Johnny Depp's tour guide on his "Pirates of the Caribbean" voyages is plotting the course for a fifth installment even before the fourth movie sails into theaters May 20.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer says he has a screenplay in the works for a fifth "Pirates" tale after May's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" comes out.
Based on the Disney theme-park ride, the original three "Pirates" blockbusters ended up as a trilogy continuing the same key characters and story line. Bruckheimer says "On Stranger Tides" and future "Pirates" flicks will be stand-alone stories continuing the adventures of Depp's woozy buccaneer Capt. Jack Sparrow.
Directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), "On Stranger Tides" sends Jack on a quest for the fountain of youth. Bruckheimer and Marshall showed off footage earlier this week at CinemaCon, a Las Vegas convention of theater owners.
At test screenings of "On Stranger Tides," "the audience told us what they loved about it is that it was fresh, it was new, it was a whole new story," Bruckheimer said in an interview alongside Marshall. "So that will carry over into the next one, too, to give it something fresh and different. As long as the audience embraces this one, we'll certainly try to make another one. It's really up to Johnny. He loves the character."
Geoffrey Rush reprises his role as Jack's rival, Barbossa, who has switched sides, no longer a pirate but a privateer sailing on the orders of the British monarchy. Penelope Cruz co-stars as the fiery daughter of the pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
Marshall popped the question about co-starring in the "Pirates" sequel over dinner with Cruz while he was directing her in the musical "Nine."
"She jumped out of her chair and said, 'Oh, my God. I'd love to. I've always wanted to do an adventure like this.' So it was perfect," Marshall said.
"I had mentioned her to Jerry and Johnny, and immediately they said yes, that seems exactly right. Because there are not that many people that really can match him [Depp]. He's so unique, and he has so many different characteristics. Charisma and sex appeal. He's funny and he's athletic and he's a strong actor. So who can match that?' "
"On Stranger Tides" is the first "Pirates" flick shot with digital 3-D cameras. The filmmakers make good use of the 3-D imagery in action sequences, which include a shot where Cruz's character tries to stab Depp's Capt. Jack through a closed door, her sword leaping off the screen right at the audience.
Bruckheimer and Marshall were interested from the start in doing the movie in 3-D, which can boost revenues since fans pay a few dollars more than they do to see 2-D versions.
"But the technology scared us a little, only because, you saw 'Avatar,' that was all done on sound stages. Nobody had ever taken these cameras out into the jungles and did a big adventure picture," Bruckheimer said.
"Rob [Marshall] did an enormous amount of research with the cinematographer, and we finally went to Disney and said, 'Look, we really think we can do this.' And they thought about it for a while, because it increases the costs, but in the end, they agreed with us and said, 'Let's go for it.' "