BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp to film PUBLIC ENEMIES for director Michael Mann

What will Johnny Depp be doing this winter? Preparing to play notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s film PUBLIC ENEMIES, which is scheduled to begin shooting on March 10, 2008 in Chicago. Windy City Deppheads, rejoice!

Yes, it’s official; Variety reports that Johnny and Michael Mann met and settled the deal yesterday in Los Angeles. “Meeting hours before the Hollywood premiere of Depp’s SWEENEY TODD, the director and actor shook hands on a deal that triggers a March 10 start for PUBLIC ENEMIES in Chicago,” says Variety. ” [The] drama is set during the great crime wave of 1933-34, when the government’s attempts to stop Depression-era criminal legends such as John Dillilnger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd transformed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI into the country’s first federal police force.”

PUBLIC ENEMIES will be made for Universal, Variety reports, with Mann and his Forward Pass producing along with Kevin Misher and his Misher Films. Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal will be executive producer.

The current writers’ strike will pose no problem for PUBLIC ENEMIES; director Mann is likely to be satisfied with the script in its current state, as he wrote it himself. The screenplay is based on Bryan Burrough’s 2004 book, PUBLIC ENEMIES: AMERICA’S GREATEST CRIME WAVE AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI, 1933-34.

The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for breaking the news in this fast-developing story–the first whisper of this project appeared in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER on Tuesday, and one day later it was a done deal. You can read more about the project on the Zone’s News & Views forum; to read the Variety article, click here:

The Zone congratulates Johnny Depp and Michael Mann on their new project, and wishes them a swift and satisfying shoot in Chicago. PUBLIC ENEMIES will certainly be on our Most-Wanted list! –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp and Tim Burton attend SWEENEY TODD screening in Los Angeles

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton attending a screening of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET last night (December 5th), as a very proud DreamWorks studio unveiled the film to 700 invited guests in Los Angeles. The screening was hosted by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Stacey Snider in honor of Johnny, Tim–newly crowned Best Director of 2007 by the National Board of Review–and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The LA Times’s Tom O’Neil reports that Johnny, as is his custom, did not watch the film, but he “chatted casually with scores of attendees” before and after the screening.

Regarding the demon barber he plays, Johnny told Tom O’Neil, “I love the character. He’s super complex because there’s a whole lot going on there. Fifty-one percent of the people say he’s a madman and 49 percent say he’s the original victim in the plot.” And what is Johnny’s verdict about Sweeney? “I belive he’s a victim,” Johnny said. “I believe he’s a tragic figure.” You can hear Tom O’Neil’s podcast chats with Johnny Depp and Stephen Sondheim on O’Neil’s Gold Derby page here:

The Zone thanks emma, dharma_bum, mikaDepp and AnaMaria for news and pictures of the Los Angeles screening. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Tim Burton wins "Best Director" award from National Board of Review for SWEENEY TODD

Awards season got underway this afternoon as the National Board of Review announced their 2007 winners. Although they chose the Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as Best Picture, they gave Best Director honors to Tim Burton for his film of Stephen Sondheim’s musical SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Best Actor went to George Clooney for MICHAEL CLAYTON, and Best Actress to Julie Christie for AWAY FROM HER. SWEENEY TODD was also included on the National Board of Review’s list of the ten best films of 2007. Congratulations!

The Zone thanks Ventoux and Bohemian for posting the news; you can read more about the awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet