Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Rob Marshall is out stumping for Nine, which means that he’s going to be fielding a lot of questions about the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film. Subtitled On Stranger Tides, the film has been announced by Disney, and in mid-November Marshall said he was doing the film. Now, it sounds like he’s not so certain.

ComingSoon talked to the director, who said of the film:

We’re still trying to figure out if it’s going to all happen. If it happens–I think Johnny’s doing a movie with Angelina Jolie in the spring [The Tourist] — so if it happens, we’ll start in the summer, and we’ll see. I’m excited. If it happens, it happens. I’d be thrilled. I just love Johnny and I’m excited about the genre.

That summer date is a few months later than we’d last heard, as producer Jerry Bruckheimer said at Comic Con last year that he wanted to be shooting by April or May. At this point, Marshall’s careful wording in that quote wouldn’t normally raise any red flags. But Disney has recently canned two films in rather public fashion (Wedding Banned and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and when the company experienced some executive shakeups earlier this year Johnny Depp sounded less than fully committed to another Pirates film.

All of which means nothing in any factual sense with respect to Pirates 4; as far as we know, the movie is happening. But if further changes or delays take place, should you be surprised? No.

When Marshall was asked about the story, he said only “I would need a script first.” The lack of a script doesn’t mean much; Disney is six months away from getting this one in front of cameras, and if they’ve got a script two weeks ahead of time they’ll be doing better than Pirates 3. And this time Disney is reportedly building on the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides, the plot of which is below.

Puppeteer John Chandagnac, bound for Jamaica to recover stolen money from his uncle, becomes Jack Shandy after pirates attack his ship and force him to join their crew. Shandy’s struggle to accept his new life grounds the story for readers, even as Blackbeard and vodun magicians whisk everyone away to dreamlike lands where the Fountain of Youth itself awaits. The chaotic sea battles sing, though at times key events happen so quickly that they get lost in the shuffle as Jack tries to comprehend where he’s going and what’s at stake.

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