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Ian McShane for Blackbeard?

Just a few weeks back we were reporting that Spanish beaut Penelope Cruz was in talks to join Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides .

This week’s bit of Pirates casting news (courtesy of Heat Vision ) is equally as breath-bating, with Golden Globe-winning Brit actor Ian McShane linked to the role of infamous pirate Blackbeard.

So whereas Cruz is reportedly in line to play Cap’n Jack Sparrow’s “foil and equal in many ways”, McShane is looking to be the villain of the piece.

Or at least a very shady sparring partner who makes life difficult for our favourite rum chugger.

If we weren’t excited for a fourth Pirates flick (after the damp squids, um, squibs of the other sequels), McShane’s involvement definitely bodes well. Charismatic and tough as old boots, he could be Tides ’ not-so-secret weapon for success.

The character of Blackbeard is also a perfect fit for the former Lovejoy . More of a conquering Admiral (he led a fleet of pirate ships), he’s famously difficult to kill – it took a sword in the back and quite a bit of hacking before he finally relented.

Could McShane save Tides from being so much driftwood?