I have dragons. I’m happy with the dragons. Dragons are coming out the pop culture wazoo right now, and I love it. But I don’t have any pirates. Rather, the pirates I do have are stupid, and I want better ones. (Exception: Gideon Defoe’s The Pirates! series, and adaptations thereof.) All I have by way of pirates right now are Disney’s Caribbean set—which have not only run their franchise into the ground, but I re-watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean on Netflix the other day and it is NOT aging well), that garbage pirate show http://grantland.com/features/scurvy-dog/ on Starz, and an equally sh*tty looking show coming to NBC. It’s not that they’re not trying. They’re trying with the pirates. It’s just that no one is getting it right.
While it’s not exactly the historical biopic of a pirate captain that I so desire, Joe Wright, director of lavish and stylish historical dramas like Atonement, Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina, is tackling a live-action Peter Pan adaptation next, called simply Pan (for now). Warner Brothers has stepped up pre-production on Pan as they have moved it to fill the summer 2015 vacancy recently left by Batman vs. Superman,and they have their first piece of casting news: Garrett Hedlund will play Captain Hook.
I am intrigued. Hedlund isn’t an obvious villain type, but he is a good actor with considerable swagger. And the setup for the story is that this is Pan and Hook before they’re PAN and HOOK, back when they were friends (because of course, it must always be friends falling out, right?) and working together on Blackbeard’s pirate ship. (Rumor has it they’ve approached Hugh Jackman about playing Blackbeard.) So it’s a Peter Pan adventure in which Pan is not a wee child and he and Hook are bros on a pirate ship, as directed by a guy who has an extraordinary eye for historical detail and beautiful lighting. At this point, I’m definitely more into this than Batman vs. Superman.
Fantasy pirates are all well and good. I would be happy some cool fantasy pirates. But, like…can I please have an historical pirate, too? Just one? I’m telling you, studio execs desperate for script ideas, Bartholomew Roberts’ story writes itself.
Attached – Hedlund at AFI Fest a couple of weeks ago.