April 21, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
STARRING Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy, Naomie Harris WRITTEN BY Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio DIRECTED BY Gore Verbinski

It’s official: Pirates are the rock stars of the new millennium. ”I’m sitting on a barge in the Caribbean,” says Orlando Bloom, calling from the set. He’s back to reprise his role as the hapless Will Turner, who teams up with his future bride (Knightley) to help the swaggering Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp) fend off nemesis Davy Jones (Nighy) and his army of creepy undead soldiers. ”We’ve all got trailers [out here] and we’re filming in that transparent turquoise water. It’s quite glamorous.”

Even so, the globe-trotting back-to-back shoot of the two follow-ups to 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has often felt more like a nerve-jangling plank walk for all involved. ”The size and scope is enormously ambitious,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who decided to shoot a Pirates twofer to avoid future scheduling nightmares with his increasingly Oscar-nominated cast. Bruckheimer’s airtight plan sprang a leak once hurricane season hit the Caribbean during production last fall. ”I think every movie made is over budget and over schedule,” Bruckheimer says. ”This picture had some weather problems. We had to take a hiatus early. But you make compromises and get it done.”

The filmmakers were dead set on amping up the realism, which meant more shooting on an actual boat docked just off the coast of the Bahamas. ”Somehow I thought it would be on soundstages, [but] most of it was on the water,” says Harris (also in this month’s Miami Vice), who plays a voodoo priestess. ”Loads of people got really sick. There were literally two people crawling on their hands and knees.” But Bloom understood the necessity of the high jinks on the high seas. ”It’s frustrating for everybody at different times,” he says. ”But we’re making a pirate movie, dude.” (July 7)

Miami Vice
STARRING Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Naomie Harris WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Michael Mann

First: There will be no pastel-colored blazers over T-shirts. No pet alligator named Elvis for Crockett. There won’t even be that Jan Hammer theme-song synthstravaganza. Director Michael Mann has stripped the ’80s-ness from the show he helped create and updated it with a gritty new look. Farrell and Foxx step into the roles of drug-world-infiltrating cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, made famous by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. ”The last thing I would have been interested in was just doing a remake,” says Mann. ”We’re doing Miami Vice as if there never had been a television series, doing it real. ”

Sounds simple enough, right? But if the rumors are to be believed, the Miami Vice shoot was anything but. Reports of trouble continually dogged the production: a ballooning budget, endless script revisions, biblical hurricanes, a gunfight involving a security guard in the Dominican Republic. Mann acknowledges the filming was ”certainly an adventure,” but he waves off the chatter around the film. ”We’re in the era of bloggers, and people can make stuff up,” he says. ”I just don’t worry about it.” Foxx agrees: ”There was a lot of exaggeration,” he says. ”A whole lot.”

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