In case the ubiquitous TV spots, billboards and bus ads promoting the film haven’t given it away, the key special effect in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is Johnny Depp’s mischievous face.
“Johnny is enormously popular. He’s the center of the franchise. He is the franchise,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said about what Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow means to the $2.68-billion, swashbuckling series.
If the fourth film, which is directed by Rob Marshall and surrounds a quest for the Fountain of Youth, is as successful as the first three, Bruckheimer said he’ll push ahead on a fifth. But Depp, whom costar Ian McShane said is “paid more than the national debt of most countries,” has a full dance card: He recently signed onto a reboot of “The Thin Man” with Marshall, is making “Dark Shadows” with Tim Burton and plans to play Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger.”
If Depp says he’s ready to hang up Captain Jack’s dreadlocks and move on from the franchise, would Bruckheimer make “Pirates 5″ with anyone else? In a word, “No.”
“We’re working out a script,” Bruckheimer said of the status of a fifth film. “Hopefully, if this one does well, [Depp] will want to come back and play the character again. But it’s gonna depend on the screenplay. It always does. He’s maniacal about not wanting to disappoint his audience.”
Audiences will get to cast their vote for Captain Jack at the box office when “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” opens May 20.
– Rebecca Keegan
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