Disney appears to be getting closer to the nebulous start of principal photography for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” Production Weekly, via their Twitter feed, reports that Disney has opened production offices for the fourth installment of the mega-grossing fantasy franchise in Kapolei, Hawaii. We don’t have an actual start date yet, but location production offices typically seem to open four to six weeks before the start of shooting on big movies.
There’s been a fair amount of drama where this production is concerned. The abrupt departure of Disney studio chief Dick Cook not long after the movie was announced as a greenlit project had some analysts wondering if the project was in jeopardy. Then it became public that the movie was being based on a 1987 novel by fantasy writer Tim Powers, who had no idea initially that his book was being converted into a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel. (He did know that Disney owned the rights, however.)
Then Sony announced that the fourth “Spider-Man” was being delayed, and Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, announced that the release date of “Thor” was being moved up to fill the now competition-free weekend of May 6, 2011. And Disney itself announced that “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” would be released the weekend of May 20, 2011–“Thor’s” original release date.
Thing is, Disney still hadn’t announced a start date for “Pirates.”
Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Nine”) is directing. The screenplay is by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, screenwriters of the first three “Pirates” movies. Johnny Depp is definitely returning as Captain Jack Sparrow, probably to be joined by Geoffrey Rush, reprising his role from the earlier movies as well. Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz are believed to be joining the cast this time around.