Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is gearing up to shoot in the next few weeks, so it’s time to hear about all the additional cast that will join Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane under the direction of Rob Marhsall. A few weeks back we mentioned that Stephen Graham was among the new recruits. He was recently seen in The Damned United and Public Enemies, but possibly best remembered for acting opposite Jason Statham in Snatch. (“Dags? Oh…DOGS.”) After Pirates 4, he might be best remembered for playing sidekick to Jack Sparrow. Read More »


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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Jerry Bruckheimer is getting less Disney money to play with. Over the years, Bruckheimer has produced a great many films for the studio, many with lavish budgets and appropriately epic scale. None more so than the Pirates of the Caribbean films, which have grown ever more outsized and expensive.

For the fourth chapter, On Stranger Tides, things will be different. And the changes could be quite positive. Read More »

Astrid Bergès-Frisbey

French Actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey has been selected by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall to star in the key role of Syrena, a beautiful and alluring young mermaid, in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. How big of a role will Syrena the Mermaid have in the fourth installment of the Pirates franchise? Big enough that Disney issued a flashy press release announcing her casting (something that isn’t the norm for unknowns or supporting roles). Bergès-Frisbey’s credits include the following French films: La Fille du Puisatier, Bruc, Extase, La Premiere Etoile and Un Barrage Contre le Pacifique.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

British actor Stephen Graham, Sam Claflin, and Max Irons are in talks to join the cast of Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Graham has appeared in Public Enemies, This Is England, Gangs of New York, Band of Brothers and Snatch. Irons, the 24-year-old son of actors Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack, has appeared in Dorian Gray and Being Julia. Claflin is currently working on British television series The Pillars of the Earth in Budapest. Graham will play the character of Scram, a character whom we have no more details about.

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That headline might seems like a strange clash of conflicting stories, but they’re closely tied together by one thing: back in February, news bubbled up that Penelope Cruz would be taking the lead in Lars von Trier‘s sci-fi disaster movie Melancholia; then one day later, we heard she wouldn’t be doing it all and had signed on to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides instead.

I was rather disappointed. It was too easy to see her choice as either greedy or, perhaps worse, cowardly. And as a fan of both Cruz and von Trier, I had instantly become keen to see their collaboration. Rats.

Now, though, it seems that Lars von Trier has filled the role with Charlotte Gainsbourg, his collaborator on Antichrist. This is interesting in part because von Trier doesn’t appear to have repeated his lead actors before, unless you count Jens Albinus’ characters in both The Boss of it All and The Idiots as leads. Not only does this mean von Trier wants to work with Gainsbourg again, it means she wants to work with him.

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blackbeard pirates 4
Ian McShane is in talks to play the villain in Rob Marshall‘s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment of the Disney theme park ride turned movie franchise. McShane will play Edward Teach, better known as the legendary pirate Blackbeard, a notorious black-bearded pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies during the early 1700s, and famously piloted the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. McShane will join Johnny Depp, who is reprising his role of Captain Jack Sparrow, and the recently announced Penelope Cruz, who will be playing “Sparrow’s foil and equal in many ways”, whatever that means.
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Hawaii loves Disney. ABC (owned by Disney) has spent the past few years adding to the state’s cachet as a travel destination by filming Lost there, there’s a Disney resort opening next year and now Jerry Bruckheimer & Co. will bring Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to Kaua’i and O’ahu this summer. That’s right: Pirates is the movie started by the Dick Cook regime at Disney that new leader Rich Ross can’t or won’t kill.

The press release from Hawaii governor Linda Lingle and Disney doesn’t offer any new details with respect to actors or story points. It does confirm, however, that Rob Marshall is directing. The director had sounded uncertain about the job when asked about it while promoting Nine. Johnny Depp is returning, as are writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. You can read the release in full at Coming Soon.


What are the pleasures of musicals?

Musicals require from their performers the daunting task of simultaneously acting and singing, often while executing choreographed dance. That’s a significant part of the reason we go pay to see live performances: to witness incredibly talented people perform these remarkable feats in real time. Musicals thrive on the tension between consummate professionalism and unpredictability. They also require the perception of continuity of motion in order to be fully enjoyed. When you fashion a musical into a film, you necessarily lose some of those elements.

But you don’t have to lose all of them.

As an audience, we understand on some level that the audio is recorded separately, that the dances probably required dozens of takes to produce the final version that we see on screen. So we make a bargain with the filmmaker: We will try to forget these inexorable truths about the filmmaking process if you do your best replicate the magic of musicals using a screen, a projector, and a few speakers. Rob Marshall’s Nine takes us up on this arrangement, only Marshall fails spectacularly at living up to his side of the bargain.
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