What began as a rumor back in July of this year has finally been confirmed by director Rob Marshall, who spilled the beans on his involvement with Pirates of the Caribbean 4 while holding a DGA screening of his latest film, Nine. Marshall will replace director Gore Verbinski, who steered the ship on the first three Pirates films, which cleared over a billion dollars in domestic box office receipts combined. According to a tipster at AICN, not only did Marshall confirm that he’s on board, but he also said that he’s looking forward to working with Johnny Depp. Here’s a clipping from the report:

I just saw the DGA screening of Rob Marshall’s latest movie, NINE tonight and stayed for the Q & A after, so I thought I’d write in to share my thoughts. First, let me just get the HUGE scoop out of the way: when asked about his next project (by Nora Ephron, who hosted the Q&A), he replied ‘y’know, it’s something that I was offered and never in the world thought I would do but then I was like ‘why not?’… I’m doing ‘Pirates of the Caribbean….”’ That’s right– Rob Marshall is directing the next installment of the ‘Pirates’ franchise. The only additional thing he mentioned about it was that he had a wonderful meeting with Johnny a little while ago and that they’re both excited to work together.

This new film, which is entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is to be loosely based on the book On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, which was optioned by Disney many years ago. The story in the book follows a character named Jack Shandy, but if my spider-senses are in tune with what’s going on here, the story will be adapted to accommodate the character of Jack Sparrow (Depp), who was last seen heading out in search of the Fountain of Youth. On Stranger Tides follows Shandy as he searches for the Fountain of Youth, encounters the pirate Blackbeard and vodun magicians. Assuming Depp signs on (which has not happened officially yet), this seems like the most likely story. As for Marshall directing, it’s an interesting jump for a guy who has delivered films like Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago, but I think it could work. Remember, Gore Verbinski’s major credit before the first Pirates movie was The Ring. I’d say Marshall has a solid jump on that pedigree.

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