Rob Marshall eyes 'Pirates of the Caribbean'

Choreographer-turned-director in talks to helm next film

Are you ready to see Jack Sparrow swashbuckle his way through a big, flashy musical number?

Choreographer-turned-director Rob Marshall is in talks to take the wheel of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise from director Gore Verbinski. Disney and series producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been eager to set sail on a fourth installment with star Johnny Depp back in his bandana as Sparrow as early as next year.

Verbinski, with scripts from Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, directed the first three films to $2.67 billion in worldwide grosses. (The most recent, "At World's End," was released in 2007.) When Verbinski exited the franchise in April, the studio sought a fresh take to continue the pirate voyage on a potentially smaller scale. (The past two pictures cost north of $400 million combined.)

Marshall, who is finishing up the Weinstein Co. musical "Nine" for a November release, is not an obvious choice for a loud action-and-mayhem tentpole. But presumably, if he can corral the singing, acting and dancing talents of Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Stacy Ferguson, he can handle cannon battles, funny monkeys and angry natives.

The CAA-repped Marshall has directed the films "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Chicago," which in 2002 won six Oscars, including best picture.