The Real Pirates of The Bahamas
Following in the wake of Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean movies, two new American television dramas have been produced based on the period when the Bahamas was a pirate republic.
Black Sails launched on Starz earlier this year. It is written as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel,Treasure Island, and features both fictional and real-life pirates. The series is filmed in South Africa and includes some nudity as well as cheesy computer-generated pirate ships.
Filmed in Puerto Rico, Crossbones is described as “a fact-based drama that focuses on one of the world’s most notorious real-life pirates”. This is none other than Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, who is played by John Malkovich.
This series airs on NBC next month and was inspired by the 2007 book, Republic of Pirates, by American journalist Colin Woodard. According to the producers, “This is a story about a man who wants to create a new world, which required us as filmmakers to at least approximate the new world. We basically built a town in Puerto Rico.”
Both Crossbones and Black Sails are set in and around the island of New Providence – which was pirate HQ in the early 1700s. So it is disappointing that neither were filmed in the Bahamas.
Many will recall that two of Johnnie Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies – which have earned hundreds of millions worldwide – were filmed here in the mid-2000s – on Grand Bahama to be exact, at Gold Rock Studios, which took over the former US missile tracking base near High Rock.
Back then, Prime Minister Perry Christie predicted the birth of a new film production industry here in glowing terms. But today, all that remains is some rusting junk along the Grand Bahama shoreline. The most recent Pirates of the Caribbean entry was filmed in Hawaii.
The reason for that, according to Bahamas Film Commissioner Craig Woods, is cost.caribbean, educational, entertainment, film commission, financial, history, pirates