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Stranger Tides in Cornwall? Pirates of the Caribbean May Be Sailing to England’s Western Coast

Yeah, we were pretty sick of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise by the time it got around to launching its third installment in 2007. There’s only so many times you can hear Kira Knightly yell “fire!” Well, in order to lure us back into the swords-and-ships formula that made Disney a mountain of doubloons, Rob Marshall (who has replaced Gore Verbinski and company have appended all kinds of enticements to the fourth movie in the series, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”—an appearance by Ian McShane as Blackbeard, Oscar-winner Penélope Cruz as a female foil to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, and a script developed from a popular fantasy novel instead of whatever random number generator Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio used to plot “At World’s End”. That’s all well and good for most movie fans, but one potential addition, the rumored use of Cornwall as a location, has some local tourism board members lightly salivating over the possibilities.

While most of “On Stranger Tides”, the 1987 novel by Tim Powers, is set in the New World, gossip out of Disney has it that some shooting will take place near Cornwall, the westernmost part of mainland England and the departure point for many a pirate mission. Indeed, all those “arrghs” and “yarrs” that we associate with the pirate patois come from the old Cornish accent that still lives on in the smaller towns of England’s poorest county. More than just the traditional home of English piracy though, Cornwall is flush with rugged, beautiful coastal vistas, Medieval ruins aplenty, and enough ancient port villages to satisfy any location scout. Currently in the process of pulling itself out of a long economic stagnation due to lost manufacturing, shipping, and hospitality jobs, Cornwall and St. Ives (the region’s top tourist destination) could certainly use the same kind of bump that Wulingyan National Park got from “Avatar”. As an article in yesterday’s Guardian noted, the area has already served as a backdrop for a host of memorable films—“Straw Dogs”, “Die Another Day”, and others. We’d add the later sequences in “28 Days Later”, Frank Langella’s turn as “Dracula” in 1979, and Tim Burton’s soon-to-be-released “Alice in Wonderland” as well. Hopefully, the next time we work up a new edition of “Film + Travel: Europe”, we’ll be running down which Cornish bed-and-breakfast spots are best for noting where Captain Jack Sparrow was filmed riding two sea turtles lashed together.
“Can Johnny Depp Boost Tourism in St Ives?” (Guardian UK)
For more obsessive reporting about movies and locations, pick up a copy of our “Film + Travel” series.
Top—St. Ives, Cornwall, via Wikipedia
Bottom (clockwise from upper left): Port Isaac, Cornwall, courtesy of www.onlinetravelblog.co.uk, Praa Sands Beach, Helston, Cornwall, courtesy of www.cornwallonlineholidays.co.uk, a Medieval ruin in West Cornall, courtesy of Laredo Community College, The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall, courtesy of DHD Multimedia Gallery

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