February 3, 2011

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is sitting at a huge dining room table in a equally huge room.  The table is in the center, and there is tons of space on every side.  The walls are opulent.  Guards are in the back of the room. Sitting across from Sparrow is King George II (Richard Griffiths) and nearby is Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) – who is now a privateer.   Even though Jack Sparrow has been captured, you can’t help but think this is exactly where he wants to be as he’s heard the King has the map to the Fountain of Youth.  After some back and forth discussions, Sparrow is going to end up with the map, and his escape plan will be put into action.

Let me back up a second.

A few months ago, I got to visit the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides while the production was filming at Pinewood Studios outside London.  While on set I got to see the many stages that were built for the movie, interview most of the cast, and speak with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and screenwriter Terry Rossio.  As a big fan of the Pirates movies, I have to say it was incredibly cool to see the huge production up close.  Also, while I was unsure if a 4th film was necessary as I was let down by the 3rd, everything I learned on set tells me that the filmmakers understood the problems of the 2nd and 3rd films and this new chapter will capture the magic of the first.  I left London excited by what I saw and I’m truly looking forward to May 20, which is the release date of On Stranger Tides.  For more on the set visit (which includes an epic two part video blog), hit the jump:

Before going any further, if you haven’t seen the great trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I’d watch that first.  As most of you already know, the film stars Depp, Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin R. McNally, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, and Sam Claffin.

As most of you know, I almost always end up on a set visit with Peter from /Film.  Since our video blogs have proven to be popular with our readers, we recorded an epic two part video blog about our two day set visit on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Now here’s the best part.

Unlike our previous video blogs which might have been a bit static, we shot footage on the streets of London, in the bus going to set, pulling up to Pinewood Studios, and, of course, at the hotel.  What I’ve done is edited it into a few different parts, and I’ve also thrown in some footage from the trailer and some music to spice it up.  While not exactly professional, it’s our most technologically advanced video blog yet.  We hope to do more like this in the future.

Of course I realize not everyone has an hour to watch two nerds geek out about spending the day on a movie set.  So here’s the audio for part one and part two.  This way you can download them and listen on your drive to work or when you have the time.

If you’re curious about the stages that were build for the 4th Pirates movie, how the movie is structured, and some of the action sequences, it’s all in part one.  Part two is a recap of all the on set interviews we took part in, what we saw being filmed, the costume department, the 3D cameras, and an overall recap of our thoughts after two days on set.  As usual, I’ve time indexed both parts so you can watch what interests you.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Set Visit Video Blog Part 1

  • 0:31 – Part 1: Intro
  • 1:25 – Peter and Steve’s thoughts on the previous Pirates films
  • 1:55 – On Stranger Tides talk. Differences between this film and the previous Pirates films. Talk about the lack of Orlando Bloom/Keira Knightley, and why this may not be a bad thing. Who may be taking their places in this film.
  • 3:10 – Steve and Peter talk about their intention with this video blog. Want to bring readers along for the adventure, giving a more experiential video blog this time.
  • 4:00 – Part 2: The Drive to Pinewood Studios. Talk about Pinewood Studios, which is actually located an hour outside London. James Bond, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Sweeny Todd have been filmed there.
  • 5:23 – Part 3: Arrival at Pinewood Studios.
  • 5:36 – Part 4: Day One Recap, the Sets and Stages of Pirates 4. Talk about seeing lots of James Bond-related stuff at Pinewood.
  • 7:20 – Thoughts on this movie based on what they saw/heard. Say it looks like they’re trying to rein this movie back in to be more like what the first Pirates was.
  • 8:07 – The movie is basically broken up into three parts: the first third takes place in London, the second third takes place on the open sea, and the last third of the movie takes place in a jungle which was referred to as the “Indiana Jones” part of the film. The second part of the film is a lot like the first film. They’re filming the movie in 3D, talked about how they’re the first production to go into the jungle with 3D cameras. Built underwater enclosures for 3D cameras, lots of work going into the camerawork.
  • 10:15 – Talk about how the movie starts (in 1750 London) and what the opening scene involves. Jack Sparrow is included. Talk about how they recreated a London street from the 18th century, and how detailed it looked. Big chase sequence is involved.
  • 12:25 – Talk about the sets, specifically a pub set that was built. Say they build sets instead of using locations is because they are able to take walls away to make room for the camera so they can shoot from every angle.
  • 13:40 – What references to the Pirates ride are included in this film. Give one specific example.
  • 14:31 – Continue describing the opening sequence from the film. Big action set-piece.
  • 17:11 – Tell a story that the production designer told them about working with Timur Bekmambetov on the film Wanted. Says Timur taught him to use small-scale foam models of each scene to map out exactly how the scene would be shot.
  • 19:41 – Talk about seeing a Spanish Corridor set.
  • 20:21 – Blackbeard talk. He was pitched to Steve and Peter as the first really scary evil pirate in the Pirates series. Saw part of Blackbeard’s ship which included a red-blood sail, bones, etc.
  • 22:05 – Saw a treasure chest in Blackbeard’s cabin, which apparently plays a major part in the film.
  • 25:00 – Quick wrap up/closing thoughts on the day
  • 25:40 – Ponce de Leon stage. Talk about seeing Ponce de Leon’s ship/cabin, stuck in the jungle. Geoffrey Rush describes the scene as a “Chaplin movie”.
  • 27:00 – Talk about seeing the “underwater stage” which was unlike anything Steve or Peter have ever seen. It’s a giant indoor tank, which is a soundstage for filming underwater.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Set Visit Video Blog Part 2

  • 0:56 – Talking about interview with actor Sam Claflin and his character.
  • 4:23 – Comparing On Stranger Tides to the previous sequels.
  • 6:32 – Talking about actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey, her character, and her set piece.
  • 9:33 – Hanging out with Berges-Frisbey.
  • 10:58 – Talking about interview with screenwriter Terry Rossio.
  • 13:42 – How On Stranger Tides relates to future Pirates movies.
  • 15:44 – Talking about the interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
  • 18:04 – Watching the scene between Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and King George II (Richard Griffiths).
  • 21:10 – Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) in the scene and his role in the movie.
  • 22:16 – Talking about the 3D and the cameras used.
  • 23:55 – A visit to the costume department.
  • 25:23 – Steve talks about sneaking off to see some familiar faces to the series while he was in the costume department as well as speculating on the unspecified role of a respected actress who’s in the film.
    29:00 Our final thoughts on the film after being on set for two days

For more Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides set visit coverage:

Johnny Depp On Set Interview

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer On Set Interview

Screenwriter Terry Rossio On Set Interview

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