Rob Marshall in Talks to Direct Pirates 4

With franchise director Gore Verbinski having moved on to other (not necessarily bigger or better) things, notably a recently scrubbed “Bioshock” movie, Disney and uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been looking for a replacement director for their “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” for a while now. According to Variety, they may have found their man: song and dance guy Rob Marshall, most famous for the musical “Chicago” and his followup, another musical called “Nine”. Apparently it’s pretty much a done deal, and an official announcement is probably forthcoming.

While at first blush it doesn’t look like such a great fit, keep in mind that the “Pirates” movies, especially with the recent entries, aren’t exactly grim and gritty stuff. They’re fluffy, flights-of-fancy special effects-driven action-adventures. Marshall should be able to adapt just fine. What would a director have to do on a “Pirates 4” movie, anyway, except point the camera at Johnny Depp and shout “Action”?

Also according to the trade, Disney is in a hurry to get “Pirates 4” into production before star Johnny Depp (reprising his Captain Jack Sparrow role) starts up as Tonto in Bruckheimer’s other (potentially huge) franchise for Disney, the “Lone Ranger” movie. The idea is to go into production on “Pirates 4” by 2010 for a 2011 release.

Why the rush? One word: $2.6 billion in worldwide gross. That’s how much the previous three movies have scored combined. Disney ain’t run by fools. There’s booty to be squeeze from that thar pirate stone, matey! Arrrrrgh!

Below: “I hope you at least bought those statues dinner first, Rob. Sheesh.”