Margot Robbie in talks to replace Johnny Depp in 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'

Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer has confirmed that actress Margot Robbie is being considered to lead a spin-off of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Bruckheimer, 78, explained how two scripts had been written, "Yes. We're talking to Margot Robbie, We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without."

The female-led sequel was first heard about back in June 2020, when the Hollywood Reporter shared that Robbie was set to star in a Pirates spin-off, written by Christina Hodson. Hodson had just finished writing Birds of Prey, Robbie's Harley Quinn film.

Bruckheimer bringing up the project again is a hopeful sign and suggests he's serious about getting the film made. However, the producer made no mention of whether Hodson was still set to write after their superhero collaboration bombed at the box office.

The producer also commented on what he believes is the state of the industry and some of its biggest stars. He explained how he feels fewer female stars carry the same weight at the box office than their male counterparts.

"Women are harder. It's just not that strong a list yet," he said.

Alongside the potential role for Robbie, the billionaire producer also confirmed a direct continuation of the series is being worked on. It seems unlikely Depp would return given his past comments about the franchise and current court proceedings.

There were initially rumours that Depp would be back to star in the film, but in a 2019 interview, Bruckheimer was quick to squash those ideas. When asked if Depp would be back, the producer told the Times, "Not at this point", before adding, "The future is yet to be decided".

Depp, 58, is involved in a brutal libel case with ex-wife Amber Heard after he sued her for defamation following her 2018 Washington Post op-ed where it is believed Heard was accusing Depp of domestic violence.

The actor's starring role in the POTC franchise was brought up during the trial, with Depp alleging that even if Disney offered him all the money "on this earth", he still would not reprise the role.

Heard's lawyer Ben Rottenborn then said: "The fact is, Mr Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates Of The Caribbean film? Correct?"

Depp agreed: "That is true, Mr Rottenborn".

Depp said that even if Disney offered him all the money "on this earth", he still would not reprise the role as Captain Jack. Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty

Robbie seems keen to try her hand at new roles after two recent comic book films ended up disappointing at the box office. She is set to appear in David O. Russell's newest drama Amsterdam alongside a stacked supporting cast that includes Robert De Niro, Taylor Swift and Mike Myers.

The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star is also slated to appear in new films by Damien Chazelle and Wes Anderson, furthering her passion for working with esteemed auteurs.

However, big-budget franchise movies aren't off the table either, and Robbie will be starring in Greta Gerwig's upcoming live-action Barbie movie.

Bruckheimer meanwhile, is riding high after his latest sequel Top Gun: Maverick earned rave pre-release reviews. It currently sits at a 97 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics praising it as better than the original.

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.