Penelope Cruz Joining Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, Not Doing Melancholia

How often are Lars von Trier and a tentpole franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean part of the same story? Yesterday we mentioned that Penelope Cruz looked like a lock to star in Melancholia, the next film from Lars von Trier. Now it seems that she won't be doing that after all, in part because she's brokering a deal to star alongside Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

THR reports that the deal is in motion, but offers next to nothing about who Cruz would play. All the trade has is that "she is to be Sparrow's foil and equal in many ways." Not much to go on, though that line makes it sound as if her character would be the replacement for Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann.

The fallout from this is that Cruz may not be the lead in Lars von Trier's next movie, Melancholia, after all. After digging up some European reports that claimed Cruz was in, The Playlist found other quotes from von Trier and his producer Anders Refn that suggest she's not in the picture. Translation of the Danish remarks is sketchy, but seems to point to Cruz not being able to sync up her schedule with their production. Which would make sense, if she's going to commit a big chunk of time to Pirates 4.

Too bad about that. I'd infinitely rather see Cruz in the more off-beat film. Given that working with Pirates 4 director Rob Marshall scored her a Best Supporting Actress nod for Nine, I could see why there would be extra incentive to jump into a big franchise payday like Pirates. But after the last film I have no real confidence in even that series' basic potential for entertainment. We'll hope for a surprise from this next chapter, but I'm not really banking on it. I'll put my money on Melancholia, instead.