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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

omg: dude finds script for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4,’ turns it in without reading it

I don’t know if I’d have had as much fortitude. Via W.E.N.N.:

The plot of the fourth installment of the ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ franchise nearly became public knowledge this week after a copy of the film’s script was found in a London cafe.

Johnny Depp began shooting Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, his latest big-screen outing as Captain Jack Sparrow, in Hawaii earlier this month (Jun10).

But the secrecy surrounding the film’s storyline was nearly blown when movie workers accidentally left a copy of the screenplay behind after a breakfast meeting in the British capital – sending Disney studio executives into a panic.

However, an embarrassing leak was prevented after a film fan found the 194-page document and handed it in to editors at Britain’s The Sun newspaper.

And the unnamed good Samaritan refused to take a sneak peak at the script, telling the publication, “I’m a big fan of the films, but I managed to resist the urge to have a read. I want to enjoy the movie when it comes out.”

Kudos to the good-samaritan fan, I guess. Here’s the question, though: How do you reconcile being a person entrusted with such magnificent trust — knowing in advance the plot of a major Hollywood studio’s summer tentpole flick — and then also being the idiot who leaves a script lying around in a cafe? How do you do that?

A spoiler-free synopsis of On Stranger Tides, from Disney via Den of Geek:

In this action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise, Captain Jack Sparrow crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he’s not sure if it’s love – or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past. Geoffry Rush reprises his role as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa, and Kevin R. McNally returns as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs. Sam Claflin stars as a stalwart missionary, while Astrid Berges-Frisbey is transformed into a mysterious mermaid.

I want to be excited about this, but then I keep remembering that Rob Marshall is directing it, and he’s a hack. Also: It’s in 3D. Just because.

(Oh, and if you’ve heard that this was adapted by the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.], well, it appears that it bears only the slimmest passing resemblance. If this was important to you: sorry.)



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  • Nate

    Well, he did direct Chicago. You liked that, didn’t you?

  • Rykker

    How do you reconcile being a person entrusted with such magnificent trust — knowing in advance the plot of a major Hollywood studio’s summer tentpole flick — and then also being the idiot who leaves a script lying around in a cafe? How do you do that?

    I am baffled by this, just as I was with the iPhone prototype incident.
    I just can’t imagine how these people can be so freakin’ careless with the sensitive materials entrusted to them.

  • MaryAnn

    Well, he did direct Chicago. You liked that, didn’t you?

    Yeah, but that was clearly the exception.

  • (Oh, and if you’ve heard that this was adapted by the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.], well, it appears that it bears only the slimmest passing resemblance. If this was important to you: sorry.)

    I think the novel had some interesting ideas (some of which were similar to elements in the first Pirates movie) but it wasn’t particularly well-written, and wouldn’t have worked as a straight-up Jack Sparrow story; there’s definitely room for improvement.

    Yeah, but that was clearly the exception.

    Here’s hoping this will be another. :-)

  • CB

    I don’t know if I’d have had as much fortitude.

    Ha! Lack of fortitude is exactly why I wouldn’t have read it!

    It was left in a cafe, implying it’s likely that I’ve just eaten, and I wouldn’t want to read the script and risk losing my lunch.

    Did anyone detect air quotes when this Good Samaritan said that he wanted to “enjoy” the movie when it came out?

    Here’s the question, though: How do you reconcile being a person entrusted with such magnificent trust — knowing in advance the plot of a major Hollywood studio’s summer tentpole flick — and then also being the idiot who leaves a script lying around in a cafe? How do you do that?

    That’s the question? How are idiots given responsibility? In Hollywood of all places? I’d be more interested in how you figure you could fill all the positions of responsibility solely from the non-idiots. They’d be overworked to death!

  • DaveTM

    I’m stunned and frankly doubtfull. Who here wouldn’t look at the script. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself. I wouldn’t scan it and post it anywhere but I’d quietly and quickly read it and the next day turn it back in and if they asked I’d probably say the same thing this guy did.

  • Mark

    I just can’t imagine how these people can be so freakin’ careless with the sensitive materials entrusted to them.

    How are idiots given responsibility?

    People are human, folks. They make mistakes. They carry around secret movie scripts for months on end, and then at one of a hundred meetings in a restaurant one of them brainfarts and leaves the script behind. It happens. It doesn’t make them “freakin’ careless”, necessarily — you don’t know how careful they were all the other times they didn’t leave their scripts behind. It doesn’t make them idiots, either.

    Also, maybe some perspective is in order. These aren’t sensitive materials like, I don’t know, nuclear weapons. It’s a movie script, not top-secret military plans. And maybe the person who goofed that one time was hired because they’re really really good at some part of the movie making process that has to do with actually making the movie, and maybe it’s okay if they aren’t so hot at meticulously keeping secrets.

    At least the mensch who found the movie script was honest, unlike the weasel who stole the lost iPhone.

  • Abhi

    I don’t think it takes too much fortitude to avoid reading that script given what incomprehensible garbage the previous two movies were.

  • given what incomprehensible garbage the previous two movies were

    I object! Not incomprehensible–just dense, and you had to pay attention.

  • History of Bubbles

    I parsed the headline as “dude finds script for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 4,’ burns it without reading it,” and was ready to applaud him as a hero.

  • CB

    I object! Not incomprehensible–just dense, and you had to pay attention.

    Dense is right. You could figure out what was going on by paying close attention, but there was no pay off for doing so. It was still stupid.

  • bronxbee

    i can only imagine that the guy who found this wasn’t a “reader”. there is no piece of printed material that falls into my hands that i don’t automatically try to read it. even if it’s in a foreign language, i try to parse out what i can. i would have returned that script, absolutely, but probably with notes and corrections and suggestions.

  • there was no pay off for doing so.

    *shrug* Depends what you cared about and what you were looking for, I guess.

    I suspect that people who thought the films would mainly be about Jack Sparrow (the obvious choice) were more disappointed or confused; it was other characters (primarily Elizabeth) who had significant and interesting trilogy-long arcs. And the films touched on lots of other ideas–about freedom and corporations and the shrinking of the world (“the blank edges of the map filled in”). I read an interview where the screenwriters said the two sequels were, at heart, an exploration of existentialism (!), of the idea that Jack expressed in the first film: “The only rules that really matter are these: What a man can do and what a man can’t do.” Pretentious, maybe, but I applaud the writers for daring to pack actual, meaty ideas into a summer movie, and for not treating the audience like idiots who need to be hit over the head with themes and plot points. (Not saying that everyone who disliked the films is an idiot.)

    Anyway, I agree with MAJ’s enthusiastic reviews of the films.

  • Abhi

    Oh I paid attention. Watching movies is an obsession for me. Not to mention tied in with my work. I always pay attention to movies I watch. The Pirates sequels were absolutely terribly written. They’re not dense. The Wire is dense. The Pirates sequels are overplotted. Throw everything at the screen hoping something, anything will stick. Painfully bad and clear examples of studio cashing in on a successful first film.

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