Last month Johnny Depp appeared in full Jack Sparrow costume at the D23 Expo and announced the title of the next Pirates movie would be Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A quick Google search lead to a book of the same name written by author Tim Powers in 1987. Had Disney bought the rights, or was it a strange coincidence that both involved pirates? Well the L.A Times recently sat down with Powers himself, and it turns out he sold the rights 3 years ago, and he’s pretty happy about it.
“I was still — as far as I understood — not free to talk about it,” the author told me Monday. “Then about a week ago my agent wrote and said, ‘You’re now able to say that in fact Disney did option the book.’ That happened a while ago, it’ll be three years in April.”
The novelist, with a dozen books to his credit, is still a bit dazed by the fact that a book he published during the Reagan administration will setting sail in May 2011 as new edition of a Disney franchise that has racked up $1.78 billion in worldwide box office since hoisting its flag in 2003. “Yes, I’m thrilled,” Power said, “I think it’s great.”
“I’ve watched all the movies several times, of course, and I think the clear thing they would use is the trip to the Fountain of Youth,” Powers said. “My main character doesn’t overlap with Jack Sparrow at all [in personality or circumstance]; they’re totally different characters. I suppose they might overlap the Geoffrey Rush character Barbossa and Blackbeard. The only thing I feel certain they will hold on to is the Fountain of Youth since they telegraphed that at the end of the last movie.” Either way, Powers said he is not going to walk into the theater with too many expectations other than hoping to have a good time as a moviegoer.
All too often authors sign the rights away for the money and don’t want anything more to do with it, so it’s good to see an author actually excited about his work being adapted. If elements of your Pirate novel are going to be used in a movie, it might as well be part of the biggest pirates franchise out there.