The upcoming HBO Max period comedy Our Flag Means Death from Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Reservation Dogs) has just attached Rhys Darby (Voltron: Legendary Defender, Wrecked) as its series lead, according to Deadline. Darby will reportedly portray a real historical figure, that being eighteenth-century pirate captain Stede Bonnet, Deadline reports.
Our Flag Means Death is inspired by Bonnet’s actual origin story: “Bonnet, a pampered aristocrat, abandon[s] his life of privilege to become a pirate,” via The Hollywood Reporter. The show originated in the mind of playwright David Jenkins, whose only previous TV creation is the TBS sci-fi comedy series People of Earth. His team of executive producers includes Dan Halsted (Learning To Drive, Crips and Bloods: Made in America), Emmy nominee Garrett Basch (Devs, The Night Of) and Waititi, who is also slated to direct the pilot, as reported by Deadline.
As fellow Kiwis, Waititi and Darby have collaborated on several projects, beginning with a handful of episodes of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, which gave Darby his breakout TV role as incompetent band manager Murray Hewitt. A few years later, Waititi cast Darby in his vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows as the diplomatic werewolf leader Anton. On their next film project together, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Waititi happily exaggerated aspects of Darby’s real-world persona when to came time to write his character, the hermetic bushman and conspiracy theorist Psycho Sam. “I think Rhys is playing himself in thirty years. He is a conspiracy theorist. He’s into that stuff! He believes in UFOs… He believes in the yeti! So that was a very personal role for him, I believe,” Waititi explained, via The Verge.
Darby’s belief in extraterrestrial life is actually something he has in common with Our Flag Means Death creator Jenkins. Both men have been interviewed for the paranormal investigation podcast Somewhere in the Skies about their personal inquiries surrounding the possibility of the existence of life beyond Earth. Jenkins’s research into the alien abduction phenomenon dovetailed into People of Earth and his knowledge on the subject of UFOs is quite exhaustive. You can listen to his 2017 interview below:
Darby, meanwhile, is so passionate about the topic of extraterrestrials that he launched his own podcast on the subject in the first half of 2020 titled Aliens Like Us. In his interview on Somewhere in the Skies, Darby discusses memorable moments from Aliens Like Us and his guest appearance as shape-shifter Guy Mann in the tenth season of The X-Files. His September 2020 interview can be heard in its entirety below:
Darby’s UFO investigation podcast Aliens Like Us is exclusively accessible through Spotify.
Image credit: Raymond Flotat