“I get to be unhinged; I get to have fun with swords and I get to be on a ship,” declares Vico Ortiz about playing a pirate in “Our Flag Means Death.” For our recent webchat, they continue, “I’m Caribbean, so literally it felt like home. And the water that they used on the CGI screens was from Puerto Rico, so I very much felt like I was just back at home swashbuckling my heart away.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Our Flag Means Death” tells the tale of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), an aristocrat who abandons his family to pursue the life of a pirate on the high seas. Ortiz explains, “What I love about comedies, especially comedies that grapple around a lot of vulnerable moments, is that’s humanity. Within the serious moments we’re going to have a moment of laughter. That’s what makes the show so compelling to watch. Within that humor we find that connection. You’re just letting go and really coming into this experience, letting yourself be held by these very sweet pirates.”
Ortiz plays Jim, a pirate who starts off the series in disguise under a fake beard and nose. Throughout the season it is revealed the tragic past and quest for revenge that has coaxed this pirate into hiding. They reveal, “I wanted to make sure that I was bringing Jim my experience as someone who’s non binary. I’m not trying to act like a man or trying to act like a woman. I’m just a human being in this flesh. The only thing that changes is how people perceive Jim. At the end of the day they’re just Jim. The beard doesn’t make them more masculine. Not having the beard doesn’t make them more feminine. They’re the same person, regardless. I wanted to make sure that was something people were catching on to and invite them to ask themselves, ‘who am I outside of societal expectations of gender?’ If you identify as a man, or as a woman, or as a non binary person, what does that mean to you outside of these expectations? So that you can step into a more authentic version of yourself into the world.”
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