EXCLUSIVE: As Deadline Hollywood predicted last month, the Kon-Tiki directing team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have landed the job directing Pirates Of The Caribbean 5. Disney, Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have all signed off on the choice, and negotiations are underway on a deal that will make quickly. The duo will come aboard to prep the massive movie for a late year or early January start.
The studio is getting the script ship-shape, and they are bullish after getting a rewrite from Jeff Nathanson. This is an enormous coup for the Norwegian directing team who just fell out of the Legendary Pictures film Spectral. I’d written recently about Disney’s short list, and the fact these guys were atop it. Fredrik Bond, who helmed The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman, was also on the list as was Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders.This is a game-changing job for a director or directing team, and it’s a case of these guys getting hot at exactly the right time. All of the momentum for Rønning and Sandberg came from their remarkable Best Foreign Language Oscar-nominated film Kon-Tiki, a dramatization of Thor Heyerdal’s epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947, in an effort prove it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. They made a lot of movie with a little money and showed they knew how to shoot on the water. As for Disney, the studio made an unexpected choice for the last film, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, with Rob Marshall, and that grossed over $1 billion. The directors are repped by UTA, which also reps Depp and Jeff Nathanson, so this is a pretty big piece of business for that agency. They are managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.