up very influenced by Hollywood adventure family movies, movies that inspired us to become filmmakers in the first place. And Pirates reminds us of that. It’s very much that fun movie that gives you energy and we both have kids. That [their kids] was also a big part of why we wanted to do this. It’s something they can relate to and be a part of. And we’ve been doing the premieres all over the world and traveling with the kids. That wouldn’t work if it was a horror movie. It was a big part of it to make something that we saw ourselves in when we were kids and to make something for our kids.
Cool Dead Men Tell No Tales Facts:
- Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg worked on Dead Men Tell No Tales for 4 years, which is a long time even for a movie of its’ length.
- There were 10 to 15 versions of Jack Sparrow’s back story before they finally settled for the one in the film.
- A process called Youthification was used to make Johnny Depp look younger in the Jack Sparrow back story sequence.
- The origin story of how Jack Sparrow got his name came from Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg, it was part of what they presented to Disney when they pursued the Director job for Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Johnny Depp is very protective of his character Jack Sparrow, and he embraced the concept of the How Jack Sparrow got his name storyline.
- The original villain in Dead Men Tell No Tales was not Hispanic, he didn’t become Captain Salazar until Javier Bardem was cast into the role.
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