It’s not the most shocking news story of the day, not least considering that Disney was rumoured to be talking about a fresh Jack Sparrow outing last year. But it’s now been confirmed by the studio that Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 is officially in development, although no release date for the film has yet been set.
In the spirit of us being kind and helpful, and in wanted to see the Pirates franchise return to the joys of the first, here are our ten suggestions for ensuring that further adventures of Jack Sparrow head in the right direction….1. Let your screenwriters finish the script. While it all sounds joyful to tell the story about how shooting started without a finished screenplay, this is not A Good Thing. As Mark Kermode noted in his review of the third Pirates movie, it seemed to finish shooting with a finished script, too. So top suggestion: don’t shoot a single frame of footage until you’ve locked down the script.2. Hire an editor, and listen to them. Whether it was a by-product of the truncated production time, the last two Pirates films were flabby, and urgently needed at least half an hour taking off each. Nigh-on three hours of watching characters meandering around takes some skill to pull off. Pirates 3 didn’t manage it.3. Shoot sequels one at a time. The back to back idea may have saved a few quid, but it hurt the films themselves. Big blockbusters clearly need heavy crafting, so build in the time to do so, by making them one at a time.4. Just one Jack Sparrow. By the time the umpteenth iteration of Jack Sparrow popped up, Animal House-style, in At World’s End, we can’t have been the only ones getting – whisper it – slightly bored of Depp’s pirate. Less is surely more here.
5. Give Geoffrey Rush more to do. In Pirates 1, Geoffrey Rush was brilliant, given good lines, and allowed to really get his teeth into things. In Pirates 3, his primary role seemed to be to drive the boat, acting as a pirate SatNav. He barely said a funny thing in the whole flick, and that really needs sorting out.
6. Let Orlando go. We’re not jumping on the anti-Orlando bandwagon here, but his character has run its course, and a fourth film that attempted to shoehorn everyone back in would be a A Bad Thing. And Orlando is surely the most likely candidate for the chop.
7. Let’s have more than two minutes of Keith Richards. The whole having Richards playing Sparrow’s father thing was a good idea. The blink and you miss him cameo that it resulted in barely even registered. Either commit to it, or don’t. But half measures are not good.8. Concentrate the narrative. This inevitably ties into point one, but don’t get carried away with giving every character a little subplot. Instead, map out a story arc, and get on with telling that story well. By all means include smaller arcs as part of that, but keep them under control.
9. Cast Robert Downey Jr as something. But that’s just common sense these days.
10. The crucial bit: hire someone to call bullshit. Don’t believe all of your own hype, and put people in place who can tell you when you’re going on off an ego trip, and when you’re actually making a decent film.
And did we mention you should cast Robert Downey Jr?