You may be aware that Disney & Co. is working on a fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I remember my friend taking me to see the first movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, for my birthday. Considering the quality of the recent movies adapted from Disney World rides/shows (Haunted Mansion, Country Bears), it could have been pretty bad (though since we were both Orlando Bloom fans I guess we weren't very concerned about that). But it turned out being a delightful surprise, funny and entertaining, and Johnny Depp's performance as Captain Jack Sparrow was classic (and Oscar nominated). The two sequels were disappointments, but they still made a ton of money, and Disney wanted more. The fourth movie will not have Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley, though Depp will be returning. Really, what is Pirates without Captain Jack Sparrow?
As it turns out, Pirates 4: On Stranger Tides is currently filming on O'ahu, where I live. Apparently they will be filming sections of the movie on both O'ahu and Kaua'i; Maui and Moloka'i were used for small parts of Pirates 3. The islands have been chosen for their range of beautiful land and seascapes, and of course for the tax incentives. The state estimates that the movie could bring in $85 million to Hawaii, which is sorely needed as the largely tourism-based economy has been hurting in the global economic crisis.
Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz arrived on the island for filming about a week ago. While they are pretty hard to spot, there are some players in the movie that are much more difficult to hide: the pirate ships. One of the pirate ships for the movie is currently docked in Kaneohe Bay, and the Housemate and I went out to see it on Saturday morning.
The end of the dock is blocked off, so the public can only get so close to the ship. If I had a boat I could get closer (harder for them to block off the water), but it wasn't a bad view. From what I can gather, this ship has been used as the Black Pearl, but in its current state it is "playing" Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard's ship (Blackbeard will be played by Ian McShane). I guess ships as well as people can put on different outfits and play different characters.
Queen Anne's Revenge, from the dock. Click for a larger view.
The big white cube in the middle may be a light that they use when they shoot at night.
Blown up detail shots:
The skeleton figurehead
Total grainy zoom paparazzi shot.
The cage of skeletons hanging off the stern
View from the beach
Me and the ship!
Bonus geek points if you can identify the shirt.
The pirate ship wasn't the only thing to see on the trip. This is a different view from the dock.
The mountains were pretty cloudy and rainy. Here's a photo I snapped from the car on the way back.
And another photo taken out the car window
I don't know whether the fourth Pirates movie will restore the franchise to its former glory or send it down to Davy Jones' locker. Hopefully the new blood (new cast members and new director) will make it fresh again. Either way, I'll probably see it, and I'll be keeping an eye out for any familiar sights.