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Our Flag Means Death: Rhys Darby says becoming a merman was "the highlight of the whole season for me"

Turns out, the New Zealand actor has always had a love of the mer-people

Our Flag Means Death Season 2
Image credit: Max

One of the more unexpected moments in the second season of Our Flag Means Death was the appearance of Stede (Rhys Darby) as a merman during a near-death experience for Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) — but if the audience was thrilled to see Stede’s underseas makeover (and they collectively were), the reaction still pales in comparison to how Darby thinks of the whole transformation.

Calling it “the highlight of the whole season for me,” Darby explained during an interview with TV Insider that he was thrilled by the opportunity the scene presented.

“As a kid, I used to swim around like a little merkid. I would put my legs together and I’d swim under the water. I’ve always been into mermaids and things because I’m into cryptozoology. So when I got to be a mermaid or a merman, I really took to it. It was pretty easy, to be honest with you,” he said. “I didn’t have any training to swim like that. So the only training I did was some breath work beforehand to help me hold my breath longer. But that was kind of almost superfluous. Once I got that [tail] on, I just became a mermaid. It’s hard for me to describe how I suddenly become these things, but I think I just got under the water. I could swim really easily with it.”

He continued, “To see it on the day, on the screen when I knew they’d got [the shot], there were just so many cheers, and I think they even played the music to see how the scene would work out. It’s one of those life moments where you go, ‘Oh my God, I’m becoming a cryptid again. I’m never going to forget this.’”

A dream come true for fans and cast alike? What more could anyone ask for? (For those who might ask for some background about what it practically took to create Stede’s makeover, you might want to read this.)

Our Flag Means Death is available to stream on Max.


Our Flag Means Death's Rhys Darby on whether fandom insight sways him

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Our Flag Means Death

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Graeme McMillan

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Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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