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The past few weeks have been big for Pirates of the Caribbean sequel news. We’ve heard that more Pirates are happening, Johnny Depp is back and making more than $50 million, and with information delivered by one of our most proven sources we told you here that Disney was considering Tim Burton to direct and either Sacha Baron Cohen or Russell Brand to co-star in at least one of the future Caribbean flicks. Unfortunately, Terry Rossio says it’s all hogwash.
Who is Terry Rossio? He had a hand in writing not only all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but many other recent Disney blockbusters as well. Speaking out on the forums at Wordplay, Rossio says: “For the record, none of the recent Pirates 4 rumors have any truth, including the so-called record 50 million dollar payday for Depp.” He then goes on to address our specific story directly saying, “Some pretty funny stuff, though. Sacha Cohen? Tim Burton? Studios are way too protective of their franchises for that sort of thing.”
Rossio did write all three Pirates movies, so he should have the inside track, shouldn’t he? Maybe not. First off, there’s been no sign that Rossio is actually involved in the fourth film, and even if he was, you’d have to wonder why as a screenwriter he’d be privy to the dollar amounts of Johnny Depp’s contract negotiations. That seems somewhat unlikely.
Then there’s Rossio’s own logic to consider. He claims Disney would be too protective of its franchise to involve Tim Burton in a Pirates movie. Apparently Rossio missed the recent announcement where Disney signed multi-picture deals with Burton and then summarily handed him the keys to just about everything in the Magic Kingdom, except that is for Pirates of the Caribbean. There have already been rumblings that Gore Verbinski may not want to return, if he doesn’t, what’s Disney supposed to do with its fourth movie? Sit on it? They have to get a director, and you can’t hire a new director by clutching your franchise to your chest and hiding in a Space Mountain janitor’s closet. It only makes sense to go with a company man, a company man with a reputation as a premiere talent and a proven ability to handle a properly piratical tone. Why not Tim Burton? For that matter why not Sacha Baron Cohen? They brought in Bill Nighy for the second movie, I guess Borat is scarier than the guy who sang naked, horny Christmas songs in Love Actually.
For now, there’s no way to know which direction Disney will jump with their next batch of Pirates movies, except to say that Johnny Depp will be in them while Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom will not. Of course if you’d been paying attention, we told you that somewhere back in summer of 2007, long before Keira hitched up her corset and went before the media to tell us all she’s done sogging around in the ocean. We’ve reconfirmed it with our sources, and they still tell us that Burton is being considered for the directing job, as are Cohen and Brand for Depp’s sidekick. In fact, both our scoop and the rumor of Depp’s big paycheck have since been further confirmed by the Daily Record, where they now insist that in addition to Johnny’s $50 mil, Russell Brand actually has landed the part and will earn $8.5 million. Sorry Rossio, we’re standing on pretty solid ground for this one.