Articles from November 2004

Captain Jack Sparrow bound for DEAD MAN'S CHEST? Some POTC sequel news . . . .

The Rocky Mountain News reports that, as Jerry Bruckheimer hoped, “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 and 3 will be shot at the same time–beginning late February in the Caribbean. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush are back aboard, with director Gore Verbinski at the helm.” Other reports have the start of filming pushed to the beginning of March, to allow awards season to finish, just in case a certain leading actor might have some important engagements on his calendar for the end of February. We certainly hope so!

In other POTC sequel casting news, the Rocky Mountain News reports that a new female character will appear in both sequels. She is “Tia Dalma, a jewelry-covered gypsy queen with tattoos, dreadlocks and clairvoyant powers. The role is being cast now, and, almost unheard-of in casting notices, word is she doesn’t have to be beautiful.” That sound you hear is every actress in Hollywood rushing her headshot and resume to her agent. The Zone thanks Emma for posting the story on the News & Views forum. For the full story, go HERE .

Finally, Emma caught the following news item just posted at Dark Horizons: the “rumoured working title” for the first sequel is PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. That has an appropriately piratical ring to it, and Depp fans can’t help but enjoy the allusion to Johnny’s previous DEAD MAN. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum to the POTC scribes!

Ahoy, Pirates–Johnny Depp photographed with Gore Verbinski at Cipriani's in London Monday night

No rest for the hardest-working actor in the business–having wrapped his Willy Wonka role on Friday, Johnny Depp was photographed by paparazzi at Cipriani’s posh restaurant in Mayfair on Monday night, November 29th. He was photographed inside the building with his PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN director, Gore Verbinski, while producer Jerry Bruckheimer was caught by other photographers in the parking lot. Certainly sounds as if the three were meeting to discuss the POTC sequels which begin shooting in March. Johnny looked fit and fabulous in a sleeveless black-and-white striped shirt, khakis with Captain Jack bead dangles, newsboy cap and glasses. The Zone thanks sugakookies78 for posting the pictures; to view them, visit our Recent Pics forum.

Great weekend box office performance for FINDING NEVERLAND!

FINDING NEVERLAND demonstrated considerable clout at the North American box office over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, November 24th-28th. Actual box office numbers (not estimates), just released, show that FINDING NEVERLAND, showing on only 513 screens, posted a hefty per-screen average of $12,494. Only the #1 movie of the weekend, Jerry Bruckheimer’s NATIONAL TREASURE, had a better per-screen average ($14,066). By contrast, the third-place film, Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES, averaged a less impressive $9,501 per screen. Although FINDING NEVERLAND had to compete with movies showing on six times as many screens–the top five-grossing movies of the weekend were all showing on at least 3,200 screens–it still cracked the top ten at the box office, placing 8th for the weekend. These numbers demonstrate considerable audience interest in the film, and should encourage Miramax to add screens and bring FINDING NEVERLAND into wider release. For the many Zoners still waiting for the chance to see this beautiful movie in their home towns, we hope this weekend will bring FINDING NEVERLAND to a theater near you.

It's a wrap: Johnny Depp concludes filming for Tim Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Johnny Depp shot his final scenes as Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY on Friday, November 26th. UK Deppheads felt an instant sense of Depprivation, knowing that Johnny would no longer be at Pinewood Studios, where he has been hard at work since June on CATCF and the animated feature THE CORPSE BRIDE. We congratulate Johnny on wrapping Willy Wonka and wish him a well-earned rest. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is scheduled for release July 15, 2005, and CORPSE BRIDE in October 2005. We can’t wait! The Zone thanks jdsmylover for the update from Pinewood.

TODAY SHOW and GOOD MORNING, AMERICA give raves to Johnny Depp and FINDING NEVERLAND!

Gene Shalit of the TODAY Show and Joel Siegel of GOOD MORNING, AMERICA both gave rave on-air reviews to FINDING NEVERLAND, pronouncing the movie “One of the best pictures of the year!” (Are you listening, Academy voters? We hope so!) Gene Shalit singled out Johnny’s work as especially brilliant, calling his portrayal of J. M. Barrie “masterful” and worthy of award consideration. Shalit also praised Johnny’s co-star Kate Winslet, calling her performance as Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies “beautiful.” Siegel concurred. He loved the film, thought the acting ensemble was brilliant, and admitted that he cried at the end. Siegel concluded his review by urging his audience to see the film. Now if only Miramax would help by opening FINDING NEVERLAND on more than 513 screens, we could all take Mr. Siegel’s advice and buy some tickets!

The Zone thanks Donna B. for her post on the News & Views forum about the TODAY show review.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton attend Tom Waits concert on Tuesday night!

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton were among the celebrities who attended Tom Waits’ concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Tuesday night, November 23rd, reports the BBC. The concert was the first live performance by Waits in the UK in seventeen years. Tickets sold out within twenty minutes, and single tickets were reselling on Ebay for as much as 600 pounds. The concert won rave reviews. Adds the BBC, “Depp and Burton are filming their new version of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY at Pinewood Studios, with Waits thought to be involved.” We have heard that Tom Waits might be contributing a song to CATCF, which is being scored by Burton’s regular musical collaborator, Danny Elfman.

TV Alert: Catch "The Magic of Finding Neverland" on ABC Family Channel today!

Set your TIVOs and your VCRs–ABC Family channel will present a half-hour special called “The Magic of FINDING NEVERLAND” today, Tuesday November 23rd, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Those of you in Central and Mountain time zones, check your local listings. If you miss the early showing . . . or you just want to see Johnny again (and who wouldn’t?), the special will repeat at midnight Eastern and Pacific. What a lovely way to begin your holiday celebration! Thanks to JDfan for the timely reminder she posted on DeepinDepp’s morning thread, and to johnnylubber for sharing her great and all-inclusive TV calendar with the Zone.

Child's play–Johnny and his FINDING NEVERLAND co-stars

A CNN interview with Marc Forster, “The Magic of Neverland,” contains a charming story about Luke Spill, the actor who portrays Michael, the youngest of the Llewelyn Davies boys. After a long day of shooting, Forster struggled for a way to tell the boy that they still had more takes to shoot. CNN reports that “Luke looked up at him and said, ‘I just can’t do it any better,’ to which Forster, feeling bad for the young actor, explained that it wasn’t him but Depp who required another take.” Luke marched over to Johnny and said, “Can you do it right next time, Johnny?”

TIME Magazine (November 29th issue) has a brief Q&A with Freddie Highmore, who plays Peter in FINDING NEVERLAND and Charlie in the currently-shooting CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Asked if it was “difficult” to show so much raw emotion, Freddie replied, “It was really tough doing the funeral scene because it was right under a flight path, so we’d have to stop everything halfway through and then start up again. But with the other scenes, you just think that your mom’s dead and your dad’s dead, and it’s really upsetting.”

The twelve-year-old is enjoying filming CATCF, and finds Charlie Bucket a “more lighthearted” character than Peter Llewelyn Davies: “Peter is really a quite unhappy, sad child.” Asked how he heard about the CATCF role, Highmore replied, “I heard the role was coming up, so I read the book again and went along to the auditions. And then I got the part, which was a dream come true because I was quite sad when I left FINDING NEVERLAND because I thought I’d never see Johnny again.”

Thanks to Emma for posting the TIME interview and DeepinDepp for the CNN story on Luke Spill. There are many more FINDING NEVERLAND articles and reviews on the News and Views forum . . . .

"One of the best performances of his career": More great reviews for Johnny Depp in FINDING NEVERLAND!

Critics continue to search for superlatives to describe Johnny’s performance as J. M. Barrie. Thanks to DeepinDepp for sharing the reviews:

Paul Clinton of CNN says, “FINDING NEVERLAND is a beautifully crafted exploration of the many dimensions of the human heart. The new film about Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie–and his creation of the beloved character Peter Pan–is deeply moving without being overly sentimental, due in large part to Johnny Depp’s extraordinary performance in the lead role. [. . .]As always, Depp delivers an astounding performance. He has the uncanny ability to express, with just a single glance or gesture, an entire encyclopedia of human emotions.”

Tom Long in the Detroit News writes: “In one of the best performances of his career, Johnny Depp stars as playwright James Barrie, and the film follows the events that led him to write PETER PAN. It’s a part Depp could have made showy and mad; instead he brings just the right twinkle of irascibility balanced with maturity to the film. There’s an inner imp to this man, but there’s also a true, quiet strength. [. . .] FINDING NEVERLAND should be an Oscar gold mine; and really, why even bother voting, just give Depp his statue. There have been other strong performances this year [. . . ,] but in FINDING NEVERLAND, filmdom’s most adventurous and potentially quirky actor dons a maturity never before seen. And yet he’s still pure Depp.”

"Playfulness juxtaposed against melancholy"–Marc Forster describes Johnny Depp's performance as Barrie

Pam Grady interviewed FINDING NEVERLAND director Marc Forster for her New York Times article “Peter Pan Principal.” Discussing the qualities he wanted to see in J. M. Barrie, Forster told Grady, “I didn’t want [Barrie] to be too full on. I wanted him to be subtle and friendly. When Johnny agreed to do it, I was just so glad, because I needed someone who was able to be like a child and there aren’t many actors who can do that.” Forster also knew managing the tone of the film would be difficult, since Barrie’s playful engagement with the Llewelyn Davies family was always tempered by tragedy. “It was tricky,” Forster said. “[A]s a whole there’s an underbelly of melancholy going through the entire story.”

“That’s the beauty of Johnny,” adds Forster. “When you talk about the character’s image, you have this playfulness, but it’s juxtaposed against this almost loneliness and sadness and melancholy.”

Forster also told Grady that he investigated pedophilia charges against Barrie and concluded they were untrue before he began FINDING NEVERLAND. He sent the screenplay to Laura Duguid, whose father was the youngest of the Llewelyn Davis boys, Nico. Duguid remembered Barrie, and Forster wanted to know if Duguid would approve of a screenplay that portrayed Barrie as an innocent family friend and cut her father out of the story! Far from disapproving of the script, Laura Duguid “just loved it,” Forster said. Calling Duguid “a wonderful character,” Forster offered her a chance to appear in FINDING NEVERLAND as one of the theatergoers on PETER PAN’s opening night. “I cast her as the woman who, when Barrie comes to Peter to ask him how he liked the play, says, ‘This is Peter Pan.’ I thought that would be a great line for her, ‘This is Peter Pan.'” As Forster fulfilled Duguid’s lifelong dream of being an actress, he also linked his recreation of PETER PAN to both Barrie and Sylvia, since Laura Duguid is J. M. Barrie’s goddaughter as well as a Llewelyn Davis.

Happy 5th Anniversary to SLEEPY HOLLOW!

Can it really be five years since we first saw Johnny Depp’s ingratiating performance as Constable Ichabod Crane in Tim Burton’s magical retelling of SLEEPY HOLLOW? Yes . . . SLEEPY HOLLOW was released on November 19th, 1999, five years ago today. The film went on to gross over $100 million domestically, making it a bona fide blockbuster; it was nominated for Oscars for cinematography and costume design, and won an Oscar for Best Art Direction. Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci,and Miranda Richardson won Blockbuster Entertainment Awards as Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting Actress in a horror film, and Marc Pickering, who played young Masbath, was nominated for a Blockbuster award as Best Supporting Actor. When Johnny accepted the Lee Strasberg Award from the Actor’s Fund last month, he saluted his fellow honoree Angela Lansbury and told the delighted crowd that she had been his inspiration for the wide-eyed, intrepid-despite-himself Ichabod–a performance that remains as fresh, funny, and moving today as it was when the film came to theaters five years ago. Congratulations to Johnny and Tim for having created another cinema classic!

Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet on cover of LIFE Magazine!

The beautiful thumbnail to the left offers a taste of the great Jason Bell photographs featured in the Life cover article, entitled “The Neverland Effect: What Peter Pan taught Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp about the magic of parenting.” This magazine appears in many local newspapers as a Friday supplement–you can find helpful links on the News & Views forum to learn if a newspaper in your area offers the magazine. Thanks to johnnylubber for breaking this story, and for supplying the links to the photographs on the News board.

TV Alert: Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet promote FINDING NEVERLAND on TBS during showing of JUMANJI tonight!

Check your local TV listings to see when TBS is airing the Robin Williams film JUMANJI tonight, November 18th . . . Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet are scheduled to appear during the commercial breaks with bits of interviews promoting FINDING NEVERLAND! Hibblette reports that film airs at 10 pm Central, which probably means 11 pm Eastern and Pacific. Thanks for the news, Hibblette!

Despite a misleading scheduling announcement that indicated they would be showing a “Behind the Scenes:NATIONAL TREASURE” instead, E! will be showing their “Behind the Scenes: FINDING NEVERLAND” half-hour special tonight at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to FindingNeverlandGal who originally posted the showings on the Zone, and to DeepinDepp, docplacer, and johnnylubber, who tried valiantly all day to ascertain what E! would show tonight. If you missed the E! “Behind the Scenes” tonight, there are some great comments posted on the News & Views board . . . . E! should be repeating the special throughout the coming week at various times–check your cable schedule or their website for details.

More fantastic reviews for Johnny Depp and FINDING NEVERLAND!

Great reviews continue to pour in for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Scottish playwright J. M. Barrie in FINDING NEVERLAND. A generous sampling is posted on our News & Views forum–here are a few nibbles to whet your appetite:

David Brudnoy writes: “This new film, starring the inexhaustibly multi-talented Johnny Depp, manages at once to create the hint of a romance that never flourished, with the widowed mother of a quartet of young boys, a smidgen of danger, in the forbidding character of her mother, Mrs. DuMaurier (Julie Christie), and an invitation into the world of imagination that is in many ways as lovely as is the play itself. [. . .] Predictions are always dicey but I offer these: Oscar nominations for Depp and the film, perhaps others. . . .”

From Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune: “It’s an intellectual family film for literate parents and children, immensely pleasing if not perfect [. . .]. But it does have the perfect actor for Barrie: Johnny Depp, who can play a child-man without seeming effete or precious. Here, he delightfully re-creates Barrie as a whimsical Edwardian dandy in impeccably elegant waistcoats. With his bright, boyish eyes and virile gentleness, Depp turns himself into a real-life Pan, an unselfconsciously playful fellow who never quite grew up but still feels the pain of those who did. You can’t imagine a better movie Barrie. [. . .] FINDING NEVERLAND has a radiance that comes primarily from Depp’s performance but finally suffuses the whole movie–with its marvelous cast and lovingly created images of a British Edwardian past that, in part because of Peter Pan and Wendy, is lodged affectionately in many readers’ hearts.”

Jeff Strickler of the Minnepolis Star Tribune writes that Johnny’s work as Barrie “arguably is his best performance and certainly his most challenging. [. . .]Depp is the glue that holds [the film] together, perfectly merging the prim outward trappings of London society with the unbridled enthusiasm of a runaway imagination. It’s a performance that speaks of fairy dust.”

Andrew Sarris sees subtle mastery in Johnny’s performance, and has high praise for the film as a whole: “Mr. Depp’s portrayal of Barrie is marvelously discreet, just subtle enough to let the well-placed fantasy sequences run rampant without undermining the central narrative. Mr. Depp thus expresses through Barrie a quiet fanaticism at work, a stubborn belief in the spiritual supremacy of childhood in human existence. [. . .] The integration of childhood and adulthood has never been more felicitously achieved than it has here, with the perfect casting of Mr. Depp, Ms. Winslet, Ms. Christie, Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Hoffman on the grown-up side, in tandem with the Llewelyn Davies brothers. [. . .]As a work of art, FINDING NEVERLAND establishes its limits and then transcends them to provide a glorious entertainment for this holiday season.”

The Zone thanks DeepinDepp and Yellow Rose for posting the reviews, which can be read in their entirety on the News & Views forum.

Happy 20th Anniversary to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET–and to Johnny Depp's film career!

Although you would never guess it to look at his face, Johnny Depp made his movie debut twenty years ago, playing Glen Lantz in Wes Craven’s horror classic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The film was released on November 16, 1984–exactly twenty years ago today–and, like Johnny, has proved to be a durable fan favorite. Last month, NIGHTMARE placed in the top three “scariest films of all time” in a survey conducted by Blockbuster.

This seems like an excellent time to stop and reflect on the marvelous career of Johnny Depp. He has said many times that he had no plans to be an actor; only serendipity and a nudge from his buddy Nicolas Cage sent him to the NIGHTMARE audition. We have all been blessed by the results of that afternoon’s experiment. Now, twenty years later, Johnny tops the A-list of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood and has proven himself the greatest and most versatile actor of his generation. The Zone congratulates Johnny Depp on twenty fantastic years in film. We can’t wait to see what happens next!

Great box office for FINDING NEVERLAND's opening weekend!

Box Office Prophets reports that FINDING NEVERLAND “got off to a fabulous start” on its opening weekend: “FINDING NEVERLAND, starring Johnny Depp, grossed a wonderful $241,000 from only eight venues, earning an average of $30,125.” This is very good news for cash-strapped Miramax and for Depp fans everywhere, since it shows wide audience interest in the film . . . . In related news, Variety reports that Miramax will expand FINDING NEVERLAND,which has been running on only 8 screens in New York and Los Angeles, to “about 20 markets Friday for a total of about 60 to 70 screens, with another push planned for Thanksgiving.” If you live in or near a major North American city, you may be able to see FINDING NEVERLAND this weekend! The film will open “wide” on 2,000+ screens the following week. Thanks to DeepinDepp for the box office updates.

More good news: Sleepy notes that Associated Press is reporting that FINDING NEVERLAND “earned the best exit polls in distributor Miramax Films’ history.” When you consider the great films Miramax has released in the past, that’s very high praise for FINDING NEVERLAND!

To celebrate the premiere, the Zone opens a new FINDING NEVERLAND gallery!

The Zone congratulates Johnny Depp on the North American release of FINDING NEVERLAND. We know his outstanding performance as J. M. Barrie will bring him many accolades. To celebrate his achievement, the Zone announces the opening of our new FINDING NEVERLAND gallery!

For all the Deppheads who haven’t yet had a chance to see the film, we invite you to revel in the pictures . . . and for those of you who have already seen and loved Johnny’s performance, we invite you to relive your memories. To view the gallery, click on the GALLERIES button on the home page and then select BY FILM.

Many thanks, as always, to Sleepy and to Mostly Harmless for their work on this gallery. The Zone would also like to thank its loyal Paypal donors, whose generosity provided the funds to purchase many of these photographs. We happily dedicate the FINDING NEVERLAND gallery to you.

FINDING NEVERLAND opens to a shower of rave reviews!

Johnny Depp’s much-anticipated film FINDING NEVERLAND began its North American run today; unfortunately, it is only showing in ten theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. Miramax executives made the choice to let word of mouth build up for this film, rolling it out slowly–which is tough on the fans who have been waiting to see FINDING NEVERLAND for two years. The News & Views forum is crammed with reviews and news stories, and we urge you to browse through them; many are very insightful about the film and Johnny’s performance. Here are a few randomly chosen excerpts to whet your appetite:

“This enchanting film, with its affecting sweetness delivered by a flawless cast, is destined to become a classic. [. . .] For his part, Depp has once again positioned himself for another run at Oscar gold. His subdued, yet utterly charming performance as Barrie strikes a perfect note and illustrates his great range when contrasted to his dynamic turn in Pirates of the Caribbean. As one of the Davies boys, the cute, but highly gifted Freddie Highmore easily matches Depp’s virtuosity stride for stride.” You can read the rest of David Levine’s review HERE .

Kim Hollis at Box Office Prophets writes: “A joyous celebration of family, friendship and the creative process, Finding Neverland is a treasure of a film and one of the best of the year. Exemplary performances and exquisite storytelling blend perfectly in this tender examination of the writer behind Peter Pan [. . .] .After a marvelous 2003 in which he received accolades for his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Johnny Depp has returned with a performance even more notable. His J.M. Barrie is infused with humanity and deep intelligence, and his interaction with the child actors in the film is faultless.” Here’s the rest of Kim’s REVIEW. Thanks to DeepinDepp for sharing both of these gems with the Zone.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp on the cover of the new PEOPLE Magazine!

Johnny Depp is featured on the cover of the next PEOPLE Magazine, with an article called “Inside His Private World.” The cover photo is from the Actor’s Fund gala, and Johnny looks splendid. Apparently PEOPLE has finally discovered that Johnny Depp sells a lot of magazines, and they give him the full cover this time . . . unlike last year, when despite being named “The Sexiest Man Alive,” Johnny had to share the cover with some now-deservedly-obscure reality show contestant. One has to wonder, however, how far “inside” Johnny’s “private world” a PEOPLE reporter could penetrate. It’s unlikely Johnny sat down with them for an interview, so expect to see old news and old quotes recycled. Thanks to lauratco for breaking the story!

News on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 from Jerry Bruckheimer and others!

As the much-anticipated sequel to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN goes into production, executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer debunked a few rumors. First, although the sequel will have a subtitle, it will NOT be called “The Treasure of the Lost Abyss,” as widely reported on IMDb and other sites. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio have been saying for months that the “Lost Abyss” title was incorrect, but apparently nobody listens to screenwriters . . . . Second, although they hope to land Keith Richards to play a small role as Jack Sparrow’s father, that is by no means a done deal. Nor is it set in stone that they will be filming POTC 2 and POTC 3 simultaneously. “We’d like to. If Disney will write a check, we’ll do it,” Bruckheimer told LATINO REVIEW. So far only three of the original film’s four leading actors have signed to return; although Bruckheimer did not name names, the still-unsigned principal is believed to be Keira Knightley.

The latest casting rumor, reported by JoBlo, is that Latina firecracker Salma Hayek will be coming aboard POTC 2. Although she had no scenes with Johnny in their previous film, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, it seems likely that if Salma does join the POTC2 cast, she will be tangling with Captain Jack Sparrow. We can already picture her slapping Captain Jack’s face. Thanks to My Man Depp, Gilbert’s Girl, and Depp Inspiration for the news.

Emma reports that the Bahamas are claiming a commitment from Disney to film “more than 50 percent” of POTC2 and 3 in the island nation. This would pump enormous revenue into the Bahamas, since the two sequels are budgeted at nearly $400 million. Disney was apparently swayed by the new $76 million Gold Rock Creek Enterprises film studios being built in Grand Bahama. One of the owners of the studio, Paul Quigley, said that director Gore Verbinski and Disney executives “had been regular visitors to the Bahamas in the past two weeks, inspecting Gold Rock Creek’s film studio location in Grand Bahama, looking at possible shooting locations in the Family Islands and holding meetings in Nassau.” POTC2 is tentatively scheduled to start its location shooting in the Bahamas in May 2005.

Deppheads should be particularly intrigued by Quigley’s remark that “one island in the Exuma chain has already been identified as a possible location for filming of the movies.” We know that Johnny bought an island in the Exuma chain last June; could it be Captain Jack’s island in more ways than one?