The directors of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales have revealed that one of the most outlandish stunts featured in the film was performed for real. These days it’s easy to assume that most dangerous and spectacular scenes rely heavily on CG effects, but that’s not always the case.
The opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales confirmed that there is still bankability and interest in the franchise, with a massive global debut at the box-office. Part of the financial success of the films is undoubtedly due to the extravagant action set pieces, some of which have more in common with Buster Keaton-type antics rather than something more generic. Think of Will and Jack’s first sword-fight in The Curse of the Black Pearl, or the three-person duel on the water-wheel in Dead Man’s Chest. And whatever your opinion of the current film, it’s true to say that Dead Men Tell No Tales continues that tradition.
The directors of the latest installment, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, have confirmed that one of epic sequences in the movie was created and filmed practically, and a conscious decision to pull back from much of the CG trickery that has been used in the past. It occurs during one of several moments where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) manages to evade certain death yet again, and is trapped inside a guillotine. But during a botched rescue, the contraption comes loose and ends up spinning about wildly, nearly decapitating Jack on numerous occasions.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, the two filmmakers respond to questions about their most difficult scene to film, and refer to the above moment in the plot:
“There’s a scene where Jack Sparrow is strapped to a guillotine [and does that spin]. It’s one of the luxuries to have making a movie on this scale, the resources that you can come up with something and then like six months later they spend millions of dollars and built the thing!”
They also point to the obvious connections with silent-movie slapstick and the desire to keep effects practical
“The franchise has a lot of [practical action sequences], and also talking to Johnny Depp about his inspirations for the character and going back to the Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin of it all. We really worked hard to take the action sequences and those kind of funny set pieces to the next level.”
Given the solid opening of the film around the world, it seems like the right choices were made by the Norwegian directors, and the move back to practical (but ridiculous) stunts was a positive decision. The future of the franchise was hinted at in the post-credit sequence of Dead Men Tell No Tales. However any further sequels will depend on the involvement of Johnny Depp, according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Screen Rant will keep you up to date with any more news on future entries in the franchise.