The wildly successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise may have brought pirate lore back into the mainstream, but it was hardly a story rooted in historical fact. So that said, are the kids who came for Johnny Depp and fantastical creatures really interested in true-life debauchery on the high seas?
Producer Barry Josephson ("Men In Black," "Enchanted") is banking on exactly that, hoping his upcoming “Blackbeard” does for pirate pictures what “Gladiator” did for sword and sandal epics: namely, bring it out of caricature and parody and back into being a serious genre. It certainly won't hurt having David Franzoni, the screenwriter behind "Gladiator" and "Amistad," penning his script as well.
“Blackbeard’s an incredible character," Josephson told MTV News. "A former naval captain who rejected the English and became a privateer, and who then becomes a pirate because he doesn’t want to be lorded over by anyone.”
Ironically, perhaps, it’s actually hard to find an historical figure more romantized than Blackbeard the Pirate (real name Edward Teach) – George Washington, maybe? – a ruthless, vicious killer who’s become sort of the epitome of pirate life. That actually makes him something of a perfect fit for this kind of treatment, though, Josephson pointed out – as does his tumultuous and adventurous final years at sea, where he was ultimately captured, killed, and beheaded by Royal Navy Lt. Robert Maynard.
“The first act is really about the evolution of this character and how he became Blackbeard," Josephson revealed. "The second act is about how he sort of defeats the English so handedly. And the third act is about the rise of Maynard being the one who was smart enough, gifted enough, got to know him well enough to be the one person that was able to do what he did.”
According to Josephson, no actors have been approached, though he admits to having “a lot of ideas for Maynard and Blackbeard and the other characters," such as Black Ceasar, a slave-turned-pirate.
“So we have lots of thoughts about who we want,” he said. “And when we get the script we will go out and try to get the best people.”
Josephson gives credit to the modern franchise that set up the genre, but is quick to point out that "Blackbeard" will set its own mold. “Where ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was a brilliant franchise, it was based on something quite different [than this]," Josephson said. "This is based on historical fact. And what’s fabulous is you learn so much about pirates in this movie."
Excited about a “Batman Begins” approach to the pirate genre? Does the idea of a real Blackbeard excite you? And who would you like to see play the iconic pirate? Sound off below!