"Pirates of Caribbean" turns 4, seek fountain of youth

Tue May 17, 2011 12:51pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For the past four years, "Pirates" fans everywhere have been languishing in the doldrums. But relief is finally on the horizon.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," the fourth movie in the lucrative Disney franchise, sets sail in U.S. theaters on Friday as one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the summer.

Shot for the first time in 3D, Johnny Depp is back as Capt. Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush returns as Barbossa in a new quest -- for the elusive Fountain of Youth -- that involves old rivalries and plenty of new attractions, including beautiful, semi-nude vampire-mermaids and zombie pirates.

Newcomers Ian McShane (the evil pirate Blackbeard) and Penelope Cruz (his bad ass daughter Angelica) take over from Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, while Rob Marshall comes in as director from three-timer Gore Verbinski.

In a summer packed with superheroes and sequels, producer Jerry Bruckheimer said that "On Stranger Tides" is one of the first big adventure films to shoot in 3D on location, rather than against a green screen or entirely on sound stages.

But it's Depp's character, partially modeled after Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards (who once again plays Sparrow's father) whose larger-than-life persona holds the enterprise together.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise has made $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office so far, and turbo-charged Depp's career.

Depp happily admits that his pirate alter ego has been hard to shake, even in his private life.   Continued...