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Monday Mouse Watch: Is Gore Verbinski looking to bail on "Pirates 4" ?

Monday Mouse Watch: Is Gore Verbinski looking to bail on "Pirates 4" ?

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First the good news: The rumors that you've hearing are true. Johnny Depp actually has told the folk at Walt Disney Studios that he'd be willing to reprise the role of Capt. Jack Sparrow. Which is why the Mouse has already tentatively made plans to shoot "Pirates 4" in 2009. With the hope that this film could then be the studio's tent pole for the summer of 2009.

Now the bad news: When Johnny finally swaggers back in front of the camera, his longtime collaborator -- director Gore Verbinski (Who has helmed all three installments of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" series to date: 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl," 2006's "Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest" and 2007's "At World's End") -- may not be there to say "Action !"


Gore Verbinski (in red) directing Johnny Depp during
the production of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises, LLC / Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Why For? Because -- as author Berkeley Breathed explained this past Friday night on the first stop of his "Mars Needs Moms!" book tour:

"Gore's sick of pirates. If I wrote a scene that had to be shot on water, he'd run the other way."

And Breathed? He's in a really good position to know Verbinski's mindset these days. Given that Berkeley & Gore are now working together to try & turn Breathed's 2003 children's book, "Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton "Last Chance" Dog Pound" into a CG film for Walt Disney Pictures.


Copyright 2003 Berkeley Breathed / Little, Brown Young Readers

Berkeley views adapting "Flawed Dogs" for the big screen as something as a challenge. Given that ...

" ... There's only a hint of a story in the book. But all of the characters and settings that you need for a fun movie are there."

Mind you, Gore Verbinski isn't the only A-Lister that Breathed is working with these days. As he revealed at last Friday night's signing at Willow Books & Café in Acton, MA. :

"Robert Zemeckis is doing the movie version of 'Mars Needs Moms ! ' They're working on the script now."

Now what's interesting about "Mars Needs Moms !" is that this Breathed book was also optioned by the Mouse. Which means that the movie version of this children's story could be one of the very first projects to be produced by Disney's new ImageMovers Digital unit. You know? That state-of-the-art performance capture studio that Mickey's in the process of setting up for Zemeckis. Which would then be housed in an old airplane hanger on what used to be the Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato, CA.


Robert Zemeckis

Still -- given that he tried for years to get a movie version of his "Red Ranger Came Calling" children's book produced (Only to have that project repeatedly fall apart because -- according to Hollywood conventional wisdom -- kids won't watch period pieces. Which are too expensive to shoot anyway) -- Berkeley knows better than to predict when "Flawed Dogs" and "Mars Needs Moms !" will turn up at a theater near you. For now, he's just enjoying working with Verbinski and Zemeckis. As well as spending time in Santa Barbara with his wife and two young children.

And then -- of course -- there's Opus. That neurotic penguin who's been the star of all three of Breathed's comic strips, "Bloom County," "Outland" and "Opus." Recently, there have been a number of newspaper stories about how Berkeley was supposedly making plans to kill off his signature character. Which the cartoonist now denies.

That said, Breathed has been toying with once again shutting down his Sunday strip. And one of the ways that he's considering staging Opus's exit is reportedly given his syndication syndicate absolute heart failure.

"The weekend after Bush leaves office, I'd like to run a strip where Opus is standing on an aircraft carrier with a big 'Mission Accomplished' banner behind him."

Which -- given some of the pokes that "Opus" has taken at our Commander in Chief over the past few years ...


Copyright 2004 Berkeley Breathed

... only seems appropriate.


Copyright 2006 Berkeley Breathed

Anyway ... If you yourself would like to hear what Berkeley has to say and/or get an autographed copy of his latest children's book, "Mars Needs Moms !," his book tour continues this week. Which this Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist still scheduled to make appearances at:

  • Barnes & Noble at 91 Old Country Road in Carle Place, NY. Berkeley will be appearing in this store on Monday, May 7th starting at 6 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 516-741-9850.

  • Anderson's Bookshop at 123 West Jefferson in Naperville, IL. Breathed will be appearing at this shop on Tuesday, May 8th starting at 6 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 630-355-2665.
  • Third Place Books at 17171 Bothell Way in Lake Forest Park, WA. Berkeley will be appearing at this bookstore on Thursday, May 10th starting at 7 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 206-366-3333.
  • Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore at 11975 San Vicente Blvd. in the center of Los Angeles' Brentwood district. Breathed will be appearing at this store on Friday, May 11th starting at 6:30 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 310-476-6263.


Berkeley Breathed

  • Books, Inc. at 1344 Park Street in Alameda, CA. Berkeley will be appearing at this store on Saturday, May 12th starting at 11 a.m. For further information about this event, please call 510-522-2226.
  • Kepler's at 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, CA. Breathed will be appearing at this bookstore on Saturday, May 12th starting at 4 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 650-324-4321.
  • Warwick's at 7812 Girard Avenue in La Jolla, CA. Berkeley will be appearing in this store on Sunday, May 13th at 2 p.m. For further information about this event, please call 858-454-0347.

Getting back to "Pirates of the Caribbean" now ... Should Gore Verbinski actually opt out of directing "Pirates 4" ... Well, that may cause some problems at the Breathed household. Given that (As Breathed explained in a recent interview with the A.V. Club) ...

"... My 4-year-old son retrieves a pirate pistol and sword and acts out the entire movie, shooting and stabbing everyone in the family, all of whom are amused except for Pickles the pit bull."

Here's hoping that Gore Verbinski uses "Flawed Dog" as a well deserved break from working on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Rather than as an excuse to not direct "Pirates 4."

Your thoughts?

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  • I hate to say this but, I need a break from POTC movies. I love them but as many other films have proven, the public tends to grow tired of a series after the third film.

  • Maybe Disney should wait awhile, then adapt POTC to the small screen. "Superman" is doing well as "Smallville". Maybe POTC could be called "Port Royal."

  • wec is TOTALLY on point...  From what I've heard of Shrek and Spiderman, sequels are certainly going to disappoint a bit this summer.  I suspect "sequel fatigue" is going to hit the movie going public over the next few months.  A $300M pirate movie may not be the money-in-the-bank Disney thinks.  Leave POTC alone!  Do an "Indy."  Some years down the road, bring it back after we've had time to miss it!

  • Sequel fatigue, and still "Spider-Man 3" is breaking all records.....

    I think that if they released "Pirates IV" in 2010, it would be a larger hit. It will be more anticipated than, after they wait a while. But they shouldn't make one without Verbinski!! That would ruin everything.

    "ImageMovers"? They choose a really.. original and inspiring name for it.. not.. Getting sick of Zemeckis and motion-capture.

  • Is POTC3 in the can yet?

  • Who cares, but does anyone besides me think that Berk Breathed bears a striking resemblance to Judge Harry Stone (aka Harry Anderson) from Night Court??

  • it will be interesting to see what the final box office for spidey 3 will be. Yes, it did break records this weekend but most of the people I know who saw it were pretty mixed about how they felt about it. We will see after next weekend.

  • If Breathed is really thinking about shutting down Opus, good riddance. Outland was a disaster and I'll bet Opus is doing poorly in syndication as well. Breathed was never much more than a Doonesbury wanna-be. When his latest waste of newsprint disappears, Bush should stand in front of a national forest with a sign saying "Another tree saved". ;)

    My nephew saw Spidey III and hated it, FWIW. I enjoyed the first two but I doubt I'll see this one. I'm focusing on Shrek and POTC III. Can't wait for those.

  • empoor said:

    ""ImageMovers"? They choose a really.. original and inspiring name for it.. not.. Getting sick of Zemeckis and motion-capture."

    ImageMovers was formed in 1997, so its been around for quite some time.  It's nothing new..."ImageMovers Digital" is just the new name for the Zemeckis/Disney side of it.  In terms of originality...how is it any worse than most of the extremely bland names for other big prod. companies like Jerry Bruckheimer Films?  

  • Falfa31 said:

    "ImageMovers was formed in 1997, so its been around for quite some time.  It's nothing new..."ImageMovers Digital" is just the new name for the Zemeckis/Disney side of it.  In terms of originality...how is it any worse than most of the extremely bland names for other big prod. companies like Jerry Bruckheimer Films?"

    I knew that, but I always thought a "creative" company like Disney could have come up with a new, inspiring name for it.

    And of course there are a lot of "+ Films" or "+ Studios" production companies out there, but once in a while I come across original names, and that always refreshes me. In my opinion, the last "new" big studio with the most inspiring name was "DreamWorks" (although I hate the brand name "Go Fish Pictures"), and what I also absolutely hated was "The Weinstein Company" after they had such a good start with the combination of their parents names into "Miramax". Such a waste and a shame the Weinsteins couldn't come up with something more inspiring this time. Well, maybe not such a surprise since they lost their touch nowadays.

  • Yeah... completely uninspired names.

    Kinda like that non-creative company... oh what's it's name...? You know, the one that names things after... oh what's his name? You know, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, W.E.D. And how horrible is it when that same company uses such mundane things like street names and such to call things. Buena Vista? Hyperion? Puh-leaze!!!

    C'mon people. Really. Do you really spend time fretting over these names?

    When you can show me how a name affects production of said product, then I will listen. Until then I'm just gonna shake my head at all of you.

  • You said it yourself. You answered your own question :P

    "Disney" in itself is a brand with an inspiring message attached to it, regardless if it is also a surname. And the brand name "Disney" affects production of its products and how people look up to that product and conceive it ;)

  • First things First!

    Opus Rocks!

    Second...Oy! We'll direct it-write it!

    Hey-You get built in Storyboards ,Ad and Merch designers! : D

    I promise the only thing that can get tired of-is dealing with studio politics : P

    hummm....nevermind....I don't want to deal with the studio EEP!

    lol

  • Exactly what "mission" would Breathed be talking about, there?  Waiting eight years?

    As for Verbinski, Disney shouldn't rely too heavily on one director if they want the franchise to go on for a long time.  The longest running film series, James Bond, never relied on one director to carry it.

  • Empoor... are you impying that the 'Disney' name came with all the perks it now garners? I would disagree. The 'Disney' name had to EARN its reputation.

    Maybe my question was too 'gray' in the way I worded it.

    How does a name negatively impact the quality of the product that said company produces? It doesn't in my opinion. You could make up the stupidest name imaginable and if your product is great, people will love the name and it will become cool.

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