Articles from August 2004

French director Yvan Attal talks about casting Johnny~~

In a charming interview, French director Yvan Attal discusses how he happened to approach Johnny Depp about playing his heroine’s “dream man” in his film ILS SE MARIERENT . . . . Why did he think of Johnny to play the fantasy of a perfect man? Attal replies, “When I wrote the script I thought…who will be this guy for whom all women will fall? And…right away I thought about him!” Don’t miss Attal’s account of having dinner with Johnny and Vanessa, or his feelings when he captured Johnny in his camera lens for the first time. The full interview is available on the Zone’s News & Views board. We thank Frenchy very much for her translation–merci beaucoup, Frenchy!–and JPduQuebec for posting the interview on the Zone.

Screening times set for Johnny Depp films at the Toronto Film Festival~~

The Toronto Film Festival will screen THE LIBERTINE as a work-in-progress at 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 16th and again at noon on Saturday, September 18th. Yvan Attal’s film, ILS SE MARIERENT . . . , in which Johnny has a cameo role as the heroine’s dream lover, will be shown at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 14 and again at 9:45 a.m. (yes, in the morning) on Thursday, September 16th. Festival-goers could have a double-dip of Depp on Thursday!

The Toronto Film Festival press release for THE LIBERTINE calls Johnny’s casting as the Earl of Rochester “inspired” and praises the complexity and richness of his performance: “Depp’s portrayal adroitly combines an unabashed lust for life and sheer drunken hedonism with a deep sense of sorrow, loss and regret. [. . .]The Earl is not particularly likeable and is a figure of both our contempt and envy, yet it is the very complexity of his character that allows Depp to move beyond proto-rock star swaggering and endear himself to us. His outward brilliance conceals a deep melancholic understanding that he is an earthy man living in an age devoted to enlightenment. This irony is reflected in the film’s blend of sophisticated scripting and sheer delight in the Earl’s depravity, making THE LIBERTINE an irresistible mixture of wit, vulgarity, romance and tragedy.”

Thanks to FANtasticJD for posting the TFF press release. Variety staff reporter Dana Harris predicts a bidding war among U.S. distributors for THE LIBERTINE, based on the Toronto screenings. We certainly hope so! Thanks to DeepinDepp for posting the Variety article.

FINDING NEVERLAND screening a big hit in the Hamptons

Kurt Vonnegut watched FINDING NEVERLAND with tears rolling down his cheeks. Director Julian Schnabel and his kids arrived late, and Schnabel persuaded the projectionist to re-screen the three reels they had missed. When there were no more seats, affluent Hamptons residents plopped down in the aisles rather than be turned away. And no one left disappointed. A local reporter in attendance sums up the first screening: “FINDING NEVERLAND is getting a great reaction out here.” Thanks, Emma, for sharing the story–the public seems to love this movie whenever they get the chance to see it! For the full report from The Hamptons Magazine, go here .

Extras for 21 JUMP STREET DVD announced–but no Johnny interview~~

The first season of 21 JUMP STREET will appear on DVD in October. All thirteen episodes, including the two-part pilot, will be included. Extras include all-new interviews with stars Holly Robinson Peete, Dustin Nguyen, Steven Williams and series co-creator Stephen J. Cannell. One episode will feature an exclusive audio commentary with star Peter DeLuise. Johnny Depp, the series’ breakout star and the reason it became, as the publicity release asserts, “one of the coolest cop shows in TV history,” is notably absent from the list of participants here. That’s hardly surprising, given his attitude toward the show. We’ll settle for reminiscences from the others who worked on JUMP STREET, and fresh sharp images to replace our grainy videotapes. Thanks to DeepinDepp for the update.

New POTC DVD release to include a 3rd disc–"The Lost Disc" version available November 2nd~~

The new Region 1 release of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN which arrives in stores November 2nd will include a third disc containing “eight never-before-seen bonus features.” No details as yet about what those new features on the “Lost Disc” might be, but it looks as if the corporate pirates at Disney have found a way to make us open our wallets for Captain Jack Sparrow one more time. Thanks to Joy at DVD.answers.com for sharing her expertise, and to Kazren for reporting it and sending the artwork. We don’t know what’s on the new disc but it looks like this

Rumor: Johnny Depp to film TOM MIX AND PANCHO VILLA for director Tony Scott?

The office of the secretary of Tourism for Mexico issued a press release on August 26 which claimed that “the American actor Johnny Depp will return to Mexico next year to shoot the film TOM MIX AND PANCHO VILLA, under the direction of Tony Scott.” There has been no comment, official or otherwise, from Johnny or his representatives, so this project is only a rumor. Emma reports that the script is based on Clifford Irving’s novel of the same name: “The story of an idealistic actor who leaves the comforts of Texas to join up with a revolutionary who would not embrace modern technology, even when the government was conscripting German fighter planes to bomb him and tanks to blast his armies.” It is not clear from the press release whether Scott wants Johnny to play iconic cowboy hero Tom Mix, the fiery revolutionary Pancho Villa–or both roles. The Zone thanks Emma for the story.

Say it isn't so . . . Miramax to postpone FINDING NEVERLAND's release again?

Deja vu all over again . . . Emma reports that FINDING NEVERLAND director Marc Forster told the audience at the Boston preview screening on August 23rd that Miramax had pushed back FINDING NEVERLAND’S U.S. release date from Thanksgiving to Christmas! There is as yet no confirmation from Miramax of the latest postponement. The delay seems foolhardy to Depp fans, who have been waiting for this film for two years now. New York and Los Angeles will get a slightly earlier release date, but that’s no consolation to the rest of the continent. Our thanks to Emma for keeping us informed on this frustrating saga. We wish Miramax would pick a FINDING NEVERLAND release date and stick to it–and the earlier the date, the happier we’ll be!

Chicago Film Festival picks FINDING NEVERLAND as its Centerpiece Screening!

Heads up, Windy City residents–a special screening of FINDING NEVERLAND, with director Marc Forster taking questions afterwards, is headed your way in mid-October! The 40th annual Chicago Film Festival has chosen to honor FINDING NEVERLAND by naming it as their Centerpiece Screening, which marks the mid-point of the festival which runs from October 7th through the 21st. This is a great showcase for the film and speaks well of the impression it must have made on the festival’s organizing committee. Congratulations to Johnny, Marc, and all the cast and crew of FINDING NEVERLAND!

The official date and time of the FINDING NEVERLAND screening has not yet been announced. The festival will release its screening schedule in mid-September. Individual tickets for all regular Festival screenings go on sale September 24th. Most Festival films will be shown at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.) as well as the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.) and Thorne Auditorium (375 E. Chicago Ave.). Ticket prices are usually (thank heavens!) quite modest, in the $10-$15 range. For information, call 312-332.FILM. The festival website doesn’t have much information available yet, but you may want to bookmark it to check for updates after Labor Day. Thanks to DeepinDepp for sharing the news!

New Johnny Depp photo in September 2004 edition of Flare Magazine~~

Photographer George Pimentel presents a new picture of Johnny in the latest issue of Flare Magazine, a Canadian fashion magazine. The “Photo Assignment” article features celebrity images and anecdotes by six different photographers. Pimentel recalls taking Johnny’s picture outside the St. Regis hotel in Los Angeles: “I heard Johnny Depp was doing a press junket and I decided to wait outside of the hotel with an autograph collector,” Pimentel reports. “As he came out, he was mobbed by fans. Even though he was running late, he signed every single autograph. I asked if he could look into my lens so I could get my one shot. When anyone asks me who the nicest celebrity I have encountered is, I always remember that moment with Johnny Depp.” Thanks to Emma for sharing this story with the Zone–yet more evidence of Johnny’s kindness to his fans.

Yo ho! Disney to release new DVD edition of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN on November 2!

Disney has announced a new DVD release of the Johnny Depp blockbuster PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Described as “a three-piece set,” the DVD will be in stores on November 2, 2004–just in time for the holiday gift-buying season. List price will be $29.99, but Amazon.com is offering a pre-order price of $20.99 plus shipping. The DVDs will be Region 1 only at this time. Disney has not yet released any details concerning the extras on the new version, or what that mysterious “third piece” of the set might be, so we don’t know what they are offering to tempt us to rebuy a film we already own. Many Zoners are hoping for a director’s cut of POTC which would restore their favorite deleted scenes. Thanks to Kellyr2 for sharing the news!

New North American release dates for FINDING NEVERLAND!

According to the Hollywood Stock Exchange, the wide release of FINDING NEVERLAND in North America has been pushed back from the previously announced date of October 22, 2004 to November 24, 2004–the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the United States. The top ten markets will get FINDING NEVERLAND in limited release on November 12, 2004. This is one occasion when it would be good to be on a top ten list! The Zone thanks Emma for the update.

New screening date for FINDING NEVERLAND in Venice–September 4th!

The screening date for FINDING NEVERLAND at the Venice Film Festival has been bumped up from September 10 to September 4, 2004, reports Angie. Angie, an Italian Zoner, had to cancel her hotel reservations and try to book new ones for the earlier date–basta! There has been no explanation, yet, for the change in schedule . . . but the FINDING NEVERLAND date was moved forward just as it was announced that THE LIBERTINE would be screened as a work-in-progress at the Toronto Film Festival on September 16, 2004. Perhaps that is only a coincidence, but we will hope, for our Canadian Zoners’ sakes, that it is cause-and-effect. With more time between screenings, perhaps Johnny can find a way to attend both film festivals and delight his fans on both sides of the Atlantic. One can only hope!

THE LIBERTINE to be shown at the Toronto Film Festival on September 16th!

Today’s Variety reports that Laurence Dunmore’s THE LIBERTINE, starring Johnny Depp as the Earl of Rochester, will be shown at the Toronto Film Festival next month. The screening is scheduled for Thursday, September 16, at 6:30 pm. A second showing will take place Saturday, September 18th, at noon. THE LIBERTINE will be one of the festival’s Special Presentations. A huge Zone thank-you to Sandstorm and Neophyte for bringing us this exciting news. Further information comes from DeepinDepp, who found a Canadian wire service story stating that THE LIBERTINE is not yet finished and is being shown as a “work-in-progress” at the festival.

Information on the Toronto Film Festival is available here . Single tickets for screenings can be ordered online, beginning Wednesday, September 8, 2004, at 7:00 a.m. EDT. For information on ordering screening tickets, click here .

Emma reports that Johnny is NOT on the official list of celebrities who will be attending the festival–here is the list of attendees. At this point, no one from THE LIBERTINE is confirmed as attending–not Johnny, not John Malkovich or Samantha Morton, not director Laurence Dunmore–which is rather unusual, but may be due to the film’s status as a work-in-progress. Perhaps the cast will be doing publicity via satellite to promote the film, or perhaps travel plans are not yet final. We certainly hope to see some of THE LIBERTINE’s talented team in Toronto, since the film still lacks a North American distributor, and the festival would provide an opportune moment to obtain a North American distribution deal. Fans would certainly like a chance to view the finished film someday!

Johnny's production company, Infinitum Nihil, picks a project–Jerry Stahl's I, FATTY

Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, optioned Jerry Stahl’s book I, FATTY, a fictionalized memoir of 20’s silent-film comedian Fatty Arbuckle. The first movie star ever to be trashed by the tabloids and have his career destroyed by false stories, Arbuckle has long been a figure of fascination for Johnny. Fatty Arbuckle was the first Hollywood star to have a million-dollar contract, but at the height of his fame, he was arrested for the murder of a starlet. Three murder trials later–two hung juries and an acquittal–Arbuckle’s career was in ruins. In the discussion on the News and Views forum, Neophyte points out that many of Johnny’s silent film routines in BENNY & JOON, including Sam’s famous cooking scenes, were actually inspired by Arbuckle’s routines.

Although the doomed Arbuckle–comic genius, heroin addict, tragic victim of media hysteria–would seem a character “right in Johnny’s wheelhouse,” as Entertainment Weekly would say, Johnny does NOT intend to play Arbuckle. “It would take a hell of a fat suit,” Johnny told the New York Times. But he does intend to be actively involved as the film’s producer. “It’s a period that’s the foundation of what we do,” Johnny told the Times, “and I want to make sure the film stays in the same arena as Jerry’s book.” Thanks to Gronki for breaking this story, and FANtasticJD for helping out with the Times article.

Master of Quirk: the American Film Institute honors Johnny Depp with his own film festival!

Fans in the Washington, DC area will have a chance to view what the American Film Institute deems Johnny’s best work: a Johnny Depp retrospective began last weekend at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring and will continue through Labor Day, September 6th. The AFI honors Johnny as “a serious, idiosyncratic actor undaunted by the challenge of bringing odd characters to life. Assuming roles that often obscure his boyish good looks, Depp has established a reputation as one of his generation’s premiere actors by taking chances in a wide array of projects helmed by visionary directors.”

The nine films AFI chose to represent the range and depth of Johnny’s work are CHOCOLAT, CRY BABY, DEAD MAN, DON JUAN DE MARCO, SLEEPY HOLLOW, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. POTC will be featured on Labor Day weekend. Adult tickets are $8.50, with a $1 off for senior or student discounts. Matinees are $5. For information, phone 301-495-6700. Thanks to Hana and Really for this great news.

Marc Forster at Philadelphia screening of FINDING NEVERLAND!

FINDING NEVERLAND’s director, Marc Forster, continued his road tour promoting the film, appearing on Sunday night in Philadelphia. Zoner Tattoo, who attended the screening,reports that Forster said the role of J. M. Barrie “was written for Johnny” and that “he couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role.” Forster had high praise for his “sweet and humble” star. He told moviegoers that Johnny would spend a couple of hours signing autographs for the hundreds of fans waiting in Hyde Park, even though Johnny was exhausted from a long day of shooting. Tattoo adds that she found the movie magical and that the audience loved it. Thanks, Tattoo!

New Johnny Depp interview with La Repubblica~~

The Venice Film Festival must be getting close–Johnny gave a brief interview to La Repubblica on Sunday. Besides confirming that Venice is his favorite film festival and that he will be there for the FINDING NEVERLAND screening on September 10th, Johnny also answered questions about CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, his Oscar nomination, and his role as J. M. Barrie. The Zone thanks Angie very much for translating the interview and posting it on the News & Views board.

FINDING NEVERLAND screening in Shreveport, LA on September 11!

An Associated Press wire story reports that Shreveport, Louisiana will host a screening of FINDING NEVERLAND on September 11, 2004, at The Strand Theatre. The film, in which Johnny Depp plays PETER PAN author J. M. Barrie, is the perfect choice to begin the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Peter Pan Centennial celebration. The event begins at 6 pm with pre-show entertainment. The stars of the film, however, are unlikely to attend, since FINDING NEVERLAND will be screened at the Venice Film Festival only one day earlier, on September 10. Johnny told La Reppublica that he will be attending the Venice festival again this year. The Zone thanks Really for breaking this story. You can read the full article here

Coming attractions–a MAKING OF THE LIBERTINE documentary!

Emma reports that brothers Corran and Arran Brownlee, who worked on storyboards for THE LIBERTINE, were granted the right to shoot a documentary about THE MAKING OF THE LIBERTINE. The brothers had access to the cast and crew; they were on the Isle of Man until wrap day, and returned to London with some 80 hours of tape, which they are presently editing. Thanks for the news, Emma! A shot from the Brownlee brothers website shows Michael Nyman recording THE LIBERTINE soundtrack. You can follow the filmmakers’ story on their website.

Music rumor: Johnny Depp to play guitar on new OASIS CD!

Depp fans who recall Johnny’s slide guitar work on Oasis’s “Fade In-Out” will not be surprised by a Sky News story that announces that Johnny will play guitar “on a few tracks” for the new Oasis CD. There is no word on how extensive his involvement might be or whether he will appear in any Oasis music videos. Thanks to Emma for finding this story.