It's no longer a pirate's life for director Gore Verbinski, as he passes on the chance of directing a fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean film in favour of a big screen adaptation of the videogame Bioshock.
Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer now need to find a new director for Pirates IV, which was due to start production in 2010 with Johnny Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow. However, Variety notes that the film is only "in development" at the moment, and not officially greenlit, and Verbinski's decision could have a knock on effect on the production schedule. Various reports over the past 12 months also suggest that neither Keira Knightley or Orlando Bloom would return for a fourth film.
"I had a fantastic time bringing Pirates to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team," says Verbinski. "I'm looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future."
Verbinski will now concentrate on Bioshock for Universal. The story – a shoot-'em-up adventure set in an underwater city full of genetic nightmares – is being adapted by John (Gladiator) Logan, who's CV worryingly also includes such clunkers as Star Trek Nemesis, The Time Machine (remake), The Last Samurai and Bats.
Verbinski is also working on Rango a CG-animated film for Paramount Pictures, with Johnny Depp voicing the title character which is currently set for a March 2011 release. His production company, Blind Wink, is also developing a live-action version of Cluedo, and a drama about the online fantasy role-playing world and its debilitating impact on the real lives of players.