The directing team of Norway’s Oscar-nominated high-seas adventure film “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, have landed the helming gig on Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean 5.” The Jerry Bruckheimer production is set for a late 2013 or January 2014 start.
The Norwegian duo beat out Rupert Sanders (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) and Fredrik Bond (“The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman”). But Bruckheimer is the real auteur of this series. He has always had an eye for talent, and he’s got the “Pirates” ship running pretty smoothly–but costs skyrocketed under Gore Verbinski and Rob Marshall: “On Stranger Tides” (2011) cost $250 million plus global marketing, so a slight course correction may be in order. “On Stranger Tides” grossed a solid $1 billion worldwide–and only $241 million of that was domestic.
Needless to say, this is a huge, career-changing job for Ronning and Sandberg. These guys know their way with cameras and water, and if “Kon-Tiki,” which chronicled explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s extraordinary ocean passage on a wooden raft, lacked a bit of narrative tension, you can bet Bruckheimer’s editors will take care of that. Besides, the “Pirates” series gave up on cohesive storytelling a long time ago: they’re about strings of over-the-top VFX action sequences. ILM and other VFX houses are probably more responsible for the cinematic artistry in these movies than any given director is at this point.