Today’s Los Angeles Times interview article on PIRATES 4 with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and screenwriting duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio proves a small treasure trove of minor scene spoilers and secrets!
The central point of the article illustrates how new Disney studio Chairman Rich Ross is mandating all film projects including the costly-yet-lucrative PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise. Commentary by Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall confirm the production team supports the tightening of swashbuckler belts making this fourth adventure of Jack Sparrow.
But the crew dropped some surprising scene tidbits to tantalize you fans as well, including a couple scenes which have been cut from the script to save millions from production costs. This first quote estimates the budget for ON STRANGER TIDES:
With the fourth installment of the swashbuckling tale poised to start shooting June 14, Bruckheimer and the filmmakers are scrambling to meet the more constrained budget that Disney is imposing. Although it’s still large — north of $200 million — it is at least a third less than the last “Pirates” movie and includes far fewer shooting days and visual effects shots.
Consolidating production locations also saved millions in PIRATES 4 costs, sending the cast and massive crew to only two major destinations in the Pacific and Europe, filming on a schedule two-thirds as long as AT WORLD’S END ran:
To save more money, the number and selection of filming locations changed. Whereas the prior installments were shot in the Caribbean and Los Angeles, the upcoming production will be filmed primarily in Hawaii and London, where tax credits are more favorable. The number of shooting days scheduled is 90 to 95, down from 142 on the last movie. Similarly, there are expected to be 1,300 to 1,400 visual effects shots, compared with 2,000.
Writers Elliott and Rossio were urged to keep a good portion of Jack Sparrow’s actions on dry land to scale back some of the huge, unpredictable costs incurred while filming at sea on vintage and recreated pirate ships. Accordingly star Johnny Depp and crew will face plenty of adventure on the terra firma in England, and do so in fewer budget-busting sequences including this deleted scenario:
The filmmakers are also looking to shorten an elaborate carriage chase. As written, the scene in which the British pursue Jack Sparrow through the streets of London would require 12 shooting days, but it is being cut to four to six days . . . An “ice fair,” in which jugglers and carnival acts would perform on a frozen River Thames, was excised too.
It certainly sounds like there may be a bit of off-season winter adventure for our Caribbean captain if all the London scenes were to be filmed in the same story timeframe, which might also imply that shooting in London may be saved for the end of PIRATES 4’s schedule around late-August or early September (given the confirmed June start-date of production in Hawaii). Yet FilmEdge gets the speculative hunch that the United Kingdom scenes might appear at the beginning of the story with Jack landlocked in London — if indeed Sparrow goes in search of a rumored Fountain of Youth, which according to some legends existed in Florida back in the warm-water Caribbean. Might Jack Sparrow end up in a British prison to start the film, having been (temporarily) keelhauled for his infamous piracy, only to escape (and be chased in carriages) to return to the Black Pearl, sailing southwest back to the Caribbean seeking the better climates and context of his youth?
We’ll know more as we sail onward toward PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES just over the horizon, mates! Keep a weather eye open for more news as FilmEdge finds it.