“Honestly, at this time it’s just a rumor.”
That sounds forboding to me. “At this time…” means that it’s not entirely a rumor. It hints that Disney and Zac Efron of High School Musical have been talking about bringing him aboard the PotC francise, and says to me that Disney is circulating these rumors to determine whether they lead to good buzz or bad buzz.
Efron is already part of the Disney family, as is Pirates of the Caribbean. Young kids probably love him, so naturally Disney would think they could use this to their marketing advantage. To me, this is exactly the sort of misguided demographic pandering that Disney is all too capable of. Never mind a script, never mind the creative process – just determine whether they can guss Efron up in pirate garb, slap the image on a pillowcase, and sell it to pre-teen girls.