Rob Marshall and Johnny DeppIs the 'Pirates' life for Rob Marshall?

According to Variety, it is. The trade reports that the choreographer-turned-director -- who scored an Oscar-winning hit with 2002's 'Chicago' and is currently wrapping production on the star-studded musical 'Nine' -- is "on the verge" of taking over for Gore Verbinski (who left to pursue a 'Bioshock' movie) at the helm of 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4.' Get more 'Pirates 4' news after the jump. Rob Marshall and Johnny DeppIs the 'Pirates' life for Rob Marshall?

According to Variety, it is. The trade reports that the choreographer-turned-director -- who scored an Oscar-winning hit with 2002's 'Chicago' and is currently wrapping production on the star-studded musical 'Nine' -- is "on the verge" of taking over for Gore Verbinski (who left to pursue a 'Bioshock' movie) at the helm of 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4.'

With just two musicals and the adaptation of 'Memoirs of Geisha' under his feature directorial belt, Marshall isn't the most obvious choice to steer the mammoth $2.6 billion-grossing franchise back into theaters. But with Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer looking to scale back the very waterlogged $200M-apiece budgets and epic scope of the last two 'Pirates' adventures to focus more on character, Marshall suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.

So what do we know about 'Pirates 4' so far? Most importantly, Johnny Depp has been primed, pumped and officially attached to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow for some time -- so with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney gearing up for a 2010 production start, Depp will likely be able to film his fourth turn as the swashbuckling pirate before tackling the part of Tonto in Disney's 'Lone Ranger' reboot. And, in sadder news, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom won't be returning as star-crossed lovers Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner because a) their story kind of wrapped up nicely in 'At World's End' and b) they cost a lot of money.

Other than that, we're not sure what to expect of a Verbinksi-, Knightley- and Bloom-free 'Pirates' from the director of 'Chicago.' For all we know, Jack could spontaneously bust out a showtune or two. After all, it wouldn't be that out of character. -- By Tom DiChiara

What do you think of Rob Marshall taking over as skipper of Disney's 'Pirates' ship? Sound off below.




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