Articles from October 2004

Big night in the Big Apple–Johnny Depp accepts Actor's Fund Award!

Johnny Depp donned a tux Saturday night, October 30th, to accept the Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award from the Actor’s Fund. The gala was held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Academy Award winning actress Whoopi Goldberg presented Johnny with his award. It is a very great honor for an actor to win the Strasberg Award for his body of work, and the award is usually reserved for performers a generation older than Johnny. The awards committee is to be commended for tossing precedent aside and recognizing Johnny’s genius. Bravo!

The Zone thanks Donna B., Savvy, Bonnie, and DeepinDepp for posting dozens of beautiful pictures of the event on our News & Views and Recent Pics forum.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp in New York City now!

Lucky Deppheads glimpsed a dapper Johnny Depp on the streets of Manhattan today, October 30th; he signed autographs and posed for pictures with the waiting fans, many of whom were children. Johnny was doing some FINDING NEVERLAND promotion before his trip to the Waldorf Astoria tonight to accept the Lee Strasberg Award from the Actor’s Fund. Thanks to Larkwoodgirl for keeping us up-to-date!

Johnny Depp visits Chicago to tape THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW today!

Johnny Depp arrived in Chicago today to tape an appearance on OPRAH which will air next Tuesday, November 2nd. Zoner Lady Ashleen, who saw Johnny arrive at Harpo Studios in a black SUV, reports that he was accompanied by his partner Vanessa Paradis. Newbie shared some details from her friend Jenny, who was one of the lucky ladies who actually attended the taping today. Jenny reports that it was “amazing and surreal” to see Johnny in person and that he seemed shy. He wore a black jacket, a green shirt,and black boots, and looked “gorgeous.” Oprah presented Johnny with a bottle of red wine which they sipped throughout the show. Oprah teased Johnny about being “the sexiest man alive”–a compliment he waved away, of course–and asked him about the alleged “dumb puppy” comment, which Johnny carefully explained yet again. No word if Oprah asked about the hotel-trashing incident or the Winona Forever tattoo . . . .

Kate Winslet also appeared on the show and was charming. Be sure to watch for Kate hosting Saturday Night Live tomorrow night. Johnny will also be in New York City tomorrow night to receive the Lee Strasberg Award from the Actor’s Fund. Big Apple Zoners, if you’re in the vicinity of the Waldorf tomorrow, keep a sharp eye!

A big thank-you to Lady Ashleen, Newbie and her friend Jenny for sharing the news with the Zone. We can’t wait for Tuesday’s show!

FINDING NEVERLAND sneak peeks on Saturday, October 30th!

Depp fans who couldn’t scrape together $500 for a ticket to see Johnny Depp receive the Lee Strasberg Award at the Actor’s Fund gala in New York City this Saturday night may still be able to see Johnny at their local multiplex. Many, many theaters across the country have FINDING NEVERLAND booked for one sneak peak showing, usually early Saturday evening, October 30th. To find out if FINDING NEVERLAND is showing in your neighborhood, go to www.Fandango.com and “browse by title” under F. You will see the entry for FINDING NEVERLAND on the second page. Look at When and Where for 10/30, enter your city or zip code and click on “see showtimes for Saturday, October 30.” The Zone thanks lauratco and FANtasticJD for the screening information. Here’s hoping a magical evening with J. M. Barrie awaits you this weekend!

First pictures of Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka!

The thumbnail shows Johnny Depp in costume as Willy Wonka, doing exterior shooting for Tim Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Deppheads have been intensely curious about the Willy Wonka “look,” and now that CATCF shooting has moved from closed sets at Pinewood Studios to exterior shots, the paparazzi have finally captured their elusive prey. The Zone thanks My Man Depp, who posted the original news story (with a grainy black-and-white photo) from the UK Sun; you can read the story here, and Emma, who posted links to two color photos on the Recent Pics board. To date, the best description of Johnny’s Wonka look comes from Zoner Veronica, who observed, “Johnny looks like the Mad Hatter gone Mafia.”

TV Alert: Johnny Depp to appear on OPRAH on Tuesday, November 2nd!

Set your VCRs and TIVOs–The Oprah Winfrey Show is advertising Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as Oprah’s guests on the program airing next Tuesday, November 2nd! Thanks to Emma for breaking the story, and fan’smom for being the first to track down the date of the show. Oprah frequently schedules programs which feature the cast of a high-profile movie about to open, and they are usually among her best because the audience is so thrilled to see their favorite stars sitting on stage. It should be great publicity for FINDING NEVERLAND, too, since Oprah’s audience is likely to respond well to the film. No word yet on whether other cast members will attend.

Zoner L2 confirms that Johnny and Kate will be taping Oprah’s show tomorrow, FRIDAY, October 29th, to air on Tuesday, November 2nd! Windy City Zoners, if you feel an extra zing in the air tomorrow, it could be because Johnny is in town! Thanks for the update, L2.

"He strikes you as a very gentle soul:" the Times Online profiles Johnny Depp~~

Martyn Palmer wrote a lengthy profile of Johnny Depp for the Times, called “Johnny Be Good.” The headline reads, “The unflinching glare of the limelight once drove Johnny Depp to the edge. Now, as he steps into his latest role as Peter Pan’s creator, he’s discovered his own Neverland–at home.” Although the profile devotes half its space to rehashing very old news about Johnny’s past, it does have some fresh insights about Johnny today that make it well worth reading. For example, Palmer writes, “If you talk to the people who work with Depp–like Marc Forster, the director of FINDING NEVERLAND, Kate Winslet, others on the small-budget British movie THE LIBERTINE in which he plays the mad, bad Earl of Rochester–they will all say the same thing. Depp is quiet, kind and funny. And he hates being a movie star.[. . .] He strikes you as a very gentle soul.”

Once again in this interview, Johnny pinpoints the moment his life changed as the moment he met Vanessa Paradis: “More than anything, the thing that gave me real clarity was meeting Vanessa,” he tells Palmer. “Someone asked me the other day, ‘Where’s your Neverland?’ Well, I got it. I got my everything. My girl, my kids, my family. Pure happiness. I’ve arrived there and I’m blessed in that sense.”

The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for posting the Times interview on the News & Views board. You can read the full interview here, but beware of spoilers for FINDING NEVERLAND. Johnny speaks eloquently of his admiration for J. M. Barrie and his desire to refute the “rumour and hearsay” besmirching the playwright’s reputation. “I thought, considering what he gave to the world, he deserved more. And if there was any way I could brush off some of the dirt, then I would do it. I mean, here’s a guy who left the proceeds from the play and the book to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. I think he was a great man.”

Yo ho! PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 goes into production!

Production Alert, which tracks film production, reports that the long-awaited sequel to the Johnny Depp blockbuster PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is officially underway today, October 22nd: “Although shooting isn’t starting until March, the production team is officially getting into gear this week.” Congratulations to the POTC creative team, cast, and crew, and best wishes for a happy and successful shoot. Drinks all around! And thanks to DeepinDepp for bringing us the good word.

In other POTC news, Emma reports that POTC 2 will film scenes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where the original film was shot. The islands’ Tourism and Culture Minister, Rene Baptiste, held a press conference to make the announcement. “We’re now beginning to secure our place as a favourable film location,” Baptiste said proudly, adding that the experienced local crew was an asset. Having had POTC film on St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been an enormous boost to the islands’ economy. According to Baptiste, tourist arrivals on St. Vincent had increased by nearly 13 per cent for the first seven months of this year, compared to the pre-Pirates days of 2003, and cruise-ship arrivals were up nearly 30 percent. A return visit by Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew will surely lift those numbers even higher. Thanks, Emma–to read full story, see the News & Views board.

Casting rumors–more new roles for Johnny Depp?

The offers just keep coming his way . . . reports surfaced today that Johnny might play the leading role in Robert Rodriguez’s MADMAN, based on Mike Allred’s pop-art comic book. According to Dave Davis, “MADMAN follows a dead man named Frank Einstein who is brought back to life by a scientist. With a scarred body, a dodgy memory and an array of nifty gadgets, he dons a superhero costume and defends Snap City from various zany threats while still finding time to fall in love with a swell gal named Joe.” Rich Johnston of Comic Book Resources reported that Johnny arrived at a recent voiceover session (presumably for Tim Burton’s CORPSE BRIDE, which is shooting concurrently with CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY) with a MADMAN script in hand. No word on possible scheduling for this movie, although Rodriguez is well-known for his speed.

Not well-known for his speed is Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, who told a reporter for the Daily Mail that “one of my last remaining ambitions” is to make a film about Sir Isaac Newton, and his choice to play the scientific genius is Johnny Depp. Apparently Johnny’s performance as J.M. Barrie in Miramax’s FINDING NEVERLAND has convinced Harvey that Johnny can bring any role to life. “He was the most brilliant scientist in history, but he also spent considerable time working as a detective,” Weinstein told the Daily Mail. “He was absolutely fascinating.” No word on when the Newton film might go into production, or even if there is a script yet.

Finally, Deppth Bay reminds us that Paramount Pictures wants Johnny to play Robert Ripley in their upcoming biopic about the 1930s explorer and creator of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Paramount has hired ED WOOD screenwriters Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander to write the film; given Ripley’s colorful career and his interest in oddities and curiosities, the script should have plenty of ED WOOD’s zany humor and might appeal to Johnny. However, he is not signed for any of these projects–unlike the recent announcement of SHANTARAM, for which Johnny is signed to play the leading role–and it is difficult to see how he could fit all of them into his already crowded schedule. For an actor who is always worried about getting fired, though, it must be nice to be in such demand. The Zone thanks Lilac and DeepinDepp for the news on MADMAN, Emma for the Daily Mail story on Harvey Weinstein, and Deppth Bay for reporting on Ripley.

At last–ED WOOD released on DVD!

Tim Burton’s daring and hilarious ED WOOD arrives on DVD in North American retail outlets today; ten years after its theatrical run, the film is as fresh as ever. Johnny Depp plays Ed Wood, the 1950s moviemaker responsible for some of the worst films ever made . . . yet in the hands of Depp and Burton, Ed Wood emerges as a heroic dreamer and loyal friend rather than a failure. Johnny’s work with Martin Landau, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of star-on-the-skids Bela Lugosi, is some of his finest. Treat yourself to a copy of this classic; bad movies never looked so good. A word of warning, though: Johnny’s ear-to-ear Ed Wood grin is contagious.

For more information on the special features on the DVD, click on the ED WOOD banner on the home page.

So Quotable: Johnny Depp meets the press at the UK premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND

Quizzed by the press at the UK premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND on Sunday, Johnny Depp proved as modest and gracious as ever. Despite the hordes of female fans screaming his name and beseeching him for autographs, Johnny downplayed his sex symbol status: “I wouldn’t say I’m a heart-throb,” he said. “I just have a very weird job.” Asked how he felt about the persistent Oscar buzz surrounding his performance as J. M. Barrie, Johnny replied, “I can’t say that occupies my every thought or every moment. That’s not my job to think about that, but if people want to say that, that is really sweet.” Of his co-star Kate Winslet, Johnny said, “She’s a doll, she’s fantastic fun–she’s a great person to be around.” Johnny also brushed aside suggestions that he had been a valuable mentor to his young co-star Freddie Highmore, who plays the Peter who inspired Peter Pan. “He doesn’t need advice from me,” Johnny said. “I need help from him.”

Highmore, who is currently playing opposite Johnny once again in Tim Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, hasn’t yet decided if he wants acting to be his lifelong profession. But he obviously idolizes Johnny: “Johnny Depp is fantastic,” Highmore told the press. “He will turn an ordinary scene into one which you will always remember.” If the lad doesn’t want to be an actor, he has a bright future as a critic.

The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for posting several items on the News & Views board. We also want to offer special Zone thanks and a large bouquet of lilies and roses to Susanne, who posted dozens of photos from the premiere on the Recent Pics board, and to all the UK Zoners who attended the premiere and shared their experiences. Poppet, trinni, SavvyAngelUK, lizabel,jacks-pearl, and suec–you made us feel as if we were in the theater beside you. AnaMaria was seated directly behind Vanessa Paradis at the screening, and spoke to her, while suec was interviewed for use in future advertisements for FINDING NEVERLAND! Congratulations to you all!

Johnny Depp attends UK premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND!

Johnny and his partner Vanessa Paradis thrilled the crowds lining the red carpet at London’s Odeon, Leicester Square when they arrived for the UK premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND. Johnny posed for pictures with co-star Kate Winslet, who looked stunning in a turquoise Ben de Lisi dress. Johnny opted for a gray herringbone suit, white shirt, bright red tie, dark double-breasted overcoat, and tortoise-shell glasses. Onlookers have compared the new look to Clark Kent–Superman’s alter ego–and a grown-up Harry Potter, but all agree it is charming.

UK Zoner Cissy, watching the premiere coverage on Sky News, reports that there was a huge turnout of fans and Johnny was “signing autographs, many, many autographs. [. . .] Lots of girls have had kisses and he seems on fine form, smiling and laughing with the crowd which happens to be all female!” Many Zoners were in that crowd and will be posting their accounts on the News & View forum. Lizabel phoned Chocolat from the red carpet and reported seeing film crews from the E! channel setting up shop, so keep a sharp eye on E! news for coverage of the premiere. The Zone thanks Lizabel and Chocolat for their live updates from the Odeon, and Cissy and DeepinDepp for the news. Check the News & Views forum for great red carpet pictures posted by Jenny, Gilbert’s Girl, neophyte, and Nicole Jacks; more red carpet pics are on the Recent Pics forum, posted by Martina, MadScntst, and Jenny (again). Thanks to you all!

November PREMIERE Magazine gives FINDING NEVERLAND another rave review!

The November issue of PREMIERE Magazine contains a review of FINDING NEVERLAND on page 22. The reviewer gives the film 4 stars (out of 4) and praises virtually every aspect of the film. But the most ecstatic comments are reserved for Johnny’s “immaculate” performance. The reviewer writes, “I don’t think there’s another actor alive who can convey the intermingling of gentleness and passion with as much precision as Depp. A lot of people thought it was cute that he got an Oscar nomination for cutting it up in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN; if he doesn’t get a nomination for his work here, it’ll practically be a crime.” The Zone thanks Angie for sharing her find–and of course agrees with the PREMIERE critic, wholeheartedly.

UK's FILM REVIEW gives FINDING NEVERLAND a 5-star rave!

The British magazine FILM REVIEW has named FINDING NEVERLAND the movie highlight of its November 2004 issue; its review awards the film five stars, the highest possible rating. “This masterfully spun tale about the transforming power of imagination can’t fail to touch your heart with its spellbinding blend of fact, fiction, everyday Edwardian reality and magical fantasy,” says FILM REVIEW. “Forster’s moving masterpiece has it all–a terrific script, an ace cast and an involving intimate drama–all shot through with sparkling bursts of sublime invention.” The reviewer has high praise for all the cast, and takes particular note of the “sure-fire Oscar-worthiness” of Johnny’s and Julie Christie’s performances. “Depp continues to astonish with his acting range,” notes FILM REVIEW, “and here he gives yet another superb performance as the Scottish writer keeping his child-like spirit vibrantly alive.” The Zone thanks suec for posting the entire review on the News & Views forum . . . but beware, there are many spoilers lurking in those paragraphs of praise.

TV Alert–Johnny Depp on ACCESS HOLLYWOOD on Thursday, October 14th!

Set your VCRs . . . Jenny reports that her TIVO alerted her to the fact that Johnny Depp (or at least a story about him) will appear on ACCESS HOLLYWOOD today, Thursday, October 14th. Since ACCESS HOLLYWOOD is a syndicated show, check your local listings for the time and station in your area . . . . Happy Halloween! JDFan notes that BRAVO will air a 15-minute program on the “Making of FINDING NEVERLAND” on Halloween morning, October 31st, at 11 a.m. Afterward, stop by the Zone for our SLEEPY HOLLOW discussion on the Movie Nights forum,hosted by OldLady and DeepinDepp . . . . Meanwhile, FANtasticJD has been checking the STARZ channel for updates on their “On the Set” feature on FINDING NEVERLAND. That feature was scheduled to begin airing tomorrow but has apparently been moved to November dates, closer to FINDING NEVERLAND’s release. The first airing of the 14-minute feature is now scheduled for November 5th at 6:20am. If that’s too early for you, don’t despair: the show will air repeatedly between November 5th and November 18th on STARZ, including three airings on November 11th, the day before FINDING NEVERLAND starts opening in North American theaters–hopefully one near you!

Finally, all the lucky UK Zoners who are eagerly awaiting their premiere of FINDING NEVERLAND on Sunday will be able to relive the events on Monday, October 18th, when British channel ITV2 airs a half-hour feature on the FINDING NEVERLAND premiere. The program (or programme, for those who will actually be able to view this feature) is scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for the tip, and hopes UK Zoners will post full accounts of the premiere on the News & Views forum for their slightly jealous and Johnny-depprived sisters across the Pond. Zoners attending the premiere include Poppet, Trinni, Anna, Lizabel, Nichola, ScrunchyApril (and her mum), suec, SavvyAngelUK, Charlotte, Paroma the Asparagus (and her sister), jdsmylover, Jacks-pearl, Spiritofcherokee, Mrs_jack_sparrow23, and–traveling all the way from the Netherlands–AnaMaria and depps-joke. A full house!

Johnny Depp on cover of UK's SIGHT & SOUND magazine~~

Joining EMPIRE and VANITY FAIR, the British Film Institute’s monthly magazine SIGHT & SOUND has also elected to feature Johnny Depp on the cover of their November issue. “Johnny Depp grows up in FINDING NEVERLAND,” says the cover, while the description of Kevin Jackson’s article about FINDING NEVERLAND, called “The Innocents,” praises the film’s imaginative take on J. M. Barrie’s life: “FINDING NEVERLAND bends the truth about J.M. Barrie’s creation of Peter Pan to boost its themes of art, death and the afterlife. It’s magic.” The article goes on to praise Johnny’s “beautifully restrained and subtle performance” as Barrie. “Marc Forster’s film FINDING NEVERLAND never resorts to the truth and is all the better for it,” Jackson writes. For example, “Barrie–a mustachioed, scrawny five-foot-nothing of a man who looked decades older than his 44 years (he was born on 9 May 1860)– bore no resemblance to the preposterously handsome Johnny Depp . [. . .]” The review of the movie is also highly favorable. The Zone thanks Edda for bringing us the news. To view the SIGHT & SOUND cover of “the preposterously handsome Johnny Depp,” click here.

Another change in the press junket for FINDING NEVERLAND–

New Yorkers who were eagerly awaiting Johnny’s arrival at the end of the month may not get their Halloween present after all. Miramax has changed–yet again!–the New York press junket for the promotion of FINDING NEVERLAND. Emma reports that the Oct. 29-31 dates are now cancelled; they have been replaced by a single press date of Monday, October 25th, and only FINDING NEVERLAND’s director Marc Forster and leading lady Kate Winslet are scheduled to appear. That’s right–no Johnny! At this time, we don’t know whether Johnny will attend the Actor’s Fund benefit on Saturday, October 30th to receive his Lee Strasberg Award in person, or whether his shooting schedule will keep him in London.

On a brighter note, Emma reports that there may be a press day for FINDING NEVERLAND in Los Angeles in early November, closer to the film’s release date. There’s nothing definite yet, but we will keep our fingers crossed. The Zone thanks Emma for keeping us up-to-date with Johnny’s ever-changing schedule.

Sir Elton John hits a sour note–his song axed from FINDING NEVERLAND~~

One of the few elements in FINDING NEVERLAND to receive a negative response has been the Elton John-Bernie Taupin song which played at the end of the film. An article in the October issue of PREMIERE states that the song was Harvey Weinstein’s idea and did not sit well with either the film’s director or its star. “It doesn’t feel right,” Marc Forster told PREMIERE. Johnny added, “I think that Elton John and Bernie Taupin have written some sublime pieces of music with equally sublime lyrics over the years, but this isn’t one of those.”

Critics agreed, often singling out “Peter’s Song” as the one sour note in an otherwise perfect production. Now Alix, a Zoner who attended the screening at the Mill Valley Film Festival in northern California on Thursday night, reports that the song has been cut from the movie. “There was only instrumental music throughout the film,” Alix reports. She had the opportunity to speak to the director after the screening, to see if he had won his battle with Harvey Weinstein. “I asked Marc about the song afterwards and he said, ‘Oh, that’s OUT, did you see?’ Then he looked at me, surprised, and said, ‘How did you KNOW about that?'”

The Zone thanks Alix for sharing her experience with us. FINDING NEVERLAND just sounds better and better. According to Alix, the screening in Mill Valley was a bit success: The film festival’s board of directors “spoke reverently” about FINDING NEVERLAND and called it “a near perfect film,” and the sophisticated Marin County audience loved it.

VANITY FAIR interview: Johnny Depp praises his "die-hard fans"

Although most of the press attention around the VANITY FAIR interview has dealt with Johnny’s explanation of why he referred to the United States as a puppy (but not a “dumb puppy”), far more interesting to Deppheads are his comments on his long-time, intensely loyal fans. Johnny appreciates the support he has received from the fans he calls the “die-hards.” He told VANITY FAIR: “I’ve known that there have been a kind of select group of people, amazing die-hard supporters, even through the more, shall we say, odd films,” says Depp. “These people, bless them, have stuck with me the whole length of the road. To say you appreciate it is not nearly enough. It’s part of the essence, or fuel, of what keeps you going.”

Johnny continues, “These people are my boss; they’re the ones who keep me employed. A couple of times they could have said, Let’s abandon him. And they haven’t. You don’t want to let them down.” Words to warm a Depphead’s heart. The Zone thanks Jenny who posted the whole VANITY FAIR article, including the new Mark Seliger pictures, on the Recent Pics forum.

Johnny Depp does charity ad for National Arts Education Initiative!

Johnny Depp has lent his support to Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Arts Education Initiative. He and Julianne Moore have posed for print ads for exclusive Montblanc watches and writing instruments; in return, Montblanc is donating some of the proceeds of each sale to the National Arts Education Initiative. Severe cutbacks in local education budgets have resulted in the loss of arts education in our schools–there are no longer art classes, drama classes, music classes, bands, or school plays for many of our children. The Entertainment Industry Foundation, the leading charitable organization for the entertainment industry, has joined Montblanc in a campaign to “raise awareness about the importance of arts education in schools and fund exemplary arts programs to assure the continuation of their vital work.” As devoted parents of young children and exemplary artists themselves, Johnny and Julianne Moore are perfect choices for this ad campaign to help “children develop their most valuable asset: imagination.” They exude the effortless elegance of Montblanc, and they aren’t bad-looking, either. You can see the ads and read about the charity campaign here–click on “Collections” and “Men” to see Johnny’s ad. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for posting the story on the News forum, and BuccaRoux for posting the scan of the ad on Recent Pics.