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Exclusive Interview with directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg – Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

A film that was 10 years in the making, finally hits theaters near you. Read my exclusive interview with the Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg from the latest and 5th installment of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Photo Credit: Louise Bishop /

Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The latest installment of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. A team that originated back when they were 10 years old, they met each other and believe it or not were break dancers making a movie.

This friendship/partnership spanned over the years directing international films as well as directing and producing episodes of the famous Marco Polo show on Netflix.

Interview with directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg

The chemistry and teamwork between these two are plain to see as you sit across from them and they describe their love and passion for filming. I was excited to learn how they came about this latest installment as well as where it all began many years ago.

The love and grand adventure in this film is so wonderful, their addition to Jack Sparrows Origin story was fantastic. The scene with young Jack Sparrow twirling his compass around has to be my top favorite part of the movie (it’s badass!).

You can read my full Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review (No Spoilers) as well as check out my My High Sea’s Adventure at The Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales Blue Carpet Movie Premiere.

Pirates Life Event

Don’t miss out on any of the celebrity interviews from the 5th installment of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Click on the name of the interviews you would like to read about below, also don’t forget to check out all of the other adventures during my PiratesLifeEvent press trip in LA.

How They Landed The 5th Installment of Pirates Of The Caribbean

Espen Sandberg: We 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 years old.

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.

“PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES”..The villainous Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) pursues Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he searches for the trident used by Poseidon..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Inspiration For The Ghost Sharks

Espen Sandberg: They were brilliantly written by Jeff Nathanson,  it became our job to translate that and to add elements in the action sequence. The idea was on paper but that scene where the ghost shark jumps over the boat, that’s all coming as we’re developing the idea. But the ghost sharks are part of the look of the ghosts basically.

That was important to work the design of the ghosts, it 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 and then 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.

Working As A Directing Team

Joachim Ronning: I think as Espen was saying, 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 the actors and the crew and everyone as part of the discussion basically. And we try to create a safe work environment as you could say.

Where every odd day is welcome and 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.

Scenes That Didn’t Make The Cut

Joachim Ronning: For almost four years we’ve been working on this movie which is long even for big movies. And of course like in that process 1 ½ year just working on the script there’s always going to be so many different versions and ideas and the process is very long and complex.

I think that probably one of the things that we had the most versions of is probably Jack Sparrow’s back story and his origin story in how he became Jack Sparrow and all of that.

Espen Sandberg: That, I remember we had like you know 10, 15 versions of that. That was a long and grueling process because of the mythology of Pirates of the Caribbean, the series, and movies, it’s so at least I think it’s complex mythology so and you don’t want to step on anybody’s.

You know there’s a lot of fans out there that know everything you know. And so it was important for us to be ahead of that and not mess with any you know previous backstories.

Joachim Ronning: You know and we also wanted to blend that back story of Jack also with Salazar’s. So that their relationship and the revenge story became personal so to speak.

“PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES”..The villainous Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) pursues Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he searches for the trident used by Poseidon..Pictured: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)..Ph: Film Frame..© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Youthification of Johnny Depp

Espen Sandberg:  I would say yes and no because Leah was not with Carrie Fisher but we shot with Johnny Depp. So I mean the youthification that we call it. I’ve been misquoted in so many newspapers saying, beautification but it’s youthification. And, very important. And we shot it with Johnny and then spent the year on the computer basically. There’s a company in South America that does it called Lola. Fitting, fitting name.

Joachim Ronning: Now we can do 21 Jump Street again.

Espen Sandberg: Yeah, exactly. He was thrilled when he saw the result. He was a little freaked out looking at it but he loved it. And that was a fun moment.

What was it like working with Johnny Depp? And what the chemistry was like Onset?

Joachim Ronning: Oh, it’s amazing. He’s so funny. What you see with Jack Sparrow is all Johnny. And he’s a genius. I mean for us he’s like up there with Chaplin and the other ones because his timing is just perfect and he has such a weird imagination.

So he comes up with the craziest ideas. And for us, the highlight was always going into his trailer in the morning and going through the scenes and the lines and trying to come up with even more cool stuff to do to make it even funnier.

And of course, when we started shooting he would do something completely different. And everyone was sort of thrown off but that also makes it come alive and funny, so.

Photo Credit: Louise Bishop /

You pursued this title, Is there a specific reason you wanted to do the next installment in the series or was it the type of origin story that you were attracted to?

Espen Sandberg: The origin story in the movie came from us actually. That was something we wanted to explore. That was something when we were going the rounds and trying to get the gate, that as fans of the franchise ourselves we were curious about Jack Sparrow. We were thinking well, that could be cool too and they got that. Disney liked it,

And Johnny liked it too. He was a little bit more reserved because he’s very protective of this character of course. He’s a tricky movie character, Jack Sparrow because he doesn’t really have what they call the character arc. He learns nothing you know during his journey. It’s not richer for the experience.

He was very curious to where we would go with it. And then I think that creating basically now in the fifth installment, creating how he got his name and all of that. It’s a little bit risky but then when we presented it and then we started shooting he really embraced it and that was cool. So that was a big part of what we brought to get the job in the first place.

Pirates of the Caribbean Superfans?

Joachim Ronning: We wanted to do the movie is a little bit like Espen were saying, that when we grew up we were very influenced by Hollywood adventure family movies, you know movies that inspired us to become filmmakers in the first place.

And Pirates reminds us of that. It’s very much that fun movies that give you energy and you know we both have kids. And to be able to do, that 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 you know now we’ve been doing the premieres and all over the world and traveling. That wouldn’t work if it was like 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.

“PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES”..The villainous Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) pursues Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he searches for the trident used by Poseidon..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Were there any other villains that you explored before settling with Captain Salazar?

Espen Sandberg: Well, I’m sure it was but when we came on board I think that it changed. He wasn’t Spanish when we came but then when Javier agreed to come on and be a part of this then he became Spanish.

So I think he’s like originally he was another British or something like that. But yeah, so that’s what changed with Javier.

So, what’s in store for the franchise? Will there be another one since we saw the clip as two?

Espen Sandberg:  I hope so.

Joachim Ronning: We wish we had that position. We are fans of the franchise so we certainly hope that it continues. We’ll see. We’re just going to enjoy this now and see how it goes. But we’re crossing fingers.

Espen Sandberg: Yeah, it’s up to the audience I think now. And then Disney will make a decision.

Disney’s “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES”..L to R: Director Espen Sandberg and Director Joachim Rønning..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Besides entertaining, what are you hoping people walk away with from the film?

Espen Sandberg: I think that you know for us again it’s something that was very important for us that we touch upon a little bit was the emotional core of the story and the kind of family theme that the film has.

And that’s I guess you know a treasure is not always you know a chest of gold. You know, it could be other things.

Joachim Ronning: Even for a pirate. And I think that was like something we really fought hard to do because I really inspired by the first movie I think in the series that had that a lot, had a big heart.

And then, of course, you have the adventure and you have the scares and you have the comedy you know. But yeah, I hope that the audience will be moved by it as well.

Photo Credit: Louise Bishop /

You mentioned you started working together when you were 10 years old. Are your children in the same boat? Do your kids try to make movies together?

Joachim Ronning: Yeah, I would say so.

Espen Sandberg: They’re best friends actually so they are super close, so. And they’re doing a lot of creative stuff so we’ll see.

Joachim Ronning: Yeah, we have five kids between us. I have two, Espen has three.

Espen Sandberg: They’re nine, 10, 11, 12, 13. Yeah, so it’s a good bunch to travel with.

Photo Credit: Louise Bishop /

You met when you were 10 years old?

Joachim Ronning: Through dance. Again, we were 10. And we immediately started making movies instead. And luckily we didn’t pursue the dancing career. We went for the moviemaking.

Espen Sandberg: Yeah. Really. We were Break dancers. I think in that we were in elementary school, my dad bought a video camera so that’s why we kind of drifted into that and became very interested in film.

Joachim Ronning: Oh, God.

Do you have any of those early films?

Joachim Ronning: Oh yeah, absolutely. And we were talking like this. You know we were like (squeaky high voice)

Espen Sandberg: It’s hilarious.

Pirates are such an iconic part of Disney and history. What’s it like being part of that? Is this what you’ve wanted to have that kind of a feather in your cap?

Espen Sandberg: For sure. No, it’s a dream come true. I think you know we grew up with this in movies.

Joachim Ronning: And it’s so much bigger than us. It’s amazing to go to China and there are thousands of screaming fans. You know, it’s such a global phenomenon and it’s because they love the universe. They love the characters. And for us to be a part of that and keep that story going is really cool.

The end of the Interview with Directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning

I hope all of you really enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I really hope there is another installment of Pirates of The Caribbean and that this wonderful team of Directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning work together on it.

I can only imagine how much more grand the next adventure will be and how much fun it will be to set sail with the whole cast and crew again. What was your favorite part of this interview? Make sure you head to the theaters and watch this epic adventure movie that I’m without a doubt sure your family will love.



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PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere today!

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Sail the high seas with me as I adventure to Disneyland and ride the Pirate of the Caribbean ride for the first time in my life! Also, view my special visit to the Walt Disney Archive's where I got to hold Walt's academy award.
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Sailing The High Sea's At Disneyland's Pirates Of The Caribbean Ride and Disney Archives Visit

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