Oscar winner Taika Waititi is set to play Blackbeard, history’s most feared and revered pirate, in HBO Max‘s original series Our Flag Means Death, Collider has learned.
The series is loosely based on the true adventures of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), a pampered aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege to become a pirate.
Waititi will direct the pilot as well as executive produce Our Flag Means Death alongside creator/showrunner David Jenkins, plus Garrett Basch and Dan Halsted.
“Our Blackbeard is a legend, a lover, a fighter, a tactical genius, a poetic soul, and quite possibly insane. Only one man could play this role, and that is the great Taika Waititi. We’re thrilled beyond measure he’s decided to don the beard,” Jenkins said in a statement.
Waititi won an Oscar for writing Jojo Rabbit and earned a prior nomination for his short film Two Cars, One Night. He directed the acclaimed indies What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople before being drafted by Marvel to direct Thor: Ragnarok. Waititi most recently directed Searchlight‘s upcoming sports movie Next Goal Wins, and he’s currently filming Marvel‘s Thor: Love and Thunder, which will feature Christian Bale as the villain opposite Chris Hemsworth.
Additionally, Waititi directed the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian, in which he also voices IG-11, and he serves as an executive producer on FX‘s series adaptation of What We Do in the Shadows, having also directed several episodes of the show. Finally, Waititi co-created and will executive produce the upcoming FX comedy series Reservation Dogs, and as an actor, he’ll next be seen opposite Ryan Reynolds in the action-comedy Free Guy. He also voices the adorable bunny-eared lead in Save Ralph, a stop-motion animated documentary-style short film written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa in partnership with Humane Society International.