1. Alfonso Cuaron
Why him? We know, we know… We pimp him out whenever there’s an open directing assignment. But there’s a reason: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban was great and Children Of Men amazing.
He’s experienced stepping into huge blockbuster franchise and not screwing it up. And he might find a way to make the characters’ stories more engaging than the bland Keira/Orlando guff of the last two.
Why not him? We’re not sure he’d actually want to take on another big studio job, since he seems to be sticking to smaller scale work these days. And his development schedule is awfully busy, to boot.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Alfonso!! I don’t care that you didn’t put one into Potter, I saw Children Of Men and I want that tracking shot! Get me a 19-minute Steadicam moment into this movie or you’re canned!”[page-break]
2. Timur Bekmambetov
Why him? The OTT director behind the Night Watch trilogy and Wanted is the sort of fizzing injection of energy the Pirates movies need if they’re going to sail off into another trilogy.
Wanted may have divided audiences, but it was pure fun. Oh, and Bekmambetov is obsessed with Moby Dick, so he could bring all his sea-faring research to the movie.
Why not him? He might be a little too much, even for the Pirates franchise. While he’s got wacked-out style down pat, the one thing Wanted didn’t boast was truly great characters.
We also fear he’d butt heads with the studio a little too much, risking huge production delays. Not a new development with weather-troubled series, but hardly something Disney will want to risk.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Timur! Stop sending me sweary voicemails in Russian! I had them translated and I will not do that with my mother! Get back to work!"[page-break]
2. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Why him? Before the beauty of Amelie, Jeunet specialised in bringing quirky stories that were also filled with intriguing and occasionally epic effects. The City Of Lost Children is evidence alone.
And while A Very Long Engagement wasn’t perfect, it proved he could wrangle an even bigger scale.
Why not him? Alien Resurrection. Yeah, we said it. The last time Jeunet tried melding his sensibility with Hollywood product, the result was not pretty.
It’s tough to blame him completely, though, but it’s not hard to see why he hasn’t tried to work in America since. Perhaps we’d all be better off if he stayed bringing out solid work in France.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Jean-Pierre! I don’t care if you were trying to get the perfect shot! Johnny spending 17 hours up to his hat in water is not good for his health! 15 hours max!”[page-break]
3. Peter Weir
Why him? His experience with sea-set epics is proven thanks to Master And Commander. Box office be damned, it’s a great film.
Weir always does interesting work, and we’d love to see what he could do given free reign on a mega-budget movie.
Why not him? He made Green Card. Kidding! We just don’t think there’d be enough to keep him interested.
Oh, and the last time he tried to work with Johnny Depp (on abortive gun-runner drama Shantaram), the pair didn’t see eye to eye and Weir left the film. No one needs to see that happen in the middle of Pirates 4.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Peter, please quit sending Russell Crowe round to my office to personally deliver your responses to my suggestions. I’ve spent nearly the budget of the last film getting the walls fixed!”[page-break]
4. Yimou Zhang
Why him? Because we want to mix things up a little. He’s the man who made House Of Flying Daggers and he’d bring a very different feeling to the film.
Think of the insane action! The lunatic fight scenes! He’s also solid when it comes to dramatics.
Why not him? While he can handle all of that, we worry that he wouldn’t want to attempt a big CG movie. And it's hard to make giant Krakens and squid-people without a computer.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Zhang! I know stunt regulations in China are a little more lax, but the unions are going crazy at the danger levels! No, five drownings is NOT the legal limit. Zero is! Make sure everyone survives!”[page-break]
5. Tim Burton
Why him? There’s no denying he’s got the visual and stylistic chops to bring something fresh to the franchise.
Can you imagine a port, big boat or sea-monster gang designed by Burton’s team? It would be a sight to behold. And the merchandise / Burger King tie-in would be incredible.
Why not him? He’d insist on Johnny Depp in the starring role as usual… Wait, what? Oh, right. Never mind, then.
But his fantasy-tinged work has gotten patchier over time. Sweeny Todd wasn’t his best, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was okay and the less said about those damn dirty apes, the better.
Sample Jerry Bruckheimer note: “Jesus Christ, Tim? Does it have to be so dark? I can barely see Johnny in half of these shots. And are you really married to the idea of Helena Bonham Carter cross-dressing as Jack’s brother?”
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