Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) takes on zombies, mermaids... and Penelope Cruz
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Credit: Peter Mountain

STARRING Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane
DIRECTED BY Rob Marshall

Those who know the backstory of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now understand that you need to be very brave, or very foolish, to film in a jungle. And Coppola didn't have to deal with 3-D cameras. "I couldn't decide if we were stupid or pioneers," says director Rob Marshall, who kicked off the production of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in some of Hawaii's leafier locales before moving to L.A., Puerto Rico, and London. "But there's nothing like doing it for real and not being on a stage with a green screen." Marshall (Chicago) replaces Gore Verbinski, who opted to leave the franchise after directing the first three films. Other fresh faces include Ian McShane, who plays the evil Blackbeard, and Penélope Cruz, who portrays Blackbeard's daughter, Angelica. There is also a new quest, for the Fountain of Youth — plus zombies and mermaids.

Of course, Johnny Depp returns as Capt. Jack Sparrow, and Keith Richards reprises his role as Jack's father. "We needed his character back," says Depp of Richards. "That was one of the things I felt very strongly about." What was it like to hang out with the Rolling Stones legend again? "It was perfection!" laughs Depp. Marshall relished the chance to work with Richards too. "I did not expect him to be so funny," says the director. "After one take I said, ‘Keith, you're such a good actor.' He said, ‘You should see my Hamlet!"' —Clark Collis