Rhys Darby’s career for the past few years is heavy on voice acting and great little bit parts in other people’s movies. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and its sequel, plus Guns Akimbo to name but a few. Now he gets to be the leading man in HBO Max’s new series, Our Flag Means Death. It’s based on the true story of Stede Bonnet, called “The Gentleman Pirate” because he was a wealthy landowner from Barbados who gave up his life of comfort in 1717, allegedly to escape his wife. He turned to piracy despite his lack of experience and survived only 18 months before he was hanged in Charles Town (now Charleston, SC). His brief career serves as the comedic inspiration for Our Flag Means Death, produced by Taika Waititi (appearing as Blackbeard) and written by David Jenkins (People of Earth).
Our Flag Means Death also stars Dominic Burgess, Ewen Bremner, and Leslie Jones. I can already hear the MRAs gearing up to write angry, inaccurate diatribes about how there weren’t any Black women on pirate ships. It looks like a lot of fun, and far as we know contains absolutely no sapient, sleazy scarves. Apart from the occasional Peter Pan adaptation and whatever Pirates of the Carribean movie they’re up to now pirates have gotten very little exposure of late, and that’s a shame. Pirate crews were some of the most egalitarian groups of their time, with injured crewmen reimbursed for their injuries and many of them receiving equal shares of booty. Not always, of course. But sailors were significantly better off among pirate crews than merchant ships or the Navy, at least until they were hanged for their crimes. I suppose every profession has its pros and cons.
Our Flag Means Death premieres this March, only on HBO Max.