The next installment of the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides, picked up a heavy-hitter today: Ian McShane as Captain Blackbeard. According to The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision blog, McShane joins Johnny Depp, who will be reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Penelope Cruz is also attached ("on board," if you want to go that way), in a role producers will only describe as Sparrow's "foil and equal in many ways." The film, based on Tim Powers' 1988 novel of the same name, which originated apart from the Pirates franchise, will center around the notorious Blackbeard and a search for the Fountain Of Youth. The script comes from Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who also wrote the first three films, while Rob Marshall will take over from Gore Verbinski as director. Leaving aside whether or not anyone should have bothered to make a fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie, snagging McShane feels like a smart move. Whether he's in eminently respectable fare like Deadwood, or eminently dumb crap like Death Race, McShane himself always turns in a solid performance. Here he is on Deadwood, in full bad-ass mode:

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