Disney in talks with director to take on film

Disney is floating Rob Marshall to take the helm of its fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, a move that would put the film on track for a 2010 start with Johnny Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow.

While Marshall’s involvement wasn’t confirmed over the weekend, things look good enough that the studio is said to have begun casting new characters that will appear in the picture.

Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three films in the series, had stepped away from the fourth installment to focus on a movie version of the vidgame “BioShock” for Universal (Daily Variety, April 7, 2009). Though that film’s momentum has stalled, Verbinski has moved on to other directing and producing projects.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have been meeting with a number of directors in recent weeks, because the studio wants to pull the “Pirates” film together and have Depp star in it before he does “The Lone Ranger” for them.

The “Pirates” series is big business for Disney, as the first three pics grossed $2.6 billion worldwide.

The emergence of Marshall as prospective helmer of the fourth pic surprised some in the industry. The choreographer-turned-director made his feature directing debut with the Oscar-winning musical “Chicago” and followed with “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a film that underperformed at the box office. He has returned to the musical route with “Nine,” which stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren. The film will be released Nov. 25 by the Weinstein Co.

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