Articles from December 2006

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL scores big TV ratings on Boxing Day

Television viewers in the U.K. decided to spend Boxing Day with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, as the December 26th airing of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL on BBC One captured 10.1 million viewers, or 42% of the Tuesday night television audience. Viewers in the U.S. were offered two chances to watch the original POTC on television during Christmas week: on ABC on Christmas night, and on USA on Saturday, December 30th. The USA network is so pleased with the performance of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL that they recently paid $25 million for the rights to air box-office champion DEAD MAN’S CHEST.

Amazon.co.uk also confirms the public’s love of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise; the company reports that of all the products sold by Amazon.co.uk over the holiday season, the most popular present was the two-disc special edition DVD of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for sharing the good news from the U.K.

Nineteen-year-old Jayne Wisener to appear in SWEENEY TODD with Johnny Depp

Congratulations to nineteen-year-old Jayne Wisener, a second-year-student at the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, who will appear in the pivotal role of Johanna in Tim Burton’s upcoming film of the Stephen Sondheim musical SWEENEY TODD. Ms. Wisener, a native of Belfast, joins Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen in the cast. “I’m so excited–I still can’t believe it,” the young actress told reporter Lesley-Anne Henry of the Belfast Telegraph. “To get the chance to work with such renowned actors is a dream come true.”

The Zone thanks emma for breaking the story; you can read the full article HERE. To see a photo of Jayne Wisener, click HERE. SWEENEY TODD begins principal photography in early February, and is scheduled for release at the end of 2007.

Johnny Depp rumored to present Oasis with special BRIT award on Feb. 14th

Rumors are flying that the BRIT Awards have corralled Johnny Depp to present Oasis with their Outstanding Contribution to Music award when the ceremony takes place next February 14th. Although this has not been officially confirmed, several British media outlets are reporting that Johnny will appear on the live telecast, and his close relationship with the band–Johnny played slide guitar on the Oasis track “Fade In-Out” on their 1997 CD “Be Here Now”–gives the story some credibility. Johnny will be in London in February filming the title role in SWEENEY TODD for Tim Burton at Pinewood Studios, so it would be a short trip to Earls Court to honor his friends.

The Zone thanks Shook, Gilbert’s Girl, and emma for reporting the story; you can read the London.net Entertainment Guide story HERE. We certainly hope that this rumor proves true–there could be no better Valentine’s Day present for Deppheads than a chance to see Johnny live on TV!

Book News! Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil buys "The Affected Provincial's Companion"

Variety has announced that Graham King’s Initial Entertainment Group has bought the film rights to THE AFFECTED PROVINCIAL’S COMPANION for Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil. THE AFFECTED PROVINCIAL’S COMPANION is “a compendium of essays, diagrams and poetry written, designed and illustrated by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy as a treatise on the value of being a refined gentleman in today’s unrefined world,” notes Variety. The delighted author posted the following comment on Amazon.com after the purchase was announced: “I can finally announce what I have known for well over a year: Infinitum Nihil, Johnny Depp’s production company, has bought the option rights to THE AFFECTED PROVINCIAL’S COMPANION, VOL. 1. I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to my friends at Regal Literary, United Talent Agency, Infinitum Nihil, Initial Entertainment Group, and Warner Bros. Most of all, I thank the public for going to see PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN–I can assure you the proceeds have been well spent.”

In other book news, Initial and Infinitum Nihil have also purchased rights to film James Meek’s THE PEOPLE’S ACT OF LOVE, which is set in 1919 Siberia. ONBC will be reading THE PEOPLE’S ACT OF LOVE as its first selection for 2007. The story revolves around an escapee from a Russian prison camp who stumbles upon a Christian sect.

According to Variety, Initial Entertainment Group and Infinitum Nihil are negotiating with director Peter Medak (ROMEO IS BLEEDING) to film Joseph Gangemi’s screenplay of his novel INAMORATA. Set in Philadelphia in the 1920s, book revolves around a Harvard grad student who falls in love with a beautiful psychic whom he is attempting to discredit as a fraud.

Warner Bros. and Initial Entertainment Group have hired screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis to adapt A LONG WAY DOWN by Nick Hornby for Infinitum Nihil. Hornby’s novel follows four desperate people who meet on New Year’s Eve and form a surrogate family. DeVincentis is no stranger to Hornby’s work, having written the film adaptation of Hornby’s HIGH FIDELITY. “I love adapting Nick’s writing [. . . . T]here is a vibrancy in the voice that you can see working in the screen,” DeVincentis told Variety. The Zone thanks Theresa for posting the Variety article on the News & Views forum; you can read the full article HERE.

It's a wrap! PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END completes shooting

The nearly two-year journey to film the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels has concluded: filming finished on AT WORLD’S END on December 12, 2006, with the wrap party for the cast and crew on December 15th. Congratulations to Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and everyone involved with this amazing production! Since filming began on DEAD MAN’S CHEST on February 24, 2005, the POTC sequels shot in six different countries, used 2,862,690 feet of film, and employed more than 4,000 crew members. The total amount of time spent filming? 3,409 hours and 24 minutes. The result? Box-office records and cinematic immortality. Well done!

To see a picture of the official wrap cake, click HERE. Thanks to gemini and jdfan for breaking the story, and Bootstrap Beck and our friends at POTC Interactive for the photo.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp nominated for Golden Globe Award for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST

Welcome to awards season! Johnny Depp was honored with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This year’s nomination came for his unforgettable portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. Other actors nominated in the category include Sacha Baron Cohen for BORAT, Aaron Eckhart for THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, Chiwetel Ejiofor for KINKY BOOTS, and Will Ferrell for STRANGER THAN FICTION. You can read a full list of all the nominees HERE.

Johnny Depp has earned six previous Golden Globe nominations: for EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BENNY & JOON, ED WOOD, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, FINDING NEVERLAND, and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

The 64th annual Golden Globe Awards will be shown live on NBC beginning at 8 pm on Monday, January 15, 2007. This is a change from recent years when the Golden Globes aired on Sunday evenings.

The Zone thanks Intodadepps for breaking the news and emma and Charlotte Depp for additional stories. You can follow the Zone’s discussion of the Golden Globes on the News & Views forum. Congratulations, Johnny!

BREAKING NEWS–DEAD MAN'S CHEST nominated for Critic's Choice Award!

The Broadcast Film Critics Association has honored PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, with a nomination as Best Live Action Family Film of 2006. Other nominees in the category include AKEELAH AND THE BEE, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, FLICKA, and LASSIE. The Critic’s Choice Awards ceremony will be held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on January 12, 2007, and will be televised on the E! network on January 20, 2007. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for breaking the news; you can read a full list of Critic’s Choice nominees on the News & Views forum.

Zone readers will recall that PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL was nominated in the same category–Best Live Action Family Film–three years ago, and won. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, accepting the award, summoned Johnny Depp to the podium to share the award with him. The Zone congratulates Mr. Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, and all of the cast and crew of DEAD MAN’S CHEST on their nomination. Well done!

TV ALERT–Hunter S. Thompson documentary with Johnny Depp airs on Starz tonight

A new documentary on the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE, airs on the Starz cable channel tonight at 10 pm. Produced and directed by Tom Thurman, the film weaves recollections from some of Hunter’s closest friends and associates, including Johnny Depp, into a narrative that is embellished with scenes from AMERICAN BUFFALO and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. USA TODAY’s Mike Snider calls the documentary both “celebratory and melancholy”–appropriate emotions for all of us who still miss the Good Doctor, who is lauded by Tom Wolfe in the film as “this century‚Äôs greatest comic writer in the English language.”

The documentary could not be complete with a discussion of Hunter’s farewell, and includes footage of the firing of the Gonzo cannon. The film quotes Johnny Depp on his mission to build the Doctor’s memorial and fulfill his wishes: “When I got the news that Hunter had made his exit, I remember thinking almost immediately, ‘The cannon, we gotta do the cannon [. . .]’ I know somewhere in his crooked mind, he knew I was the only one perhaps loyal enough, perhaps insane enough, to attempt it.”

If you don’t have access to the Starz cable channel, don’t despair: BUY THE TICKET, TAKE THE RIDE will be released on DVD next spring.

The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news and updating the story several times on the News & Views forum. You can read Mike Snider’s article HERE.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp appears on Australian AFI telecast

Johnny Depp fans in Australia received a treat when Johnny made a brief taped appearance on the telecast of the AFI awards on Thursday night, December 7th. Dressed in his Captain Jack Sparrow costume, Johnny interrupted his PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN co-star, Geoffrey Rush, while Rush was at the microphone. “You may be the captain tonight,” Johnny teased, “but we all know who the real captain is,” and he pointed to himself. Some squabbling-sibling banter ensued: “Are not!” “Am, too.” “Are not!” “Am, too, and you know it!” The debate between Captain Sparrow and Captain Barbossa will continue at a theater near you next May, when the eagerly awaited PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END arrives in theaters.

Thanks very much to Carasun for the screencap of Johnny’s TV appearance; you can see a larger version HERE. Thanks also to emma, gilly, Amaranth, Red Shoes, RumLover and San for their contributions. And thanks to Johnny Depp for sharing his sense of humor–it’s always a pleasure to see Captain Jack Sparrow.

BREAKING NEWS–Alan Rickman to join Johnny Depp in SWEENEY TODD!

A spectacularly apt bit of casting news: Alan Rickman has joined the cast of Tim Burton’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical SWEENEY TODD, which begins shooting in the UK in February. Rickman–well-known to audiences all over the world as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films–will play Judge Turpin, the nemesis of Johnny Depp’s character Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. Jeremy Kay of SCREEN DAILY describes Turpin as “a sinister creature who frames Todd and steals his wife before meeting his untimely demise in Todd’s barber’s chair.” Rickman has a plenty of experience playing sinister characters–he was the mastermind behind the crime in the original DIE HARD, as well as the Sheriff of Nottingham in ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES. He also delivered a charming romantic performance as the Colonel who eventually wins Kate Winslet in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. We look forward to seeing him in SWEENEY TODD!

Thanks very much to emma for publishing the story, and to lizbet who heard Mr. Rickman discussing his role in SWEENEY TODD on a talk show last weekend and shared her scoop with us on the forums. You can read more about it on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

"A genuine treasure"–PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST is the #1 DVD of the holiday season

The news couldn’t be better for the cast and crew of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST–and their home studio, Walt Disney Pictures, must be very happy, too. DEAD MAN’S CHEST sold nearly 5 million DVDs on its first day of release, and is on track to become, not just the best-selling DVD of the year, but the best-selling live-action DVD of all time.

Celebrating the extraordinary success of DEAD MAN’S CHEST, Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment, told the press, “We could not be more thrilled with the incredible success of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. This franchise is a genuine treasure for us. [. . .] Consumers have an insatiable appetite for all things PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read the full press release on the News & Views forum.

Time to celebrate–DEAD MAN'S CHEST arrives on DVD in region 1 today!

Johnny Depp fans are heading to their local retail outlets in droves today to pick up the just-released summer blockbuster PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST on DVD. Depending on which store you chose, you could opt for a bonus disc with extra features at Best Buy (free with purchase while supplies last) or a bobblehead doll of Captain Jack as the king of Cannibal Island, complete with toe necklace ($9.99 with DVD purchase), also at Best Buy; WalMart gave away T-shirts to their earliest customers and is offering a free disc with 10 pirate songs with a DEAD MAN’S CHEST purchase, while Circuit City has a free POTC DVD game when you buy the movie.

DEAD MAN’S CHEST is available in a single-disc version which contains the film, the bloopers and the writers’ commentary track, or in a two-disc version which contains extra features on the filmmaking, including “Captain Jack: Head to Toe,” which explains the history of each part of Captain Jack Sparrow’s wardrobe. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is back with his beautiful on-set photographs and memories of shooting, while the hour-long “According to Plan” feature describes how the director, cast and crew triumphed over the challenges of shooting at extremely remote Caribbean locations with every manner of logistical hazard, including the occasional hurricane. Prices for the single disc and double-disc set vary widely, so check your local retailers.

You shouldn’t have any trouble locating a copy of DEAD MAN’S CHEST, since Disney is shipping 20 million copies to North American retailers for the December 5th release. That will easily make DEAD MAN’S CHEST one of the five top video sellers of all time.

Several fine reviews of the DVD and its extra features can be found on the Zone’s News & Views forum, if you want to check the features in detail. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp, theresa, and emma for articles on the DVD release.

Johnny Depp donates bowling ball with his self-portrait to Children's Hospice Ebay auction

Here’s an opportunity for Deppheads to support a worthy cause and obtain a one-of-a-kind work of art by Johnny Depp. The photo at left shows a bowling ball Johnny has donated to the Ebay charity auction benefiting the Children’s Hospice Coalition; to see a larger view, click HERE. The Brunswick ball comes with an autographed carrying case and bears a self-portrait drawn by Johnny Depp. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Children’s Hospice and its efforts to improve care for children with life-threatening conditions.

The auction begins December 4th and runs until December 14th. You can see all the items available HERE.

Zone readers are already very familiar with Children’s Hospice, and its dedicated founders Lori Butterworth and Devon Dabbs, from our 2006 Birthday Project. Many of you already wear bracelets like Johnny Depp’s, which say “Today is a gift. Have fun!” (If you would like to purchase a bracelet, perhaps as a holiday gift, they are available HERE, and 100% of the proceeds support Children’s Hospice.) But, as Lori and Devon remind us, “Unfortunately, the need for hospice care for children is not going away, and support like this is crucial.” Please visit the auction and consider a bid. You can also support Children’s Hospice with a direct donation; mail your check to Children’s Hospice, 65 Nielson Street #108, Watsonville, CA 95076.

The Zone thanks gilly and DeepinDepp for posting the picture of Johnny’s bowling ball and updating the news about the auction. And thanks to Johnny for reminding us that caring for children is not just our mutual responsibility but also our joy.

Johnny Depp on cover of DAILY VARIETY on December 1!

It’s December, and that means awards season is upon us . . . Disney started the season with a bang, placing Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow on the cover of Friday’s DAILY VARIETY Golden Globes preview issue (to see a larger view of the cover, click HERE). Disney did not neglect the upcoming Oscar race, however, placing DEAD MAN’S CHEST on the cover of the weekly VARIETY’s “Eye on the Oscars” preview issue on Friday as well. That cover features the famous shot of Captain Jack fleeing through the surf; to see it, click HERE. It’s a pleasure to see Disney’s enthusiastic support of their all-time box-office champion, DEAD MAN’S CHEST. Keep up the good work!