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The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was a reference book containing images and information relevant to the visual development of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Accompanied by informative text written by the film's unit publicist, Michael Singer, this book showcases all of the incredible visual development that went into the creation of the film. Concept art, digital renderings, costume sketches, prop schematics, and storyboards are the prized cargo aboard this ship of dreams. It was published by Disney Editions on May 3, 2011.
The Fountain of Youth has been the object of desire for many adventurers since Ponce de León was rumored to have discovered it in the early sixteenth century. For Jack Sparrow, the fountain is equivalent to the ultimate freedom: eternal life. But regardless of whether or not Jack finds the Aqua de Vida he has already been immortalized—in the hearts and minds of Pirates fans all over the world.
Those fans have been waiting with immense anticipation since the last scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End hinted that Jack was destined for future endeavors. And now, it is certain that they will not be disappointed. With the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Walt Disney Studios usher in a new era. A new director, Rob Marshall, is at the helm of the franchise, and he is sure to guide the film on a course to great bounty.
The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides showcases all of the incredible visual development that went into the creation of the film. Concept art, digital renderings, costume sketches, prop schematics, and storyboards are the prized cargo aboard this ship of dreams, and they are accompanied by informative text written by the film’s unit publicist, Michael Singer. For any sailor who wishes to preserve a bit of Pirates lore forevermore, this book is tantamount to a sip from the cup of life.
Foreword by Jerry Bruckheimer
"Yep, we are definitely back on a Pirates of the Caribbean movie," said one veteran of the previous films, as he literally slid into the beach, every inch of him drenched clear through, on that first day of filming On Stranger Tides (June 14, 2010). It was set transportation, POTC style: boarding a Zodiac craft on one side of the island, and then disembarking several yards offshore on the other, before literally being dragged through pounding surf on a floating sled behind a jet ski doing its utmost to evade the wave, but not quite succeeding. Johnny Depp and I were a little drier than most of the crew, as we were dropped off onto the sands of the incredibly beautiful and secluded Honopu Beach— tucked into the magnificent Na Pali Coast of Kauai—by the only other means possible: helicopter. And it was quite a sight to see Johnny, fully attired as the now legendary Captain Jack Sparrow, emerge on that beach, as excited as the rest of us to set sail on another Pirates of the Caribbean epic.
While the more than one hundred subsequent days of filming in Kauai, Oahu, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and England may not have been quite so wild and woolly as the first (although many came close), what's really amazing about shooting the Pirates movies is that it's almost as much of an adventure for the cast and crew as it is for the on-screen characters!
I'm being completely honest when I tell you that we had absolutely no idea what we were starting back in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. To be even more honest, there were certainly enough people around Hollywood who thought we were completely nuts. The pirate-movie genre had been dead in the water for nearly a decade; or more than if you looked back—way back—to the last time that a pirate film had actually been successful. But ours was a pretty twisted venture unto itself.
Not only were we combining elements of the classic pirate adventures with dollops of the supernatural, but director Gore Verbinski and screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio had cooked up a protagonist who was a shamelessly narcissistic scoundrel, not particularly steady on dry land, and not to be trusted by friend or foe—definitely not the stuff which typical heroes are made. By the time Captain Jack Sparrow was brought to life by a certain actor named Johnny Depp, the character had also emerged as a multi-gold-toothed, bead-bearded, bauble-bedecked, dreadlocked knave—much to the wobbly-kneed consternation of some nervous studio executives, who had something, or someone, more conventional in mind.
In such acts of rebelliousness are myths made, and Johnny ultimately imbued Captain Jack with such humor, humanity, derring-do, and occasional signs of bravery—even selflessness—that an icon was born. Johnny and his alter ego, Captain Jack, took their place among the pantheon of movie immortals, with one noted film magazine in the United Kingdom putting Captain Jack right on top of their list of the hundred most popular screen characters of all-time. Gore, Ted, Terry, and Johnny deepened the story's universe in both Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2005) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), amassing a worldwide box office take of $2.6 billion along the way.
The international response to the first three films made it pretty clear that audiences wanted more, and we knew that Johnny was eager to once again step into the role he so loved playing. So in 2009, we began preparing to set sail on a fourth adventure, with Ted and Terry coming up with another great script that deepened the characters who were carried over from the previous films, while inventing new ones and finding a fantastic mythological backdrop on which to play out the story. This time, Captain Jack's adventures begin in London, with his old shipmates/friends/nemeses Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin R. McNally), and take him far across several seas to encounters with zombie pirates, mermaids who definitely are nothing like Ariel, and the fabled Fountain of Youth—not to mention the ferocious Blackbeard (Ian McShane), and, perhaps even more dangerous, a gorgeous female pirate named Angelica (Penélope Cruz) who is every bit Jack's equal in cunning, swordplay, and deception. Captain Jack and company also become entangled in the fortunes of a stalwart young missionary, Philip (Sam Claflin), and the beautiful young mermaid Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey).
Having steered the first three films to such grand success, Gore Verbinski was ready to take on new and different challenges on other projects. We knew that we needed a consummate filmmaker who could bring his own very personal stamp to the Pirates world, and truly make it his own. And at the top of everyone's list, including mine and Johnny's, was Rob Marshall.
Rob began his remarkable career as an actor, dancer, choreographer, and stage director before bursting onto the cinema scene with his Academy Award-winning Best Picture of 2002, Chicago. Because of that history, Rob profoundly understands action and movement, both of which are hugely important to the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Beyond that, Rob has an instinctive feel for both drama and comedy, and an extraordinary relationship with actors. No wonder he's attracted such tremendous performers to his previous films—which include the aforementioned Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Nine. Catherine Zeta-Jones won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Chicago, and Penélope Cruz was nominated for Nine in the same category, but testaments not only to their great talent, but also Rob's skill as a director (and how wonderful that we have Penélope in On Stranger Tides as Angelica).
As evidenced by the fact that all three of those films were stunning to look at, Rob also has a powerful visual sense. He and our three-time Pirates director of photography, Dariusz Wolski, plus Rob's usual production designer, John Myhre, brought a beautiful, painterly quality to On Stranger Tides. There are scenes in the movie that seem to combine the light of seventeenth-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer; the rich, tumultuous canvases of eighteenth-century British painter, printmaker, and editorial cartoonist William Hogarth; and the wonderfully romantic pirate illustrations of Howard Pyle, all to magical effect. And with the Disney Digital 3-D format in which we filmed, all of these images literally leap off the screen, bringing the action, drama, and comedy closer to the audience than ever before.
On set, Rob was intensely focused on the work at hand, disciplined, confident, and gentlemanly. When you have his kind of confidence and preparedness, you never have to raise you voice, and he doesn't. Rob always got what he was looking for, because he's simultaneously in charge and a great collaborator with his producer, actors, behind-the-scenes artists, and technicians. Rob has all the qualities that I look for in a director, and we were very lucky to have him at the helm of On Stranger Tides.
For the film, Rob brought with hi his marvelous team of behind-the-scenes artists, including his invaluable longtime collaborator John DeLuca, production designer John Myhre, U.S. supervising art director Tomas Voth, set decorator Gordon Sim, and hair designer Peter King. They were joined by such Pirates veterans as costume designer Penny Rose, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, makeup department head Joel Harlow, visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson (who won an Academy Award for his work on Dead Man's Chest), and stunt coordinator/second unit director George Marshall Ruge. There were so many newcomers as well, including UK supervising art director Gary Freeman.
These are the artists who truly brought the film to life. As far as film is concerned, art is a group effort and not attributable to one individual. It's as if they all stood in front of a gigantic blank canvas, and applying their own brushstrokes, came up with a coherent work of art. They combined their mighty efforts to create a physical world for the film that, while referencing visual elements familiar to audiences of the first three Pirates movies, created something new, fresh, and exciting.
For example, this is the first Pirates film to feature scenes taking place in urban mid-eighteenth-century London, with brilliant use made of historical locations in and around that great city as well as remarkable sets constructed at Pinewood Studios. Our exotic otherworldly tropical locales were found on the islands of Kauai and Oahu in Hawaii. The film's opening scene and another crucial sequence were actually filmed in the Caribbean, on a tiny island off the coast of Puerto Rico, as well as at a centuries-old fortress in Old San Juan. Another great set was designed and built on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, although audiences will never be able to separate it fro the actual location in Oahu, which it duplicates. And this being a pirate movie, there are our new ships, especially Blackbeard's fearsomely beautiful Queen Anne's Revenge.
This book is designed to give you an idea of our collective shared vision of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, with conceptual illustrations, storyboards, sketches, and photography. But to truly assess how these ideas made their way on to screen, you'll have to see the movie. Everyone worked to the utmost limits of their considerable talents to take you on a journey to another place and another time, with imagination as boundless as the seven seas. Enjoy the voyage!
What follows is a guided tour through the visual world of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides—an epic journey of a film that takes viewers from the streets of London to uncharted islands in the Caribbean, all in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. This odyssey through the film's creation is told primarily in images, and in the words of the film's two-time Academy Award-winning production designer, John Myhre, some of his creative collaborators, and the chief filmmakers themselves, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Rob Marshall. And while it may be true that a picture speaks a thousand words, some words that go along with the pictures further help to explain them!
"In On Stranger Tides," says Jerry Bruckheimer, "we want to give audiences everything that was great about the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but also a whole new world that's been created by Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Dariusz Wolski, John Myhre, Penny Rose, Johnny Depp, and the rest of the cast, and all of the other fantastic creative people working on the film."
Rob Marshall is a real force in contemporary American film whose on-set style has been accurately described as "iron covered in velvet." Marshall was drawn to On Stranger Tides by his deep affection for the first three films in the series, his love of the original Disney attraction, and the prospect of working with Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer. "I always loved the Disneyland ride, and for me the idea of doing an action/adventure film, which I've never done, was incredible. Gore Verbinski did an incredible job on the first three films, so I'm thrilled to become a part of this franchise."
For Myhre, the task to design the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean epic was literally a dream come true. "Pirates of the Caribbean is just my favorite ride at Disneyland. I think I've been on the ride every year since it opened in 1967. I grew up in Seattle, but my family came down once a year to Disneyland. Years ago, when it was first announced that they were starting the first Pirates film, I immediately got on the phone with my agent and said that I wanted to do it," he confesses. "But they had already hired a designer. Then Rick Heinrichs designed the second and third films, and he's just fantastic and the films looked amazing. So it's a real honor coming in and joining Jerry Bruckheimer and his team."
Like his production designer, Marshall was also an enthusiast for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. "It was 1976, I was fifteen years old, and my family went on a big cross-country trip from Pittsburgh, seeing Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, and of course, Disneyland. I was just blown away by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, because I felt like I was in a film. Walt Disney and the Imagineers were so brilliant in their creation of the attraction. If somebody told me then that I'd be directing a film of that ride someday, I'd have told them that they'd lost their mind. It's wonderful to come full circle like this."
Before filming began, Marshall, his creative partner John DeLuca and the production designer Myhre went on the ride, but this time were able to stop and examine details as research for On Stranger Tides. "It was incredible," Marshall recalls. "That's when the twelve-year-old kid in you comes out, and I wanted to retain that feeling throughout working on the film."
Joining Myhre in manifesting ideas, concepts, and dreams into three-dimensional reality, was a huge team of designers, draftsmen, and artists on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the world. It is their work—concept drawings, costume sketches, prop designs, storyboards, and photography—that is contained in this volume. And in a way, this book is their Fountain of Youth, allowing them to live forever so that Pirates fans can appreciate their artistry for many years to come.
- Photographs Jerry Bruckheimer
- The Chase is On
- On the High Seas
- Aqua de Vida
- The "Foreword by Jerry Bruckheimer" had incorrectly written that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was released in 2005, as the film was really released in 2006.