Exclusive Interview: Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg on Kon-Tiki and Pirates 5


CraveOnline: Are you happy with the way the film looks on Blu-ray?

Espen Sandberg: Yes.

Joachim Ronning: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s so clear and we shot it digital as well. We shot it on the Arri Alexa cameras and we didn’t grain it up or anything. It really is a full HD movie and with an amazing color pallet on the Blu-ray, so we love it.

So you’re entering this Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. How much of your own stuff can you do in Pirates 5?

Espen Sandberg: A lot actually. They really want our input on how we’re going to make everything. Of course we love the universe and we’ll stay true to the franchise, but we’ll also make some changes and we definitely feel that we can give it our signature.

What was your meeting with Jerry Bruckheimer like?

Joachim Ronning: Well, now we’re meeting him twice a week so the magic is kind of gone. [Laughs] No, he’s a hero for us. Growing up, he made so many of our favorite films when we were kids and still does. For us it’s like working with one of our heroes and he’s a true icon for us. So we’re very happy to be here and in the position that we are now.

Did you meet with Johnny Depp to get the job too?

Joachim Ronning: Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. I mean, getting a gig like Pirates takes a long time. You’re meeting with so many people over and over again and you just have to say the right things in the meetings. [Laughs] And be nice.

Those have all been long, epic films too, over two hours and almost three in one case. Do you see yours as another epic Pirates?

Joachim Ronning: Oh yeah, we see it as an epic Pirate movie but maybe not in minutes.

Had you been looking for a Hollywood movie for a while?

Espen Sandberg: Yes, when we started making movies together, a long time ago, we started making movies when we were about 10 years old, we always watched Hollywood movies and we always loved the epic adventure movies. So getting Pirates is really a lifelong dream come true.

I actually saw your first movie Bandidas. Your first gig was a Luc Besson produced western with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. What were your expectations for beginning your career, and was it a shock when things happened with that movie?

Joachim Ronning: I think that again, we had the opportunity to work with Luc Besson basically. Again, him being one of our biggest idols coming out of Europe and the movies he made when we grew up. That film was the best film school that we could ever have. It was an expensive film school but nevertheless, it was just an amazing experience and we were happy in Mexico shooting with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz and lots of other great actors. We learned a lot. If it hadn’t been for that film, we wouldn’t have made our first European film, Max Manus, which was a World War II movie, and if we hadn’t made that movie we wouldn’t have made Kon-Tiki and if we hadn’t made Kon-Tiki we wouldn’t be here making Pirates. It all makes sense for us in a way.

I still don’t understand how a movie with Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek couldn’t get a somewhat bigger release.

Joachim Ronning: We’re not the right people to ask that question. [Laughs]

How did the two of you hook up as filmmakers?

Espen Sandberg: We met when we were kids. We went to the same school and Joachim’s father bought a video camera that we were not allowed to touch because it was very expensive back in the day, but we borrowed it anyway. We watched all the Indiana Jones movies and Star Wars and just started copying them and making our own short films. We’ve just never stopped playing.

How far along in prep are you right now?

Joachim Ronning: We’re shooting in February so we’ve been on the gig for almost three months already. So we’re here. 

Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Shelf Space Weekly. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.