- "'Wedlocked' was a labor of love, a short film I directed especially for super-fans of the 'Pirates' movies. Knowing we had a small budget and borrowed sets, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott wrote a script for me that recalled the Pirates ride more than the movies."
- ―Jim Byrkit
Pirates of the Caribbean: Tales of the Code: Wedlocked is a short film directed by James Ward Byrkit, produced by Leora Glass and written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, with Jerry Bruckheimer serving as executive producer. The short film stars John Vickery, Vanessa Branch, and Lauren Maher.
Based on the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Wedlocked featured Scarlett and Giselle in what Byrkit called "a chance for the wenches to have their own wacky moment." The story was based on the Pirate Code Book and recalled the original Disneyland ride, primarily the well-known auction scene, while also conceived to be a prequel to the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, explaining just why Jack Sparrow's boat is seen sinking at the start of the film and why the girls were so upset with him.
Tales of the Code: Wedlocked was shot in late 2006, with sets constructed at Walt Disney Studios that were fresh from shooting the third film, At World's End. While working on the feature film as the conceptual consultant for Gore Verbinski's Pirates trilogy at the time, Jim Byrkit had the notion to make a short film; he envisioned something based on the Pirate Code and began working with writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio to develop a script.
In 2011, Disney/Buena Vista announced that the home-video release of the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, would include the "Pirates of the Caribbean Four-Movie Collection," a 15-Disc packaging that included Wedlocked as a bonus feature. The set was originally released on October 18, 2011, before becoming more widely available on the Internet later.
"Wedlocked" was a labor of love, a short film I directed especially for super-fans of the "Pirates" movies. Knowing we had a small budget and borrowed sets, Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott wrote a script for me that recalled the Pirates ride more than the movies. "Slappers" Vanessa Branch and Lauren Maher turned in leading lady performances that should get them their own tv spinoff.
Beautifully shot by Nic Sadler.
The short film opens with the Pirate Code Book, lying on a table until someone opens it to the first page with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Tales of the Code" written on it; and "Wedlocked" appears out of nowhere. The scene dissolves to a shot of Shipwreck City, brimming with lantern lights and docked ships at night.
In an anteroom there is a standing mirror, oval shaped with a wooden frame, where Scarlett looks at her reflection. Lit by candlelight, she sees herself as a vision of beauty while she tries on her bridal veil, until she notices her rival Giselle, also primping on the other of the mirror. Upon meeting one another, they both reveal that they're getting ready for the same wedding. Giselle describes her groom as having dreamy eyes and speaking "fancy words with lots of syllables," while Scarlett says her groom is a cap'n and "men all over the world speak his name." By this point, both wenches lift their hands, each displaying identical engagement rings as they simultaneously reveal one name: Jack Sparrow. Scarlett and Giselle's faces fall as they figure out that Jack deceived the both of them.
Suddenly curtains rise to thundering applause, revealing a roomful of love-starved and lusty pirates, all with hopeful smiles. Behind Scarlett and Giselle are more brides, wenches of various sizes and shapes, some tall and skinny, all wearing wedding gowns. Both ladies stare out at the pirates, while a lively four-piece pirate band play their instruments. Above the band an "Auction—Take a Wench for a Bride" banner is lifted into place. Scarlett and Giselle glance around until Oona, an older wench sporting an eyepatch, pops from behind and smiles bright: "It's the 'appiest day of a girl's life."
A whirlwind of a man appears, known as the Auctioneer, smiling as he presents the wenches, including the bewildered Scarlett and Giselle. When the two ask of Jack's whereabouts, the Auctioneer gestures to Giselle, giving her a flower bouquet as the first wench to be bid upon. After an old pirate gives a bid of only five pieces of silver, an insulted Giselle reacts angrily to the bid. Scarlett mockingly says "Five" as the Auctioneer continues the bidding. Giselle looks at Scarlett, who is smiling come-hither at the pirates, displaying a bit of leg as the auction continues. The Marquis D'avis bids 20 pieces for Scarlett, referring to her as the "redhead". Seeing that Scarlett is a very profitable venture, with the bid having gone up to 40, the Auctioneer took the flower bouquet from Giselle and gives it to Scarlett as a Drunk Pirate chants "we wants the redhead!"
Scarlett blows a kiss to the bidding pirates before Giselle "advertises" for the highest bid. She emphasizes her cleavage before striking a pose, in which Nigel bids ten for "the one with the flaxen hair", but loses when Slurry Gibson bids 50 for the "redhead". However, Giselle stated that she was "egre-G-iously" underbid upon, upon Atencio's bidding fifteen for the "not redhead" while the Drunk Pirate bids 60 for Scarlett. It was then that the Marquis D'avis immediately bid 70 for Scarlett. Soon, both Scarlett and Giselle shove each other before wrestling, pulling hair, catfighting. The pirates laughed as the two wenches fought one another, the band's music continued to play as other wenches try to restrain Scarlett, who was biting on Giselle's leg. Giselle hits Scarlett repeatedly as her leg was bitten until they both freeze, looking out toward the pirates, who all stare, slack-jawed, enthralled. And then, after a moment, cacophony as the pirate band played another tune. A clamor of offers was led by the Marquis D'avis, who bid 200 for the pair, while the Auctioneer offered them as a lot. As the men continued with their bids, Scarlett and Giselle react at the upturn before Giselle shoves Scarlett, and they start wrestling again.
A group of poor pirates break a knot of discussion and Atencio steps forward to bid 400, proudly saying they formed a corporation. The Marquis D'avis bid five hundred as Scarlett and Giselle continued fighting, while being restrained by other wenches. As the bid went up, Atencio's corporation confers about the Marquis D'avis' next bids, going up to 617. Joining in, Nigel immediately bidded a goat, which caused Atencio to emphatically add a goat to their bid. The Marquis D'avis made the final bid of 700 pieces of silver and two goats, which the Auctioneer gladly accepted, while the corporation is deflated.
By this point, Scarlet and Giselle both stopped fighting and are ecstatic; Giselle loved the money, and Scarlett loved that they have goats. However, the Auctioneer slams wrist shackles on the wenches before correcting them by saying he is rich and has the goats, stating that he owned them in a fair one-hundred percentage. Although the Auctioneer explained, Scarlett and Giselle insisted they're not property. The crowd riles at this, with grunts of concern from the room of pirates: "Are the girls for sale or not?" As the pirates pull out their pistols, ready to kill, the Auctioneer tries to appease, stating he traded them fair and square as per the Pirate Code. The Auctioneer gestures too close to the Code Book for Mungard's liking, causing him to swat away the Auctioneer's hand before the imposing, stern-faced court guard reminds the pirates that the Code was the law. Mungard draws his pistol in saying "woe to anyone who shows it any disrespect."
Tensions are high before Giselle cleared her throat to ask the Auctioneer if he owned the stocking that she wore (which she removed, causing hoots from the crowd and the Drunk Pirate not containing his lust) or a song she might sing, both of which the Auctioneer asserted. After that, Giselle walks up and slaps Mungard full in the face. Angry, Mungard points his pistol at the Auctioneer, who passes the shackle key to Nigel. Mungard follows the key with his pistol, whoever had it was in trouble. And so the key is foist from Nigel to Atencio, to the Marquis D'avis, who finally tossed the key to the Auctioneer, who again faced Mungard's pistol. Immediately afterwards, the Drunk Pirate accidentally fired his pistol. The crowd ducks and yells as Mungard turned around with his pistols. Scarlett and Giselle sneak away while the Auctioneer holds up the Code Book to defend himself while saying this was the doing of one man: Jack Sparrow. Upon hearing the name Sparrow, Mungard turns around asking "Where?!" before he fires his pistol and shoots straight at the Auctioneer. Wenches then scream as the bullet hits the Code. The Auctioneer, still holding up the Code Book, tumbles back to the ground.
All the pirates, including Mungard, freeze in shock. Pirates step up warily, dreading what they will see, and look down toward the Auctioneer's body at the Code Book—now with a bullet in it. The room is filled with hushed murmurs as the pirates are terrified of Mungard's act of having shot the Code, with one pirate saying "Captain Teague'll have his head." Despite this, Mungard takes charge by ordering the pirates to get the Auctioneer taken out of there. A group of men, including the Auctioneer's assistant, helped get the Code off of a dazed Auctioneer, who said he had a consignment of Peruvian llamas due in a fortnight. As the Auctioneer is lifted by the arms, Mungard then ordered the Code to be locked up and warned the crowd of pirates that if any of them speak a word of this, that he would have their tongues. Every pirate stared at each other until Cotton, and his parrot assured Mungard that "mum's the word."
Outside, Scarlett and Giselle made their getaway from Shipwreck Cove, both vowing that the next time they see Jack Sparrow, they'll be "re-acquainting him" with the palm of her hand. Scarlett also revealed that she took out four nails that went on Jack's boat in case he had cold feet on their "wedding". Jack Sparrow is then seen trying to get water out of his boat. Meanwhile, the Pirate Code Book was carried towards a chest, by the Auctioneer's assistant and another pirate. The Code was then closed in the chest.
- John Vickery ... Auctioneer
- Vanessa Branch ... Giselle
- Lauren Maher ... Scarlett
- David Bailie ... Cotton
- Walter Williamson ... The Marquis D'avis, The Rich Pirate
- Fred Maske ... Atencio, The Poor Pirate
- Martin Horsey ... Gregor, The Drunk Pirate
- Jack Donner ... Jerome, The Old Pirate
- Ric Sarabia ... Nigel, The Skinny Pirate
- Barry Cullison ... Slurry Gibson, The Sitting Pirate
- Christopher Rocha ... Mungard
- Dale Dickey ... Oona, The Wench
- Christopher Maxwell ... Dante, The Handsome Pirate
- Lucas Cheadle ... Pirate Band - Upright Bass
- Steven (Stevie) Gurr ... Pirate Band - Guitar
- Norman Panto ... Pirate Band - Accordion
- Joel Pargman ... Pirate Band - Fiddle
- Diana Cignoni ...
- Karla Cook ...
- Nicole Dionne ...
- Roberta Kooistra ...
- Alethea Kutscher ...
- Allison Long ...
- Paula Long ...
- Lindsey Martin ... Wenches
- Adam Allee ...
- Keith Arndt ...
- Frank Bettag ...
- Frank Giarmona ...
- Albert Lund ...
- Omar Mohammed ...
- Cory Montgomery ...
- Dennis O'Neill ...
- Alan Prampin ...
- Greg Reeves ...
- Richard Robertson ...
- Randolph Scott ... Pirates
- Martin Pierron ... Auctioneer Assistant
For character appearances with known portrayers see the "Cast" section.
- Marquis D'avis (First appearance)
- Atencio (First appearance)
- Gregor (First appearance)
- Jerome (First appearance)
- Nigel (First appearance)
- Slurry Gibson (First appearance)
- Mungard (First appearance)
- Oona (First appearance)
- Dante (First appearance)
- Edward Teague (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow
- "I was on set, marveling at the work of Rick Heinrichs, and told Gore 'we should shoot a movie here in off hours.' And he said 'Go for it!' So I went to Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and asked if they had an idea for a short about the Pirate Code. They thought that Vanessa Branch and Lauren Maher, the wenches, should have their own story and we started writing Wedlocked."
- ―James Ward Byrkit
When he worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, James Ward Byrkit worked as a conceptual consultant, helping conceptualize the big action scenes with director Gore Verbinski as well as being on set alot. Seeing the sets that production designer Rick Heinrichs designed for Pirates sequels Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, Verbinski would say, "Somebody give Jim a camera so he can shoot a movie here." Though while marveling the work of Heinrichs' Shipwreck Cove set at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Byrkit told Verbinski that they should shoot a movie here in off hours. And Verbinski said "Go for it!" So Byrkit got Brigham Taylor at Disney interested in the idea for a short film.
- "I got Brigham Taylor at Disney interested in the idea for a short film. Then it was all about rounding up the writers. I envisioned something based on the Pirate Code Book, because that implied a device that could tie other stories in later. That's a hint, by the way. [Writers] Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were instantly on board and honed in quickly on a concept that would go back to the Pirates ride, something die-hard fans would appreciate."
- ―James Ward Byrkit
For the story of Wedlocked, Byrkit envisioned something based on the Pirate Code Book, because he knew that implied a device that could tie other stories in later. He then went to Pirates writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and asked if they had an idea for a short about the Code. They thought that Vanessa Branch (Giselle) and Lauren Maher (Scarlett) should have their own story and the three started writing Wedlocked. They quickly working on a concept that would go back to the Pirates ride, something die-hard fans would appreciate, while having a deadline looming in just a few weeks as the needed sets were all scheduled to be demolished then.
Originally, the characters of Giselle and Scarlett were originally not supposed to have speaking parts in the first film The Curse of the Black Pearl, until someone noticed that both Lauren Maher and Vanessa Branch were quite capable actors. Byrkit thought that this was a chance for the wenches to have their own wacky moment, and that it hints at a whole world of possibility between them.
- "The best thing about the short was working with those two. I had done several projects previously that called for leading women that were both beautiful and funny — it's very, very rare. Vanessa and Lauren turned out to be great actresses, hilarious, totally committed and game for anything. They show they can be cast as leading women in anything."
- ―James Ward Byrkit
For the two leading roles, Lauren Maher and Vanessa Branch reprised their roles as Scarlett and Giselle. Byrkit said that the best thing about the short was working with those two, He stated that he'd done several previous projects that called for leading women that were both beautiful and funny, but that it was very rare. Vanessa and Lauren turned out to be great actresses, totally committed and game for anything. They were shown that they could be cast as leading women in anything. Byrkit thought the two could have their own series, like a "Lucy-and-Ethel on the high seas. Always getting into absurd situations."
Along with Maher and Branch, John Vickery was cast as the Auctioneer, a character from the original Disney ride. Other notable cast members include Walter Williamson as the Marquis D'avis, Fred Maske as Atencio, Martin Pierron as the Auctioneer Assistant, and Christopher Rocha as Mungard. David Bailie also had a cameo as Cotton, this time having a speaking role.
- "We had three days to shoot, and that was it because the set was destroyed the next day. I think I was still standing a piece of it as it was hauled off. ... I’m pretty comfortable with big, sprawling sets and mayhem, but this had so little time it was a race from Day One. We had to cast it in a matter of days, build costumes, build custom set pieces, work out blocking for forty actors. So basically, it was a blast."
- ―James Ward Byrkit
Making Tales of the Code: Wedlocked allowed Byrkit to display his directorial gifts, as a cast, costumes and sets were speedily assembled on the California Pirates soundstage at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. This passion project had a window of several days. The short film also permits the multi-hypenate filmmaker to engage a creative soul that is part buccaneer, part safecracker. Production would commence in late 2006, with sets that were fresh from shooting the third film At World's End.
The Wedlocked team assembled a cast in a matter of days, made costumes, built custom set pieces, and work out blocking for 40 actors. The DVD department gave Byrkit some money to scrape together a crew, rent a 16 mm camera, and shoot the short. Costume designer Penny Rose provided new costumes, Kris Peck and the prop department came through where Byrkit could put together just enough resources to pull it off. They only had three days to shoot, because the set was destroyed afterwards. Byrkit said he was comfortable with big, sprawling sets and mayhem but that Wedlocked had so little time to make it, saying "it was a race from Day One."
Writer Terry Rossio hinted the possibility of a short film on his website Wordplay, having mentioned Jim Byrkit's notion of using the set. At the time, it was intended for a "trilogy 'Treasure Chest' DVD." Since then, he had hinted a special edition set, though it had been pushed back a number of times.
Around March 2011, Vanessa Branch teased a Pirates-related project intended to be released in Fall 2011. Despite it being worked on after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End wrapped filming, around early December 2006, Tales of the Code: Wedlocked wasn't announced until about a month after the release of the fourth film, On Stranger Tides, in 2011. Disney/Buena Vista had announced that the home-video release of On Stranger Tides would include the "Pirates of the Caribbean Four-Movie Collection," a 15-disc packaging containing not only the four feature films but also the short film Wedlocked. The set also included an authentic replica "Pirate's Chest", a collectible map and an iconic Aztec gold skull disc case that held the Blu-ray discs and digital copies of all four Pirates movies, the Blu-ray 3D disc and DVD of On Stranger Tides.
Days after the announcement, Wedlocked director James Ward Byrkit was interviewed about the short, detailing on how it came to be and how Disney accepted the project being made. He said the general audience would still have great fun watching the short, but that there was a conscious effort to include lots of details and inside jokes for the truly obsessed fan. Byrkit also said he loved when an invented cinematic world seems big enough to follow other stories outside the main film, stating "Troops" from the Star Wars universe as an example. Byrkit also hoped it succeeded in keeping the fun of the very first Pirates of he Caribbean alive.
- Tales of the Code: Wedlocked was the first Pirates of the Caribbean short film. It was also the first Pirates-related film that wasn't released in theaters.
- There were many proposed titles for the short film. One title, which was used in a later draft of the screenplay, was Tales of the Code: Pirate Belles. In the same draft, there were several revelations:
- Jack Sparrow deceived all the wenches into getting married/auctioned.
- The final bid (by the Marquis D'avis) was supposed to be 700 pieces of silver and two goats; one girl loved the money, one loved the idea they just got goats. But the way Walter Williamson delivered the line suggests he bidded 702 goats. When the film crew realized the confusion during the read, they decided to keep it just for the confusion.
- Mungard had a not-so-good prior history with Jack Sparrow. This is implied by Mungard's reacting upon hearing Jack's name said aloud.
- Jack Sparrow traded Scarlett and Giselle in exchange for "a very nice hat" to the Auctioneer.
- One of the lines cut was where Giselle says, regarding Scarlett's status as a natural redhead, "The carpet doesn't match the drapes, if you know what I mean" but that was deemed too racy.
- In the short film, Dante is barely seen except as the shape waiting in the row boat that Scarlett and Giselle made their getaway in. The character originally had a bigger part, noted by the first draft which featured the wenches trying to impress Dante and ending up with him in the end, but the role was cut down.
- While Wedlocked served as a prequel to The Curse of the Black Pearl, it was mainly based on the Disneyland ride, particularly the auction scene and the characters Auctioneer and Scarlett (based on the Redhead).
- This film does not star Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow), Geoffrey Rush (Hector Barbossa) and Kevin McNally (Joshamee Gibbs). However, the scene with Jack Sparrow and the Jolly Mon from The Curse of the Black Pearl was used for the ending scene of Wedlocked.
- Filming for Wedlocked took place in late 2006, shortly after the filming for At World's End wrapped, at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It was released in the Pirates of the Caribbean Four-Movie Collection, a 15-disc set which included an authentic replica "Pirate's Chest", a collectible map and an iconic Aztec gold skull disc case that held the Blu-ray discs and digital copies of all four Pirates movies, the Blu-ray 3D disc and DVD of On Stranger Tides.
- The song Pyrate Bryde by Warren Goodlang played during the ending credits. This usage of the song marks Wedlocked as the first Pirates of the Caribbean-related film to not use He's a Pirate in the ending credits.
- The Wedlocked ending credits show that the film was copyrighted in 2008, and yet the short film was first released with the Pirates of the Caribbean Four Movie Collection released in 2011.
- The character names Marquis D'avis, Atencio, and Slurry Gibson are tributes to Disney Imagineers who worked on the original ride: Marc Davis, Xavier Atencio, and Blaine Gibson.
Notes and references
- As a creative renaissance man, writer-director James Ward Byrkit brings ‘RANGO’ and ‘PIRATES’ film to your screen
- 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' Coming To Blu-ray | Movie News | Hollywood.com
- Wedlocked - Jim Byrkit Director
- POTC Interview with Jim Byrkit 2012
- Wordplayer.com: WORDPLAY/Archives/"Ends of the Earth" by Terry Rossio
- Wait - Scripts message board - Wordplayer.com
- VANESSA BRANCH on "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"