New Zealanders in front and behind the camera of upcoming HBO Max series Our Flag Means Death.
Comedian-actor Rhys Darby, whose many credits include the rebooted Jumanji franchise, the What We Do in the Shadows movie and Flight of the Conchords, has been cast as the lead on the planned period comedy series. Oscar winner Taika Waititi, who Darby has collaborated with various times, is on board as executive producer and is set to direct the pilot episode.
The series is based on the true story of Stede Bonnet, an early eighteenth-century Englishman who was a moderately wealthy land-owner before deciding to become a pirate. He contracted a local shipyard to build him a sixty-ton sailing boat, which he equipped with ten guns and named “Revenge.” He was only a pirate for around a year or so, but made his mark on history, travelling the Eastern Seaboard of what is now the United States and capturing other vessels and burning Barbadian ships. He even had a period working with one Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
Our Flag Means Death‘s creator, showrunner and executive producer is David Jenkins, who was previously behind sci-fi comedy series People of Earth, a show that received strong acclaim but not a large viewership (it was cancelled after two seasons). Emmy nominated producer Garrett Basch (The Night Of, What We Do in the Shadows) and Dan Halsted are also exec producing.
“A series concept like this jumps off the page and you can instantly envision every moment,” HBO MAX head of original content Sarah Aubrey said in September. “David and Taika’s unique take on Bonnet’s rollicking misadventures on the high seas, are sure to thrill and delight audiences everywhere.”
Darby has a role in Waititi’s next feature, a Michael Fassbender-starring soccer film titled Next Goal Wins.