Articles from February 2007

Awards season already? David Poland predicts Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp for SWEENEY TODD

No sooner had the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out their Oscar statuettes on Sunday night than the drums started beating for the next awards season. Yes, that means predictions are being made about films that haven’t even been shot yet, much less released–I guess that’s why they call Hollywood “The Dream Factory.” While Oscar pundit David Poland acknowledges the absurdity of making any predictions at this point, he nonetheless is willing to hazard “just one guess” for next year’s race–and it’s an Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

“I believe now that Johnny Depp is a 95% bet to be nominated for Best Actor as the title character in SWEENEY TODD,” says Poland, “in a very, very crowded field of 2007 male movie performances . . . and an 80% chance to win.” Poland continues, “Word from the set about his performance–from multiple sources–is excellent. [. . .] Huge box office power [from the PIRATES movies] followed by an unexpected (though people have come to expect the unexpected from Depp) performance as the lead of a Grand Guignol opera . . . [would be] manna from heaven to Academy voters who are more than ready to deliver this guy an Oscar.”

Poland sees Johnny’s awards chances bolstered by his two previous Best Actor nominations and the fact that “he is seen as an artist by almost everyone.” Adds Poland, “The film can miss and Depp will still be nominated if he is any good at all. And it seems unlikely that he will be anything less than fantastic . . . which makes him the one clear frontrunner for 2007/8’s award season.”

Wow! Here’s one prediction we’d love to see come true. Thanks to emma for posting David Poland’s article on the News & Views forum . . . you can read his entire argument there, and early or not, it’s fascinating. –Part-Time Poet

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST wins an Oscar for Visual Effects!

Congratulations to John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson, and Allen Hall, who left the Kodak Theater after the 77th Academy Awards clutching golden statues for Achievement in Visual Effects for their stunning work on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. After his win, John Knoll said, “I’ve always felt that being nominated for an Academy Award is a tremendous honor. With effects-driven films becoming increasingly more sophisticated with each passing year, it makes receiving the Oscar this time around that much more special. That said, this is truly a team effort and the ILM crew is a very special group that deserves every bit of the recognition this award brings with it.” Added Hal Hickel, “I couldn’t be more proud of the work that our team put into this film. It’s the perfect example of technology and creativity coming together to further the art of cinematic storytelling, and at the end of the day that’s what we all strive to do.”

The Zone thanks Joni for posting the news, and DeepinDepp for the interview with the winners. You can read the full interview on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp rumored to be interested in film script about Edgar Allan Poe

Cinematical reports that Johnny Depp has “shown interest” in a film script concerning the life and mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe. This is only a rumor at this point, with no confirmation from Johnny’s people or a studio . . . however, Johnny as the great horror/mystery writer and poet is one rumored project that we’d love to see happen. According to Cinematical, the script (called FOREVERMORE) interweaves the puzzling events of Poe’s last days–the official cause of his death is a medical mystery–with his memories and his writing, as his life “flashes before his eyes.” Johnny’s affection for Poe as an author is well known; he and the late Vincent Price, who starred in many films based on Poe’s work, used to read Poe during the filming of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. The Zone thanks Red Shoes for posting the Cinematical article on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

The Johnny Depp Zone Archives are now open!

Happy news–after many months of development, the Johnny Depp Zone Archives are now open! This addition to the Zone represents a long-time dream of mine come true. The Archives are a great place to come and read to learn more about Johnny, to track his growth as an artist over the course of his career, or to be pleasantly diverted with stories about his movie characters. At present, the JDZ Archives have 3 sections: Interviews, which contains a collection of the best magazine and newspaper articles published about Johnny Depp in the past twenty years; By Johnny, a collection of works written by Johnny Depp himself; and FanFic, a collection of a few of our favorite works of fan fiction posted on the Zone over our history, presented in a reader-friendly format.

Many thanks to Theresa , who designed the Johnny Depp Zone Archives and did the code for every article and story included here. It was a labor of love, but it was a labor of many months, and we wouldn’t have the Archives without her. Many thanks also to Joni , who was our copy editor and who donated the entire By Johnny archive from her personal collection. Thanks to Emma, In-too-Depp, and DeepinDepp, who joined me in donating many articles from their Johnny Depp collections, and to all the contributors. We also thank Kittycat88, Deppsdebb, Endora, and Linda B. for sharing their fiction.

To visit the Archives, just click on the button next to MESSAGE BOARDS that reads JDZ ARCHIVES–it couldn’t be easier! The Archives are an ongoing project; we will be adding new articles regularly, so please visit often to see what’s new. –Part-Time Poet

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST nominated for five Saturn awards

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror films has announced the nominations for the 33rd Annual Saturn Awards, and box-office champion PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST received a nod as Best Fantasy Film–congratulations! Other films receiving nominations were CHARLOTTE’S WEB, ERAGON, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, STRANGER THAN FICTION, and SUPERMAN RETURNS. Congratulations also to Bill Nighy, who was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as undersea nemesis Davy Jones. Penny Rose received a nomination for Best Costume, and Ve Neill and Joel Harlow for Best Makeup; John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall were nominated for Best Special Effects. We send our applause and best wishes to all of these gifted artists.

Nominees have quite a while to wait to learn the results; the Saturn Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Universal City on Thursday, May 10, 2007. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for the news; you can read the official press release and a full list of nominees in all categories on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

The Zone mourns Dr. Hunter S. Thompson on the second anniversary of his death

It’s hard to believe that it was two years ago that we received the shocking news that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson had taken his own life. Johnny Depp once described the Good Doctor as “the most loyal and present friend I have ever had the honor of knowing” and as “a genius who revolutionized writing in the same way that Marlon Brando had done with acting.” Anita Thompson, Hunter’s widow, has invited everyone who wishes to remember HST to “please join from your own home the quiet bon fire she is having for her husband by lighting a fire or candle at 6pm Mountain Standard Time on February 20th and reading a HST passage. She will be doing the same at her Owl Farm home with family.” We will pause in our usual festivities to honor Hunter’s memory, light a candle, speak his words, and raise a Gonzo fist to the sky.

A tribute thread called “Remembering Hunter” is currently running on the Porch; it contains members’ favorite passages from HST’s writing and reminiscences of the way Hunter has impacted all of our lives. Thanks to Joni for starting the thread and all the members who have contributed such beautiful writing of their own.

I would like to honor Hunter S. Thompson’s memory today by reprinting part of the Zone tribute I wrote two years ago: “You believed in liberty and justice–and not just for the privileged few. You screamed like a banshee at oppression and injustice wherever you found it, even if it emanated from the Oval Office. You shouted ‘Fire!’ long before the rest of us sleepy souls even smelled smoke, and you were invariably right. Often you were right and all alone, called crazy for your pains. That didn’t matter. You kept writing, warning, and shouting. I see now that you were more dedicated to the Presidential oath–‘to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States’–than some who swore those words before the Chief Justice on Inauguration Day.

“‘I have to think that a person can do some good,’ you once told a British Omnibus film crew. Fear not–you did.

“[. . .] Thank you for never giving up, or caving in, or bowing down to the status quo. [. . .] For so long you were our Atlas, carrying all of us on your broad shoulders. Now we will trail in your wake, struggling to grow up and fight our own battles without Gonzo to lead us.

But we know how.
Thanks to you.”

RIP, HST. We love you always, and we miss you, every day. –Part-Time Poet

TOTAL FILM's "favourite actor of our lifetime"–a new interview with Johnny Depp

The new issue of TOTAL FILM (UK) names Johnny Depp the “favourite actor of our lifetime” and introduces their brand new interview with Johnny with a paragraph of praise: “Any way you take him, he’s cool: goatee, glasses, cowboy hat, smoking, non-smoking, dressed up, dressed down, dressed as a woman. Or a pirate. Or a wonky, wacko sweet-seller. . . . He can do anything. Really well.” Now that we have an accord, on to some of TOTAL FILM’s questions–these contain no spoilers about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END:

TOTAL FILM: Why do you think audiences have taken to [Captain Jack Sparrow] so much?

JD: I really have no idea. [. . . W]hat I thought would be the greatest challenge would be to create a character that a three-year-old would enjoy and an 83-year-old would enjoy. That was my goal. And the main ingredient of why I think he works for me at least is irreverence. Just total irreverence. Silliness. Not caring.

TOTAL FILM: He doesn’t care. And yet, he always has a plan . . . .

JD: [Laughs] Oh, yes, he’s always got a plan! Even when he doesn’t have a plan, he’s got a plan. Amazingly, he always sort of lands on his feet. He’s kind of feline in that way. He has more than nine lives, that’s for sure.

TOTAL FILM: Even after the success of the first film, no one was expecting the billion-dollar juggernaut that was DEAD MAN’S CHEST. Was it a surprise to you?

JD: Uh, yeah. It was shocking. Still is. I’m sort of amazed that so many people in so many corners of the globe embraced the films and embraced the character. It’s very moving, you know. Nothing like this has ever happened to me–and what’s happened with PIRATES hasn’t happened to many people. It’s very emotional, you know, that people feel this very strong connection with Captain Jack. Seeing little kids dressed up as him and talking like him and stuff–it’s just amazing.

That’s just a snippet of what Johnny has to say about Captain Jack and the experience of filming AT WORLD’S END. You can read the full TOTAL FILM interview on the Zone’s News & Views forum; thanks very much to trinni for sharing her scans of the article, but beware, there are some spoilers. –Part-Time Poet

DEEP SEA, narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, to be released on DVD March 27th!

If you weren’t able to catch DEEP SEA 3D in at your local Imax theater, the 2006 Howard Hall film, narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, is soon to be released on DVD . . . not in 3D, though. Amazon writes, “Dive in! A sea full of wonders awaits. Famed oceanic filmmaker Howard Hall (INTO THE DEEP) guides this immersive adventure that lets you swim alongside some of the most exotic creatures of the planet. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet provide the narration. And an unusual array of finned and scaled stars are ready to steal every scene. Among them: Green Sea Turtles who gather off Kona so that Surgeonfish can strip harmful algae from their shells . . .an ominous, predatory Humboldt Squid that changes color four times per second like a flashing strobe light . . .an underdog Mantis Shrimp, whose claws have the speed of a 22-caliber bullet, in battle against a hungry octopus . . . .” DEEP SEA will be released on March 27, 2007; Amazon offers a pre-order price of $20.99.

Even better–if you were also planning to order Johnny’s INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO appearance on DVD, Amazon offers a chance to pre-order both together for a combined price of $32.18. Free shipping, too! Thanks to Theresa for posting the news; you can read more about DEEP SEA on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp named #1 icon of the past decade in TOTAL FILM's 10th Birthday issue!

The UK’s TOTAL FILM magazine is celebrating its tenth birthday in great style–with a fabulous cover featuring PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, and a feature which counts down “the ultimate icons of the last decade.” And who is number one? Yup . . . you guessed it . . . Johnny Depp. The TOTAL FILM 10th Birthday issue will feature an exclusive interview with Johnny. In their words, “the man behind countless independent smashes and the blockbusting Captain Jack Sparrow gives TOTAL FILM a World Exclusive interview on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END. As the eagerly anticipated PIRATES sequel is set to be 2007’s biggest movie, the 10th birthday issue of TOTAL FILM dedicates its special gatefold cover to the movie, showcasing the five main characters, and also gives away a giant A1-sized PIRATES poster.” We love the cover blurb, “‘I’m in Hell’–World Exclusive, Johnny Depp on the Biggest Movie Ever.” Here’s a magazine definitely worth adding to your Depp collection. Thanks to emma for sharing the good news!

Thanks also to Frenchy, who brings word that the February issue of CINE LIVE has Captain Jack Sparrow on the cover and a feature article on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END. See the Zone’s News & Views forum for details on both magazines. –Part-Time Poet

Drinks all around! PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST wins six Visual Effects Society awards!

The visual effects wizards of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST received a resounding “Huzzah!” from their peers at the Visual Effects Society on Sunday night, winning all six awards for which they were nominated. Wow! Congratulations to John Knoll, Jill Brooks, Hal Hickel, and Charlie Gibson, who received the Visual Effects Society’s equivalent of a “Best Picture” award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. DEAD MAN’S CHEST also won for Best Single Visual Effect of the Year for the “Flying Dutchman Sequence;” congratulations to John Knoll, Ned Gorman, Jakub Pistecky, and Tom Fejes. And it’s no surprise that DEAD MAN’S CHEST collected a trophy for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture–that would be the one-and-only Davy Jones. Congratulations to Steve Walton, Jung-Seung Hong, Marc Chu, and James Tooley for their work.

DEAD MAN’S CHEST also won Visual Effects Society Awards for Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture–congratulations to Chris Stoski, Susumu Yukuhiro, Jack Mongovan, and Greg Salter; Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture–congratulations to Bruce Holcomb, Ron Woodall, Charlie Bailey, and Carl Miller; and Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture–congratulations to Eddie Pasquarello, Francois Lambert, Jeff Sutherland, and Tory Mercer.

Variety reports that, for the first time, the VES Awards were held at the Kodak Grand Ballroom in Hollywood and “saw the biggest attendance yet at the rapidly growing event.” It’s a pleasure to see these artists recognized for their contributions, and we join the Visual Effects Society in giving John Knoll’s crew a standing ovation. Thanks to Gilbert’s Girl and sleepy for sharing the great news! A full list of winners in all categories appears on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

DEAD MAN'S CHEST wins BAFTA for Special Visual Effects!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST came up a winner at the BAFTA Awards, as Gore Verbinski’s film claimed the trophy for Special Visual Effects. Congratulations to John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall, and the dozens of talented technicians who worked with them to create Davy Jones, his Flying Dutchman crew, and the other effects that made DEAD MAN’S CHEST unique and exciting. Discussing his work on DEAD MAN’S CHEST, John Knoll recently said, “Looking at the whole show, there was a mixture of things . [. . .] We had physical effects, miniatures, CG matte paintings, CG water. But, Davy Jones was the significant aspect; I think everyone really liked Davy Jones. It took a lot of effort to put a system in place that preserved the nuances of Bill Nighy’s performance and was actor and director friendly.” Modestly, Knoll adds, “A lot of the things we did to make that character happen succeeded.” Agreed!

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for the awards news and Rum Lover for the John Knoll interview. –Part-Time Poet

Red-letter day is May 19th for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END premiere!

Although there has not yet been any official announcement from Disney, internal communications from and for Disneyland employees strongly suggest that the premiere of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END will take place at Disneyland, site of the two previous PIRATES premieres, on Saturday, May 19, 2007. The Disney calendar lists special theme park hours for May 19th: “Due to a private event on Saturday, May 19, 2007, Disneyland Park will be opening at 6:30 a.m. and closing at 5:00 p.m. Disney’s California Adventure Park will extend its hours that day and will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.” This is the procedure that was followed for the previous POTC premieres.

Mouseplanet.com notes, “Based on the two prior events, the premiere is expected to impact several areas of the park. Much of Main Street will be blocked by the red carpet and related equipment. This will likely mean that that Parade of Dreams will not be presented, and that guided tours will either be modified or not offered at all that day. [. . .] The stage and screen for the premiere will be constructed on Tom Sawyer Island, which is already scheduled to be closed for refurbishment. The Rivers of America waterfront area will be covered by the large risers needed to hold the audience, and the walkways through the area will be tight. [. . .] If you are planning to visit Disneyland solely to watch the red carpet arrivals, be prepared for a long, hot day. Many like-minded fans will arrive right at park opening to stake out the best spots along the carpet.” Zoners who attended previous premieres can confirm the necessity of arriving early; you can read their advice on the News & Views forum.

GAO reports that preparations are underway for a premiere of AT WORLD’S END in Japan, but there is no date as yet, while Kittycat88 placed a timely call to Disney Publicity to investigate whether there will be an AWE premiere in Europe. Disney did confirm that there will be one European premiere, but could not give a date nor even say whether the venue would be London or Paris or elsewhere; that decision has yet to be made.

The Zone thanks jansy sparrow, SueB, DeepinDepp, Kimmie, GAO, and Kittycat88 for updating us about the premiere. We can’t wait for a chance to see AT WORLD’S END! –Part-Time Poet

Great news! INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO with Johnny Depp to be released on DVD in May

That photo at left is a screencap from Johnny Depp’s memorable interview with James Lipton on INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO–an all-time favorite of Deppheads everywhere. On May 1st, you can retire your worn videotape of that interview, which originally aired on February 25, 2002, and enjoy a high-quality DVD instead. Amazon has announced the release of INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO: JOHNNY DEPP, which can be pre-ordered for $11.19 (list price $14.99). Special features include a new introduction by interviewer James Lipton, and “Great Moments That Didn’t Make the Cut”–that’s right, deleted sections of the original interview. The running time is listed as approximately 1 and 1/2 hours, which suggests quite a bit of footage that we haven’t seen before. One can always hope! The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for the wonderful news, and Theresa for the ITAS screencap. –Part-Time Poet

The Demon Barber is in business: Tim Burton's SWEENEY TODD, starring Johnny Depp, begins principal photography today!

Cameras began rolling at Pinewood Studios today, February 5th, on Tim Burton’s sixth collaboration with Johnny Depp, the DreamWorks/Warner Bros. production of the Stephen Sondheim musical SWEENEY TODD. Yes, Johnny will be doing his own singing as the notorious demon barber of Fleet Street, and Helena Bonham Carter will play the pie-maker Mrs. Lovett. Alan Rickman, Anthony Head, newcomer Jayne Wisener, Timothy Spall, Olivier winner Laura Michelle Kelly, Sacha Baron Cohen and the legendary Christopher Lee round out the exciting cast.

The photo at left is taken from a two-page ad in Variety announcing that “principal photography begins February 5, 2007”–thanks to Emma for the ad and DeepinDepp for breaking the news. You can read more about it on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Tim Burton will be shooting from a screenplay written by producer John Logan, who wrote THE AVIATOR and GLADIATOR. Longtime Burton collaborators Chris Lebenzon (editor) and Colleen Atwood (costumer designer) are back, and the director of photography is the marvelous Dariusz Wolski, who shot all three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. The Zone congratulates the cast and crew of SWEENEY TODD as they begin filming–we wish them a bloody good time. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and DEAD MAN'S CHEST nominated for 2007 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Nominations were announced today for the 20th annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, which honor favorites in film, TV, music, sports, video games and books. Johnny Depp received a nomination as favorite male movie star; other nominees in the category include Jack Black, Adam Sandler, and Will Smith. Johnny’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN co-star Keira Knightley was nominated on the distaff side; other nominees for favorite female movie star include Halle Berry, Dakota Fanning, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The year’s box-office champion, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST, was nominated as favorite movie, along with BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2, CLICK, and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM.

Deppheads have fond memories of Johnny’s surprise appearance at the 2005 Kids’ Choice Awards, when (as the picture at left testifies) he was greeted with several gallons of green slime. (You can relive that event by visiting the Zone’s “Getting Slimed” gallery in The Deppartment–click on the GALLERIES button above.) This year’s ceremony will take place at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on March 31st; three-time Kids’ Choice winner Justin Timberlake will host the event. Kids can begin to cast votes online on March 5th; a complete list of nominees is on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the story. –Part-Time Poet

"Johnny Depp felt SHANTARAM was in secure hands": An interview with director Mira Nair

In an interview with Subhash K. Jha of the Mumbai Mirror, Mira Nair discussed her excitement at being chosen to direct SHANTARAM and her plans for the film, which begins shooting in November. “Yes, I’m very charged about it. When in June 2006 Peter Weir left the project, [. . .]Warner Brothers [. . .] called me. It’s a very big project. Not like you make a phone call and you get SHANTARAM. They sent me the script in confidence and warned me that other directors were being considered.” While the producers requested a private screening of Nair’s most recent film, THE NAMESAKE, she immersed herself in Gregory David Roberts’ novel. “SHANTARAM is set in the 1980s’ Mumbai at a time when I was in the city,” Nair explained, “I knew it thoroughly.”

Armed with her firsthand knowledge of the city and its culture, Nair could transmit her vision of SHANTARAM to the producers. “Authenticity is very important to SHANTARAM,” Nair said. “I guess it was my love for Mumbai city, my knowledge of the script and their fondness for my work that clinched the matter. And of course,” she added, “Johnny Depp felt SHANTARAM was in secure hands.”

Asked to elaborate on the film’s star, Nair replied, “How’s Johnny Depp? Oh, for all stratospheric box-office status he’s a humble soul. He’s generally inquisitive about the world.” She is pleased to have cast Indian star Amitabh Bachchan in his first Hollywood project; he will play Kaderbhai, the Mumbai gangster who becomes a mentor and surrogate father to Johnny’s character of Lin. Predicted Nair, “Amitabh Bachchan and Johnny Depp will be very good together. “

The Zone thanks Emma for the interview with Mira Nair; you can read it in its entirety on the Zone’s News & Views forum, as well as a companion story on the casting of Amitabh Bachchan. –Part-Time Poet

New photos of Johnny Depp in PEOPLE and OK! WEEKLY–February 12th issues

If you’d like a permanent souvenir of Johnny Depp’s performance with The Kids at the Sheila Witkin Memorial Concert in Florida on January 28th, pick up the current issues of PEOPLE MAGAZINE and OK! WEEKLY (cover date February 12, 2007). In PEOPLE, Johnny’s photo is the first one in the Star Tracks section on page 14; it’s the lovely smiling shot featured in the thumbnail at left. A full scan appears on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The photo in OK! also appears on page 14. It’s a quarter-page pic of Johnny playing his guitar, but instead of the smile, he has an intense expression. Both are worthy additions to your Depp collection. It’s nice to see the entertainment magazines reporting some genuine good news for a change. –Part-Time Poet