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Beyond The Trilogy
"When three films together bring in $2.6 billion dollars worldwide, you understand pretty quickly that a message is being sent to you by audiences,” notes Producer Jerry Bruckheimer of the international response to the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean” films, subtitled "The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), "Dead Man's Chest” (2005) and "At World's End” (2007).

"The numbers are wonderful,” Bruckheimer continues, "but what's even better is that they tell you something of what these films have meant to moviegoers. Audiences fell in love with the pirate genre all over again after an absence of some three decades, and they certainly fell head over heels for Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow! There are more adventures for Captain Jack to take on, and our screenwriters, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, had already created a whole world to explore.”

And exploring that world is just what the audience will do when they travel with Captain Jack on his action-packed journey to the legendary Fountain of Youth. When Jack crosses paths (and swords) with the enigmatic Angelica (Penélope Cruz), a ravishing pirate with whom he shares a dubious past, she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship belonging to the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

Finding himself a prisoner on an unexpected journey to the fabled fountain, Jack must use all his wiles to deal with the barbarous Blackbeard and his crew of zombies, Angelica, who can—and will—match him wit for wit and sword for sword, and beautiful, enchanting mermaids whose masterful cunning can lure even the most seasoned sailor to his doom.

Johnny Depp, who had fallen unabashedly in love with the character of Captain Jack Sparrow over the course of the first three films, was certainly game for another new adventure. "The idea of a fourth one after finishing ‘Pirates 3' was somewhere in the back of your head, thinking, ‘I sure hope so,'” notes Depp.

"When you're done playing Captain Jack, there's a real decompression getting out of that skin, because I like being in that skin,' says Depp. "There's a great comfort in playing Captain Jack, because you have license to be completely irreverent, completely subversive, absolutely abstract in all situations. I know him so well that it just comes naturally.” Depp adds, "I was very happy with the work that Ted and Terry did on the screenplay for ‘On Stranger Tides.' It was like the gates were reopened and it was all fresh. It really felt closer in spirit to the first film, getting from Point A to Point D to Point Z without too many subplots and complications.”

Depp was also enthusiastic to work for a fourth time with Jerry Bruckheimer, who had guarded the actor's wholly original vision of Captain Jack Sparrow when the first film began to shoot. "We wouldn't have been able to get away with a third of what we got away with on ‘Pirates 1' without Jerry Bruckheimer,” states the actor. "Without Jerry's support, and his understanding of the material, saying, ‘Okay, I know that some people are scared but this sure seems funny to me, why don't we go with it,' the first film would have been much more generic, not much fun, and I would have been fired!

"Jerry knows these films well,” continues Depp. "I've been in umpteen script meetings with the guy, and never a false note comes up; he always comes up with something interesting. And if you're in a pinch, he's always the guy who says, ‘Don't worry about it; we'll get it taken care of.' Jerry really produces; he's untamed all the time and allows us to be in an atmosphere that's conducive to making something interesting and different. There have never been pressures in that regard; it's always sort of, you know, ‘Bruckheimer's got it.' You know he's handling it. It's cool.”

Bruckheimer notes, "At this point, Johnny is the most popular actor in the world, one of the best actors in the world, and certainly the most committed and hard-working. He's somebody you love working with, because every day, he comes on the set with a smile, ready to go to work and have a great time, yet work very hard.”

When it came to finding a director for "On Stranger Tides,” both Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp found themselves in complete agreement with whom that should be: Rob Marshall, who had directed "Chicago,” an Academy Award® winner for Best Picture of the Year, followed by the greatly ambitious "Memoirs of a Geisha” and "Nine.” "Rob is a filmmaker unafraid to take on the biggest challenges and take real risks,” says Bruckheimer. "What's more, his background in musical theater and film and choreography were huge benefits to direct a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean' movie. You need somebody who can stage huge action and understands movement. Rob is also a wonderful storyteller, and he's got impeccable taste.”

Johnny Depp had a very short list of directors with whom he was willing to work on the fourth "Pirates” opus. "You know, having done ‘Pirates' one through three with Gore Verbinski, and Gore not being available for ‘Pirates 4' because of his commitment to ‘Rango,' made for quite a large dilemma initially,” notes Depp.

"Certain names were mentioned,” says Depp, "and when Rob's name came up I thought, ‘That's got to be it. Let's just hope he's a nice guy.' I've seen all of his films and he's got a great sensibility. He's got a great and unique approach to characters; his aesthetic sense is magnificent and his timing is perfect. So we sat down and talked, and from the first second I knew he was the guy. I just knew it.

"I don't think there's anyone better who could have come in and followed Gore. Rob's approach was very respectful of what Gore built in the first three films but at the same time he has his own signature. He gave it a very new angle; he brought a brand-new pair of eyes and a fresh look.”

Rob Marshall is a real force in contemporary American film whose onset style has been accurately described as "iron covered in velvet.” The highly acclaimed director's first three films "Chicago,” "Memoirs of a Geisha” and "Nine” garnered a total of 23 Oscar® nominations, and Marshall says taking the helm for the fourth film in the hugely successful "Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise felt like a perfect fit.

"I've always wanted to do a classic adventure film,” he says. "I think some initially thought that it's a departure from what I do, but for me it's not really; it's more of an extension, specifically because ‘action' in general is a kind of choreography.

"The action in ‘Pirates,' like dance, is choreographed within an inch of its life. To make action sequences work, they are put together carefully like a detailed mosaic and that's very similar with dance. The action must contain story and develop character.”

Marshall was also excited about the prospects of working with the man who had given the Pirates of the Caribbean films their very heart and soul: Johnny Depp. "Many people have said to me over the years ‘you guys would be a great fit, a great match and you would love working with him and he would love working with you.'

"So when I was asked about ‘Pirates,' the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘What a great opportunity it would be to be able to work with Johnny.' Johnny is this extraordinary person because not only is he a genius and a creative force, but he is also such a kind, thoughtful and elegant man.

"I really feel that he's a throwback to another time. The man comes on set and shakes hands with everyone. He takes the time to make sure that everybody on set is happy,”

Marshall adds. "H

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