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Joining Johnny...The Cast Assembles
Jerry Bruckheimer, Rob Marshall, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio all knew the great benefits of developing new characters and continuing the arcs of pre-existing ones, but what was clear from the get-go was that Captain Jack Sparrow would remain, as ever, the once and future Captain Jack Sparrow.

"Well, you know,” adds Rossio, "Jack Sparrow is one of those characters who doesn't change; the audience doesn't want him to change, and I don't want him to change. Instead, he affects change in the characters around him.”

Indeed, that aspect of the film was just one of the lures for Penélope Cruz, an Academy Award®–winning star of international repute, as well as the notion of reuniting with Johnny Depp, with whom she had previously appeared in "Blow” some years ago. And it didn't hurt that Cruz was already an admirer of the entire franchise. "I'm a very big fan of the first three movies,” she confesses, "and of what Johnny did in those movies. This is a great adventure for any actor to be a part of. It's an adventure every day; you can never be bored.”

Marshall had worked with Penélope Cruz before, on "Nine” in 2009, and they have become close friends. He admits that when he first mentioned the idea to Cruz of taking the role of Angelica in "On Stranger Tides,” he wasn't sure how the Oscar®-winning actress would react.

"I saw Penélope in that role immediately,” he says. "I couldn't think of anybody else. It had to be an actress who could go toe-to-toe with Johnny and match him on every level. There had to be a sensuality to the character; there had to be humor, strength—a female pirate who is as smart, crafty and as clever as Jack Sparrow. Angelica needed to be all those things and, honestly, Penélope was the only choice.

"I remember asking Penélope when we were in a restaurant in London,” says Marshall. "John DeLuca, executive producer, and I took her to dinner and I didn't bring it up until the end of the meal and I kept thinking, ‘I wonder whether she will be interested…' And I tentatively said, ‘Penélope, would you ever be interested in the idea of doing "Pirates”…' and I didn't even finish the words. She jumped up—in the restaurant—and screamed, ‘I would love to!'

"You see this with great actors; they want variety in their careers and they don't want to play the same thing over and over. She was so thrilled, as I was, at the idea of doing a classic pirate adventure, a film that's for families as well as everyone else. This was something completely different for her, and she embraced it,” says Marshall.

For Cruz, it was a reunion with both Depp and Rob Marshall, who directed her in "Nine,” for which she received an Academy Award® nomination. "Two of the greatest experiences I've had working with people in this industry were with Johnny and Rob,” says Cruz. "Rob can handle huge amounts of pressure and always be a gentleman to everybody. He's a very special human being, and I think anyone you ask will tell you the same thing. Johnny and I really loved working together 10 years ago, and I'm so happy to be around him again. He's so humble, smart and one of the funniest people I know. His talent is incredible, and he's another gentleman, like Rob. The more you work in this business, you just want to be around nice people, and they are on the top of the list for that.”

"Angelica had a relationship in the past with Jack Sparrow, but he betrayed her and broke her heart,” explains Cruz. "Now she enjoys looking for revenge. I think she's still in love with him, but she cannot admit it, not even to herself, that she still has these feelings. Angelica has the mind of a pirate, the daughter of the biggest and most dangerous pirate of all time, and she's a great manipulator, a great liar and a great actress in life. She can really trick people, but she's a very clean soul with a good heart. Her main purpose in life is to try and help her father. Angelica has hope that she can save him, repair all the damage that he's done. And she needs Jack Sparrow, as he needs her, to get to the Fountain of Youth, where Angelica hopes to save her father's soul.”

"It's a kind of fevered love which is also beyond hatred,” says Johnny Depp of Captain Jack and Angelica's relationship. Notes Geoffrey Rush, "Having Penélope on the film is absolutely fantastic, because I've always felt that it would be great for there to be a wild, erratic, deeply attractive, sexy female pirate that's Jack Sparrow's match. She's fiery, very feisty and very precise in her work.”

For the challenging role of history's most notorious pirate, Bruckheimer and Marshall turned to an actor whose remarkable career in film and television—which has now spanned nearly 50 years—has been hotter than ever since his thunderously acclaimed performance as Al Swearengen in HBO's western series "Deadwood.” "Ian McShane is a consummate actor,” notes Jerry Bruckheimer. "He's brilliant and he's done it all. He's won all kinds of accolades for his acting ability, and that makes it so much more fun for a director and for an audience to see people who are the best at their craft.”

Adds Marshall, "Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and I sat down with a large list of actors, and when we went through the list and we got to Ian McShane, it was immediately clear that he was Blackbeard. He can play something evil, but there's always humor behind it as well. He just has his own fresh take on things.”

"Blackbeard is probably the most infamous pirate who ever lived,” notes McShane. "There's a legion of stories about him, and whether they're true or not, he's now part of pirate mythology. I was impressed by the script, which is very funny and charming.”

McShane was also keen to work with Rob Marshall, noting that "I think the phrase to describe Rob would be ‘charmingly relentless,' which is a great quality if you're directing a huge movie like this. Rob has a steely determination combined with an honest, personal charm, which is great.”

"The beauty of the character of Blackbeard,” reflects Johnny Depp on Captain Jack's nemesis in ‘On Stranger Tides,' "is that, on the surface, he seems to be a rational man. But then, the more you get to know him, the more you realize he's a stone-cold killer without an ounce of heart. He would screw over anyone and everyone to get to his objective, which is what makes him so dangerous. And I don't think there's a better choice than Ian McShane, certainly, to play him.”

Penélope Cruz was anxious to explore the very unorthodox father-daughter dynamic between Blackbeard and Angelica. "Angelica doesn't want to admit that she cannot trust her father. "She cannot confront that, she cannot accept it. It's too painful for her, so she keeps finding justifications for everything he does. She keeps fighting him so that he would stop killing. She wants to give him a chance to change and keeps fighting for that. Her mission is to change her father, and she cannot confront the fact that she can't trust him.”

Returning for the fourth time as Hector Barbossa is Geoffrey Rush, who in the previous "Pirates” films had created one of the most wickedly beloved characters of the series. "I was very excited when I heard that there was going to be a fourth film because I love working with Johnny,” says Rush. "I find the Jack Sparrow-Barbossa ongoing conflict very delightful to engage in. And Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio seem to constantly come up with something new. You know, I thought that after the first three—in which they'd explored every possibility from the world of swashbuckling, including buried treasure, the Aztec cu

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