Director Peter Lord dishes on 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits'
These days, the model of a pirate is based on Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. But in theaters Friday, there'll be a new swashbuckler giving him a run for his money.
In "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," the new stop-frame animated feature from Aardman (makers of "Chicken Run"), the dashing Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) leads his odd crew on a globe-trotting adventure, hoping to win the Pirate of the Year award. The film is based on Gideon Defoe's absurdist "Pirates!" novels.
amNY spoke with "Pirates!" director Peter Lord.
Did the shadow of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise loom large while making this film? I didn't think about it. I saw the first two and I enjoyed the first one very much. But thereafter, I didn't about it, and I certainly didn't refer to it at all. It's almost as if there's a foundation of people's expectations about what piracy is. "Pirates of the Caribbean" shot off from that foundation in one direction and we just shot off in a completely other direction.
What was the biggest hurdle in making "Pirates!"? Scale is the single word that defines our difficulties. A bigger world ... with lots of people in it - that's difficult in stop-frame animation. That was a big challenge, but one I was very happy to embrace. Things in the story demanded that it take place in a busy world. Surely we all have an idea of what a pirates' tavern is like. It's full of pirates. My team built more puppets than ever before.
How did you arrive at Hugh Grant for the Pirate Captain? I always knew this wasn't going to be great, roaring, rollicking, "aaarrrhhh"-saying pirate. That was never the gag. What I wanted was ... an English star, leading man - maybe you can think of a few. But now funny? Suddenly there aren't many candidates left. And Hugh was the funniest. He's been in a lot of rom-coms, but I was interested in the com and not the rom.
Defoe has written more "Pirates!" books. Will there be a sequel? I would love to. There's so much more one could do with that ... lovely, charming group of buffoons.
What do you do with all the puppets and the sets? They're temporarily in storage. It's a scary thing. Most of the models are beautiful. The pirate ship is a glorious object. Then they're put in store, and they kind of look like a bit of junk. So I would really like to get the best bits into an exhibition. That's my plan.
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