At the end of Consequence‘s phone interview with Our Flag Means Death star Rhys Darby, the veteran comedy actor felt the need to apologize. “Sorry for rambling on — I’ve had two coffees and you’re the first person I’ve spoken to today,” he said, before adding, “I’m a lead actor now, I’m going to do way more talking!”
This is Darby’s time to shine, as after decades of appearing in projects like the Jumanji films and his iconic role as Murray in Flight of the Conchords, he’s for the first time ever number one on the call sheet for a TV show. Specifically, Darby stars the HBO Max period comedy about real-life historical figure Stebe Bonnet, who abandoned his family in 1717 to become a pirate, assembling an eclectic crew on board his well-appointed ship for one of the weirder mid-life crises of all time.
It’s a big part in a big show, but Darby wasn’t sailing off alone, as his longtime friend and collaborator Taika Waititi came on board to direct the pilot episode — and also play the role of Blackbeard, just one of the other pirates that Stebe encounters at sea. “What mainly caught my eye was the idea of a pirate comedy series, which hasn’t been done. So I thought, ‘Well, that’s exciting,’ and knowing Taika was involved, I knew it was going to happen and I knew it was going to be great,” he says.
Below, Darby goes into how he ended up in the role, why he connected with Stebe’s story, and what it was like working again with Waititi as both his director and his co-star. Darby also offers up the latest update on what might be involved in making a Flight of the Conchords revival happen, and if fans of the musical comedy series might have cameos to look forward to in future episodes of Our Flag Means Death.