Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Men Tell No Tales
Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales.jpg
Official film logo
Directed by
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by Jeff Nathanson
Based on
Music by Geoff Zanelli[1]
Cinematography Paul Cameron[2]
Edited by
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • May 26, 2017 (2017-05-26) (United States)
Country United States
Language English

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (set to be released in France as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Revenge of Salazar)[3] is an upcoming American fantasy swashbuckler film, and the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The film will be directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg from a script by Jeff Nathanson, with Jerry Bruckheimer serving again as producer. The film is scheduled to star Johnny Depp returning as Jack Sparrow, Javier Bardem as the film's villain, Captain Salazar, Orlando Bloom back as Will Turner, as well as Brenton Thwaites as Henry, Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth, and Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa.

Pre-production for the film started shortly before the fourth installment On Stranger Tides was released in early 2011, with Terry Rossio writing a script for the film. In early 2013, Jeff Nathanson was hired to write a new script, 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, due to script and budget issues. Principal photography started in Australia in February 2015, after the Australian government offered Disney $20 million of tax incentives, and ended in July 2015. It is set to be released in 3D on May 26, 2017.[4]


Captain Jack Sparrow is pursued by an old rival, Captain Salazar, who along with his crew of ghost pirates has escaped from the Devil's Triangle, and is determined to kill every pirate at sea. Jack seeks the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that grants its possessor total control over the seas, in order to defeat Salazar.[2]


An eccentric pirate captain of The Black Pearl on the hunt for the Trident of Poseidon, which bestows control over the seas.
A powerful merciless ghost pirate trapped in the Devil's Triangle. After escaping, he seeks the Trident of Poseidon to kill every pirate at sea and exact revenge on his former nemesis, Jack Sparrow.[2]
One legged pirate captain of The Queen Anne's Revenge and former captain of The Black Pearl and Sparrow's nemesis.
A young man who tries to reconnect with his father. He struggles to break a curse that is preventing him from doing so.[7]
  • Lewis McGowan as young Henry[8]
An astronomer. Scodelario explained the character's motivation and role saying, "she is an academic, she's fighting for the right to study at university, because women couldn't at that time. So she's on her own journey - looking for the trident of Poseidon - and she has a diary with clues."[9] She was keen to express the difference between Carina and Elizabeth Swann, believing that she was not just a carbon copy of that character.[10]
A blacksmith-turned-pirate who is transformed into the captain of the Flying Dutchman, an entity known as Davy Jones at the end of At World's End. Speaking about his possible return to the franchise, Bloom stated that he would love to portray a character outside of his usual role types as a good-looking hero: "I’m of course Davy Jones now, so I’m down the bottom of the ocean. It might be kind of fun to do something where I’m rumbling round the bottom of the ocean, because I won’t look anything like me. [Gestures to face] Get all gnarly."[12]



Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush in a festival.
Kevin McNally.
Orlando Bloom
Top to bottom: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally and Orlando Bloom who reprise their roles from the previous films as Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, Joshamee Gibbs and Will Turner respectively. Bloom returned to the series after not appearing in 2011's On Stranger Tides.

Shortly before the release of On Stranger Tides in 2011, it was confirmed that writer Terry Rossio was working on a script for a fifth film without his writing partner Ted Elliot.[18] Furthermore, the cast and crew of the fourth film were told to set aside time in the near future, as Walt Disney Pictures intended to shoot a fifth and sixth film back-to-back.[19] However, it was later stated that only a fifth film was in the works. On January 11, 2013, Jeff Nathanson signed on to write the script for the film.[20] On May 29, 2013, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were selected to direct.[21] This decision was based both on their Academy Award nominated high sea film Kon-Tiki, as well as their ability to work with a limited budget.[22] On August 22, 2013, Rønning and Sandberg revealed that the title of the fifth film would be Dead Men Tell No Tales.[23] They also confirmed that they were working on the film, speaking highly of Jeff Nathanson's "funny and touching" script and that they are inspired by the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl.[24] Kaya Scodelario felt that the film "will have much more of the feel of the first film, the producers want to take it back to the beginning again. They wanted it to have this epic journey, and for it to make sense, and for it to tie things up, and also lead to new storylines."[25]

However, after Disney's The Lone Ranger lost the studio $190 million in 2013—a film also starring Johnny Depp in a similarly eccentric role—Disney questioned the bankability of Depp and thus the franchise, so the film was reconsidered and not actually green-lit as of early 2014.[26] Another problem, along with the lack of success Depp experienced outside of the Pirates franchise were script problems, as Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn stated: "We haven't seen a screenplay yet that I've been able to sign off on. There's a lot of variables that affect the final outcome once it leaves the studio lot, so we are very careful."[27] Due to these problems, the film's production was delayed and it moved from a 2015 release aspired by Disney in 2013[20] to a likely release in 2016.[28] Producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that script as well as budget issues were behind the delay, and that Jeff Nathanson was at work on a second attempt based on a well-received outline, stating: "It’s all a factor. We want a script that everyone’s signed off on and a budget that everyone’s signed off on."[22] After the script was accepted and the film was finally officially green-lit by Disney in July 2014, the release date moved to July 7, 2017.[29]

Many of the crew members for the film were new to the franchise, replacing members that had served on the previous four films. Apart from Directors Rønning and Sandberg and writer Nathanson, a new Director of Cinematography, Paul Cameron replacing Dariusz Wolski, production designer Nigel Phelps, visual effects supervisor Gary Brozenich, special effects supervisor Dan Oliver, supervising stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell, stunt coordinators Thomas Robinson Harper and Kyle Gardiner, makeup and hair designer Peter Swords King, new executive producers Joe Caracciolo, Jr. and Brigham Taylor replacing Mike Stenson, film editors Joel Cox, Gary D. Roach and Roger Barton and composer Geoff Zanelli taking over from composer of the primary themes for the series, Hans Zimmer. Costume Designer Penny Rose returned after providing the costumes for all four previous films, along with Executive Producer Chad Oman.[2][30][31]

Speaking to IGN while promoting The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Orlando Bloom indicated that the film might serve as a soft-reboot for the franchise, saying: "Basically they want to reboot the whole franchise, I think, and do something with me and the relationship with my son."[12]


By 2011, shortly before the release of On Stranger Tides, Terry Rossio was writing a script for a fifth film.[18] In January 2013, Disney hired Jeff Nathanson to work on a script.[20] That September, producer Bruckheimer said, “We have an outline everyone loves but the script is not done,” explaining that the release would be postponed beyond summer 2015.[22]

On April 13, 2014, Depp said Bruckheimer and Disney had invited him in to collaborate with the writer Jeff Nathanson, noting:

Everyone involved wants the script to be right and perfect. So we have gone on to do other things [in the meantime]. We are still going to do the film together. I enjoy them immensely. They are super talented. They have a great sense of humor. I think they have a really fun approach to what we are going to do with the next 'Pirates.' Very happily and proudly, I have welcomed taking part in the story and working directly with the screenwriter [Jeff Nathanson]—he and I. It's working out really well that way. So I have high hopes for that 'Pirates 5' because if that's really the last one, which it probably is, I feel that we owe it to the audience who went and saw the films so many times. We’ll do it right and end it on a high note.[32]


Speaking at the On Stranger Tides press launch in Cannes, Depp said he would play the role for as long as it is popular with the public.[33] In August 2012 news surfaced that Johnny Depp signed on officially for the fifth film, earning A$90 million to reprise his role.[5] As with the fourth film, Depp was also involved in scripting and planning Dead Men Tell No Tales.[32] Geoffrey Rush had commented on returning as Hector Barbossa in the fifth installment, saying "If they keep shapeshifting this character, absolutely" as well as implying he may return as the villain.[34] He also said that Barbossa's megalomania "could explode in horrific ways."[35] In December 2014, Rush confirmed his return for the fifth installment, where Barbossa and Jack were "at the heart of it and there's a whole new set of story lines."[6] In late 2011, about four years after choosing not to return for the fourth installment, Orlando Bloom stated that he would like to return for the fifth film if he was offered.[36] Several weeks after Disney officially green-lit the film, Bloom stated that there were "discussions" about his return to the franchise in September 2014.[37] Bloom further commented in December 2014, that while he is not sure whether he will return, there are talks. He also indicated that Disney may do a soft reboot with the franchise and focus on Will Turner and his son.[12] After months of speculation and after filming wrapped up, Bloom's participation was confirmed at Disney D23 on August 15, 2015.[11]

Australian actor Brenton Thwaites entered talks for the role of Henry in late November 2014,[38] after Disney choose him over Taron Egerton, George MacKay, Mitchell Hope, Ansel Elgort and Sam Keeley.[39] In mid-January 2015, he stated that he was to travel to Australia for the film in February, disclosing that his role was indeed that of Davy Jones' son, struggling to break a curse to meet his father.[7] On January 24, Jerry Bruckheimer announced via Twitter that Kaya Scodelario had been cast as the female lead.[40] In July, her character was revealed to be called Carina.[41] In earlier drafts of the script the name Carina Smyth appeared as Barbossa's daughter and was a love interest of Sparrow's and was an astronomer accused of being a witch.[42] Scodelario confirmed that the character was an astronomer and that “she's a totally different character,” to Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann.[10] By October 2014, Javier Bardem, husband of Penelope Cruz, who portrayed Angelica in the fourth installment, was in early talks to appear as the antagonist of the film.[43] His role was eventually confirmed to be that of Captain Salazar.[2] Kevin McNally confirmed his return as Joshamee Gibbs via Twitter in late January.[44] Shortly after on location pre-production opened in Australia, Disney issued a casting call to local agents for actors from all age- and experience levels to apply for roles and as extras in the upcoming film, with casting also open in the US.[45] Adam Brown, Delroy Atkinson, Danny Kirrane were revealed as cast members shortly before filming.[16] Martin Klebba confirmed his return as Marty via Twitter days before filming began.[13] Director Joachim Rønning's two children appear in the film as extras.[46]

Both Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook commented on the possibility of returning as Pintel and Ragetti. Arenberg confirmed in several interviews that, despite wanting to return to the fourth film,[47] he hoped to reprise his role as Pintel.[48] In an interview on November 7, 2014, Crook confirmed that he had received a call of availability from Disney for the film, although stated that the uncertainty of whether he wanted to reprise his role.[49] Crook declined to reprise his role ultimately, in order to focus on his television series, Detectorists.[50] He said he felt "pangs of nostalgia," when the cast and crew filmed the film without him.[51] However, shortly before filming started, Arenberg announced on Twitter that he would not do so, despite having been interested.[52]


On January 15, 2014, directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg confirmed that shooting would take place in Puerto Rico and New Orleans[53] and Bruckheimer had previously mentioned that there might be a sequence in Louisiana.[54] However, a spokesman for the Australian Arts Minister confirmed that the fifth installment was set to shoot exclusively in Australia after the government agreed to repurpose $20 million of tax incentives originally intended for the remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, thus edging out Mexico and South Africa as filming locations.[55] According to Australian film industry sources, on location pre-production started in late September 2014.[56] This was officially confirmed by Disney and the Queensland Arts Minister on October 2, 2014, stating that filming will take place exclusively in Queensland, Australia, being the largest production to ever shoot in the country. Village Roadshow Studios and Port Douglas were officially confirmed as filming locations.[57] On January 1, 2015, The Rainbow Gypsy, a 15-year-old replica of an 1897 Scottish bawley, sailed into the Gold Coast to start the extensive refit, which will include a new bowsprit and reconfigured decks and cabins in order to become the Dying Gull, a single-masted ghost ship. Its captain and owner Kit Woodward will be a rigger on the film.[58]

Filming commenced on February 17, 2015.[2] Ship scenes were filmed in front of a giant outdoor greenscreen in Helensvale,[59] while a film set in the form of a village was built in Maudsland.[60] Filming moved to Doug Jennings Park on The Spit from March 30 to June 15, 2015 for water bound scenes.[61] However, due to extreme sea sickness among the cast and crew due to "big swells" at The Spit, filming moved to Raby Bay for calmer waters.[62][63] Scenes were shot at Lennox Head on June 1.[64] Locals made up more than 75 percent of the 850-plus crew then working on the film.[65] After much speculation about whether Orlando Bloom would return, Bloom arrived at the Gold Coast in late May to reprise his role as Will Turner.[66][67] Scenes featuring a skeleton of a Sperm Whale that had been constructed were shot at Hastings Point from June 21 to 23.[68]

A number of issues and controversies set back the film during its production. The biosecurity laws in Australia posed problems regarding the capuchin monkeys that portray Hector Barbossa's pet monkey Jack, as the animals are regarded as a category 1 pest and require strict requirements and a 30-day quarantine.[69] Further controversy surrounding the use of the monkeys erupted from animal rights activist groups, who urged the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to reject the application to fly two capuchin monkeys from California to Australia, arguing that the trip would "harm the monkeys’ health, that movie performances are unnatural for wild creatures and that the appearance of monkeys in films encourages the illegal wildlife trade."[70] One of the monkeys caused further disruption when it wandered off set at Movie World and bit a make up artist on another production on the ear.[71] Crew and cast members were forced to cover the camera lenses on all mobile phones with duct tape to prevent the film from being pirated before its release. To prevent fans from interfering with the production, secret filming locations used the production name of 'Herschel' to hide the fact it was the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film.[72] Following the attempt of an armed man trying to bypass security, the already tight security was increased.[73]

On March 10, 2015, Depp was injured (not on set) and had to be flown back to the United States for surgery.[74] Due to his absence, filming stalled completely and 200 crew members were forced to stand down for two weeks as they had done all they had been able to without Depp.[75] Filming was set to resume "on or about April 20"[76] and Depp returned to set on April 21.[77] In June, Kaya Scodelario was injured on set along with a stuntman.[78]

Most of the cast and crew had finished on the 8th, and a wrap party was held on July 11, 2015.[79] Filming then moved to the Whitsundays for the final shots to be filmed. [41][80]On July 21, 2015, Joachim Rønning announced via Instagram that filming has wrapped after a 95-day shoot.[81] After nearly a year in post production, reshoots and additional photography was conducted in Vancouver, Canada from March 24 to April 13 under the production title Herschel Additional Photography.[82]


For the first time in the series since Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (which he associated with), Hans Zimmer did not compose the music for the film, instead one of his protégé's, Geoff Zanelli, who had worked on all previous four installments in the franchise took reign as the main composer for the film.[83] Zanelli said of taking over from Zimmer as composer for the series,"What Hans did for the ‘Pirates’ movies redefined the sound of the entire genre, it has been very fulfilling to work alongside him and [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer] on the past four films. ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ enlarges the ‘Pirates’ universe with many new, unique elements, and I’m building a distinctive sound for this film that springboards off of many years of collaborating in the ‘Pirates’ world."[84]


The film was first showcased at the Disney D23 Expo 2015 where Depp appeared in costume as Jack Sparrow and the film's logo was revealed with Orlando Bloom confirmed to be starring in the film.[85][86] Elizabeth Rudnick has been self-confirmed to novelize the film, as well as describing the film as bringing back "sensibility," plus bringing back Jack Sparrow in "all of his swaggering glory."[87] Another book is set to be released by Disney, a tie-in prequel expanding the backstory of the character of Carina Smythe, entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Brightest Star in the North.[88]


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