Articles from May 2008

A work in progress–so far, the Johnny Depp Zone's 2008 Birthday Project has raised $3,200!

Great news–the Johnny Depp Zone’s 2008 Birthday Project in support of the Child Life Fund of American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin has now raised more than $3,200! As always, the generosity of the Zone’s members and readers is amazing. Thank you all so much.

We chose a Wisconsin charity for this year’s Birthday Project as a way of giving something back to the area which has been Johnny’s home this spring, and which has given him–and all of the thousands of Depp-related visitors–such a warm welcome and so many cherished memories. American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison is the pediatric unit of UW Health, the academic medical center and health system for the University of Wisconsin (PUBLIC ENEMIES director Michael Mann’s alma mater). You can read more about American Family Children’s Hospital on the Zone’s 2008 Birthday Project forum or on the hospital’s website.

To learn more about the Zone’s 2008 Birthday Project, or to make a donation via Paypal or directly through the American Family Children’s Hospital website, please click here.

Thanks so much to all who have given to the Zone’s birthday gift for Johnny Depp. You are helping to comfort seriously ill children and their families at the time when comfort means the most; that’s a true act of kindness, a gift worthy of such an exceptionally kind man. –Part-Time Poet

INDIANA JONES can't topple Captain Jack Sparrow's Memorial Day box office record

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL had to settle for second place on the all-time Memorial Day box office list, as–despite higher ticket prices–its domestic box office fell quite a bit short of the record set last year by PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END. The 4th Indiana Jones film took in $126.9 million over the just-concluded Memorial Day weekend; that’s almost $13 million less than POTC: AT WORLD’S END’s record Memorial Day weekend earnings of $139.8 million in 2007. Thanks to Gilbert’s Girl for the news, and congratulations to Captain Jack and his crew! –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES films at the Biograph in Chicago

The marquee of the Biograph says it all: the feature film it claims to be playing is MANHATTAN MELODRAMA, starring Clark Gable and William Powell–the 1934 gangster film that John Dillinger attended on the night he was betrayed to the FBI by the notorious “Woman in Red.” Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES filmed at the Biograph with Johnny Depp on Friday night, May 23, but there was no meet-and-greet. Fans did wait in the area (although they are not permitted near the Biograph itself), but some were rowdy and disruptive, creating safety concerns. One post on the HollywoodChicago website gives a few details: “It is 6 a.m. and I just got home from waiting to see Johnny. No luck. He was there, but a group of like six guys chased his vehicle down and then tried to go into the area where the trailers were parked not once but twice. They ruined it for everyone!”

Don’t expect any filming with JD over the Memorial Day weekend, as he has headed back to Los Angeles; although there will be more footage to shoot at the Biograph later next week, there will be no meet-and-greets, according to the crew members who spoke to the onlookers Friday night. Those who want to try to see Johnny will need to wait for other opportunities. The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for the news; you can read more details on the News & Views forum in the “PUBLIC ENEMIES in Chicago” thread. –Part-Time Poet

Terry Gilliam's THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS enters post-production in London, sells well in Cannes

UK sources reveal that director Terry Gilliam has completed blue-screen work in Vancouver on THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, and has returned to London to shoot miniatures and begin post-production work on the fantasy adventure. Peerless Camera Company, a London-based optical house which previously worked with Gilliam on THE BROTHERS GRIMM, will be responsible for the elaborate visual effects in IMAGINARIUM. The film features the last work of the late Heath Ledger, whose role was completed after his death by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. The storyline concerns “a theatre troupe that takes its audience into fantastical realms,” according to Screen Daily; other major roles are played by Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Tom Waits and Lily Cole.

Mandate International, which has international distribution rights for THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, has had great success selling the film at Cannes, and “expects all territories to sell out by the end of the market,” which is good news for fans. Screen Daily reports that IMAGINARIUM’s biggest deals so far are to the UK (Lionsgate UK), to Ledger’s homeland, Australia (Hoyts), and to Japan (Showgate). The Zone thanks Emma for posting the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum.–Part-Time Poet

His kind of town–Johnny Depp enjoys Chicago jazz at the Green Mill

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Johnny Depp visited legendary jazz club the Green Mill on Tuesday evening (May 20th): “Johnny Depp was spotted wearing an Irish cap, jeans with a bandanna sticking out a back pocket and a white collared shirt with horizontal pale blue stripes while soaking up some jazz in a front booth at the Green Mill Tuesday night. ” Yup, that sounds like Johnny . . . . Less happy news, though, is the word of violence in the neighborhood, as the Sun-Times continues: “Close call? Depp, in town filming gangster flick PUBLIC ENEMIES, in which he plays John Dillinger, slipped out a side door around 2 a.m.– which was a stone’s throw from a drive-by shooting 30 minutes later.” Yikes! Be careful out there . . . .

In the same issue of the Sun-Times, Bill Zwecker reports, “Johnny Depp shopped up a storm Wednesday at Madison & Friends, the trendy children’s clothing boutique on Oak Street. During a two-hour spending spree, Depp dropped big bucks on jeans, shirts, outerwear and shoes for his kids–one of the biggest sales for shop owner David Shelist in the store’s 12-year history.” How sweet . . . and what a refreshing way for an A-list actor to spend his free time, shopping for his kids. Thanks to Sleepy and Emma for the news; you can read more (including a link to the Madison & Friends website) on the Pit. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp greets fans in Chicago on May 19th–new photo

Johnny Depp spent Monday filming another bank heist for Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES; this time the Dillinger gang invaded the Bridgeview Bank in uptown Chicago. A crowd gathered to watch the filming, and those who waited after dark had a chance to meet Johnny. A reader of Chicago blog Uptown Update reports that the meet-and-greet took place after 10 p.m. on Monday night “at the lot at the corner of Winthrop and Lawrence.” Johnny shook hands and took pictures with about 35 fans; to see a larger version of the photo at left, which was shot through a chain-link fence, click here.

Uptown Update’s source has kind words for Johnny and bodyguard Jerry Judge: “They were extremely nice, and even apologized for the ‘no autograph’ policy. He said they are not allowed to, because the later they stay out, the later they have to start up in the morning.”

The Zone thanks RamblinRebel and FANtasticJD for the news, and Theresa for the photo. You can see more photos on the Uptown Update site here ; scroll down to the May 19th entry called “Quiet on the Set.” For more information on Chicago filming, see the “PUBLIC ENEMIES in Chicago” thread on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Superbad idea . . . Jonah Hill updating 21 JUMP STREET for Columbia Pictures, says Variety

Variety reports that Jonah Hill “is in negotiations to develop a modern-day adaptation of 21 JUMP STREET” for Columbia Pictures. Mr. Hill, a regular fixture in Judd Apatow comedies and best known for last summer’s SUPERBAD, “would develop the screenplay as a potential starring vehicle and serve as executive producer,” says Variety. Producing the film will be Neal Moritz and series co-creator Stephen J. Cannell.

Deppheads have fond memories (even if Johnny Depp may not) of 21 JUMP STREET, which ran on Fox TV from 1987-1991 and brought JD teen idol status as Officer Tom Hanson, but this project seems unlikely to draw them to the theaters, as Jonah Hill is, to put it as generously as possible, no Johnny Depp. Nor will the new film resemble the series in its earnest dramatic tone: although the original JUMP STREET dealt with a squad of young cops going undercover in high schools and colleges and dealing with serious issues like drugs, AIDS and teen suicide, Hill plans to make his version “a flat-out comedy.” Hill told MTV’s Shawn Adler, “It’s going to have some of the funniest people around in it, and it’s going to be really funny, I hope,” he said. “Or we won’t make it! If it doesn’t turn out funny, I promise you, we will not make it.” Attaching the JUMP STREET name to this project seems a rather cynical exploitation that wouldn’t serve the series or its fans well, so why not just write an original high-school comedy instead?

The Zone thanks Vermontfudge for posting the story; you can read a spirited discussion of the merits of this project (or lack thereof) on the Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

Happy 10th Anniversary to FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS!

How time flies . . . today, May 15th, marks the tenth anniversary of the premiere of Terry Gilliam’s film of Hunter S. Thompson’s masterwork FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS at the Cannes Film Festival: the premiere took place on May 15, 1998, and yes, the Zone was here to mark the occasion. To see a photo of Johnny Depp at the premiere with co-star Benecio Del Toro and director Terry Gilliam, click here. The Zone has a thread on the Movie Nights forum honoring the FEAR AND LOATHING anniversary, where members are sharing their reminiscences about the film and what it has meant to them; certainly it showed all of us a very different view of Johnny Depp! (No, we don’t mean bald. We mean transformed into a completely different being.) We send our congratulations to everyone involved in making FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS; there has been nothing quite like it before or since. And we pause one more time to honor the memory of the late Hunter S. Thompson, who gave us FEAR AND LOATHING and so much more. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES shoots in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin–new photo of Johnny Depp in costume

The small town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin got ready for its closeup on Tuesday morning, standing in for the far different climate of Tucson, Arizona by means of “artificial sunlight” and some imported cactus planted out in front of the Hotel Rogers. Extras in vintage Western attire dressed the set. According to radio station WBEV, “Filming got underway for the exterior shots at 4:45pm and included six takes of Johnny Depp in a vintage automobile turning from North Spring Street onto Maple Avenue, exiting the vehicle, removing an item from the trunk and entering the historic building. After filming for several hours inside the lobby, there were a couple more exterior shots taken under artificial sunlight and then crews moved on to Columbus.”

Zone readers who have been following the PUBLIC ENEMIES filming will notice something different in the new photo of Johnny Depp taken at Beaver Dam on Tuesday; his character John Dillinger is sporting a moustache for this scene. To see a larger version of the photo, click here–you can see the transplanted cactus in the background. The Zone thanks Emma for the WBEV story and Wisconsin News for the photograph. –Part-Time Poet

Columbus fans get lucky–Johnny Depp does a meet-and-greet after shooting PUBLIC ENEMIES

Spectators milled around base camp in Columbus nearly all day on Monday, hoping to catch a glimpse of Johnny Depp as he was ferried back and forth to shooting at the Poser house, an elegant home playing the role of a house of ill repute (fortunately the Posers have a good sense of humor) in PUBLIC ENEMIES. Johnny waved and smiled to the crowd with each trip, and many who had traveled long distances just to see him pronounced themselves contented to have seen his face. Shelly Kuseske drove six hours from St. Cloud, Minnesota to stand in the cold in Columbus. “It’s the first time I’ve done something like this,” she told the Portage Daily Register. “Even if I don’t get to shake his hand, I will see him from a distance.”

Zoner Bringmethathorizon waited in the crowd alongside a young woman who had traveled from Texas in hopes of meeting Johnny Depp. They were patient, waiting late into the evening, and their wishes were granted. “Johnny and Jerry emerged from his trailer about 11:15 or later,” Bringmethathorizon writes in her account of the day’s shooting. “The crowd of about 200 was very, very quiet, you could hear Johnny talk way down the line,” she reports, adding that “he looked awesome.” To see a larger version of our photo of the awesome Johnny Depp greeting fans in Columbus on Monday night, click here. Many thanks to Sunprairie for the beautiful picture, and to Bringmethathorizon for sharing her eyewitness report. You can read all about her adventures on the Zone’s Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp and PUBLIC ENEMIES return to Columbus, Wisconsin–shooting today!

After several postponements, the cast and crew of PUBLIC ENEMIES, including Johnny Depp as charismatic gangster John Dillinger, have returned to the town of Columbus, Wisconsin, where shooting of the film began last March 17th. Director Michael Mann is scheduled to film interior scenes at a private home (the Poser mansion) today. Zoner Bringmethathorizon confirms that Johnny is in Columbus; she saw him this morning, in makeup, “making a quick dash into the Poser house.” We thank DepplySmitten for passing along the message. A few scenes were shot at the Poser mansion the last time PUBLIC ENEMIES was in town; to see a photograph of the mansion’s lovely owner, with Michael Mann on her left and Johnny Depp on her right, click here.

PUBLIC ENEMIES will wrap up shooting in the Columbus area tomorrow (Tuesday, May 13th). Location scout Adam Boor told Jason Maddox of the Daily Register that the filmmakers will report to Beaver Dam on Tuesday morning to film scenes at The Rogers hotel. Later on Tuesday afternoon, they will return to Columbus to shoot scenes in the 100 block of James Street. The Zone thanks Emma and Bringmethathorizon for the Columbus news, and FANtasticJD for the photo. –Part-Time Poet

Great news–the Zone Birthday Project raises $2,000 in our first week!

The Zone is happy to announce that in the first week of the 2008 Birthday Project, we have raised more than $2,000 for the Child Life Fund of American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, as our birthday gift for Johnny Depp. Many thanks to all of our donors for their generosity, and thanks to those of you who donated directly to the hospital, for letting us know of your support for the Birthday Project. We’re off to a great start!

To read more about the Zone’s 2008 Birthday Project, or to make a donation via Paypal or directly through the American Family Children’s Hospital website, click here. –Part-Time Poet

Here's Johnny! New photo of Johnny Depp taken May 9th

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp descending from a private plane and getting into an SUV; it was taken on May 9, 2008, and since Johnny was due to shoot a night scene for PUBLIC ENEMIES near Mirror Lake, Wisconsin on the evening of May 9th, we assume (but don’t know for certain) that the airport where this photo was taken was in Wisconsin. Many thanks to Bonnie and AnaMaria for the photo; to see a larger version, click here. Thanks also to Betty Sue, who happened to encounter JD’s head of security Jerry Judge in a coffee shop near Mirror Lake on Friday afternoon; Betty Sue confirmed both Johnny’s presence in Wisconsin and the Friday night shooting schedule for us. “They’re shooting at Mirror Lake tonight [Friday night May 9th],” Betty Sue wrote, “but the area is secluded and closed off. And he [Jerry Judge] said security guards would get me if I tried hiding out in the woods.” You can read more about Betty Sue’s conversation with Mr. Judge on the Porch forum, in the thread called “PUBLIC ENEMIES at Mirror Lake.” –Part-Time Poet

Wanna be in pictures? Devoted Deppoholic donates $91,000 to charity for a cameo in PUBLIC ENEMIES with Johnny Depp

An anonymous Johnny Depp fan with deep pockets donated $91,000 to support the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, thereby winning the opportunity to appear as an extra in Michael Mann’s film PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp as gangster folk hero and Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger. The cameo appearance was offered for auction by charitybuzz.com. Here’s what the auction winner receives: “A featured extra, non-speaking role in a scene with Johnny Depp to be filmed on a single day–to be determined by the producers and subject to change–in the period of May 19 – May 31, 2008, inclusive, in the Chicago, IL area. Must be at least 18 years or older. Travel arrangements, travel to the Chicago area and accommodations are NOT included in the auction and will be the responsibility of the winning bidder. Ground transport, as determined by the producers, directly to and from the set within the greater Chicago area will be provided. “

The money from the auction will go to the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, a living memorial which aims to “advance the human rights movement through providing innovative support to courageous human rights defenders around the world who have won the RFK Human Rights Award.” Auction organizers were stunned by the response to the Depp auction. Charitybuzz.com CEO Coppy Holzman told the press: “We are thrilled to have been able to raise so much money for Robert’s wife Ethel Kennedy and The RFK Memorial.”

The Zone thanks Emma for posting the announcement of the auction, and Yellow Hair and Vermont Fudge for announcing the results. We send our best wishes to the generous bidder and hope that he or she finds the filming experience a dream come true. We also tip our hat to Michael Mann and Johnny Depp for making this opportunity possible and generating so much revenue for the RFK Memorial.–Part-Time Poet

Daniel Depp's first novel, "Loser's Town," to be published by Simon & Schuster next spring

Congratulations to Daniel P. Depp, whose debut novel “Loser’s Town” will be published by Simon & Schuster in the spring of 2009. The novel has a Hollywood background; press reports describe the plot this way: “Set in the celebrity-studded enclave of the Hollywood Hills, the novel sees a private investigator, David Spandau, hired by an A-list actor who is receiving a series of chilling death threats from an obsessive fan.” Sounds very intriguing and Raymond Chandlerish, although we earnestly hope that last plot detail is pure fiction, since the author’s kid brother happens to be an A-list actor very dear to our hearts . . . .

Longtime Zoners will remember that Daniel Depp (credited as D. P. Depp) co-wrote the screenplay of THE BRAVE (1997) with Johnny. “With his background as scriptwriter and producer, Daniel brings a unique authority to this material,” says his British literary agent, Meg Davis. “There is keen enthusiasm for the quality of his writing, which has enormous depth and heart, and a rich sense of humour.”

ONBC moderators Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas have already penciled in “Loser’s Town” as a book club selection for next spring; we can’t wait to read Daniel Depp’s novel. Many thanks to Mrs Pink, FANtastic JD and Vermont Fudge for sharing the happy news; you can read more about it on the Porch. –Part-Time Poet

DVD Alert–Amazon.com has seasons of 21 JUMP STREET on sale, 2 for $25

If you don’t yet own any seasons of 21 JUMP STREET and would like to build your Johnny Depp collection, Amazon.com in the U.S. is offering a terrific sale on seasons 1-3 (the ones with plenty of Officer Tom Hanson) right now: a full season is only $12.50, so you could pick up two years of JUMP STREET for $25. That’s a very good deal, since the normal list price for a season of 21 JUMP STREET is $29.95. To investigate the Amazon DVD sale, click here, and scroll down a few rows. –Part-Time Poet

Get ready for Pirates of the Caribbean weekend on Starz May 17 and 18!

For the first time ever, TV viewers will get a chance to see all three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies back-to-back. The Starz channel will air the POTC trilogy throughout the weekend of May 17th–18th. Beginning at 6 a.m. (Eastern and Pacific) on Saturday, May 17, THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL and DEAD MAN’S CHEST will air back-to-back, leading up to the Starz Saturday Premiere of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, which airs at 9 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific). Following the world television premiere of AT WORLD’S END, all three POTC films will continue to be shown back-to-back through the evening of Sunday, May 18th. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Disneyland premiere of AT WORLD’S END, which took place on May 19, 2007.

The Zone thanks Cindy for posting the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

No PUBLIC ENEMIES shooting in Columbus or Beaver Dam, Wisconsin until next week

The much-awaited return of Johnny Depp to Columbus, Wisconsin for the filming of Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES has been postponed for another week; scenes with Dillinger scheduled to be shot this week in Columbus and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin have been delayed until Monday, May 12th and Tuesday, May 13th. “We’re not shooting in Columbus this week,” location scout Adam Boor told the press; filming is now tentatively scheduled for a home in Columbus on Monday. On Tuesday morning, the cast and crew will head to Beaver Dam to film scenes at The Rogers, with a return to Columbus on Tuesday afternoon to shoot scenes on James Street.

PUBLIC ENEMIES filmed at the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on Monday; these were scenes focusing on the FBI, with a newly-shorn Billy Crudup playing J. Edgar Hoover and Christian Bale as agent Melvin Purvis. You can see a few pictures from that shoot on the Pit forum. The Zone thanks Emma for the update on the Columbus filming and Gilbert’s Girl for the Madison pictures. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp receives MTV Movie Awards nominations for Best Villain and Best Comedic Performance; three nominations for POTC: AT WORLD'S END

Johnny Depp received an unusual double nomination for the 2008 MTV Movie Awards: he is nominated as Best Villian for SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET and as Best Comedic Performance for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END. Other nominees in the Best Villain category include Denzel Washington in AMERICAN GANGSTER, Angelina Jolie in BEOWULF, Topher Grace in SPIDER-MAN 3, and Javier Bardem in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. In Best Comedic Performance, other nominees include Adam Sandler in I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY, Jonah Hill in SUPERBAD, Seth Rogen in KNOCKED UP, and Amy Adams in ENCHANTED. Quite a diverse group!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END received a nomination as Best Movie, and Keira Knightley was nominated for Best Female Performance for her role as Elizabeth Swann. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Fans can vote for their favorite nominees by visiting the MTV site here; votes must be cast before May 23rd. The MTV Movie Awards will air live from the Gibson Amphitheater on Sunday, June 1, 2008, at 8 p.m. Eastern. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for posting the news; you can read a full list of nominees on the News & Views forum.

Our picture shows Johnny Depp receiving the Golden Popcorn at last year’s MTV Movie Awards; to see a larger version, click here. –Part-Time Poet

A new project for Infinitum Nihil–filming the award-winning children's book THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET

Chris Wedge, the director of ICE AGE, has signed on to direct a film of Brian Selznick’s award-winning children’s novel THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET for Graham King’s GK Films, Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Warner Bros. Wedge will work from a screenplay by John Logan (SWEENEY TODD, THE AVIATOR). Mr. King and Infinitum Nihil’s president Christi Dembrowski will produce the live-action film, which centers on the mysterious adventures of an orphaned boy who secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and looks after the clocks.

Here’s the description of Selznick’s book from Amazon: “Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.” According to Variety, “The studio is eyeing a fall start date” for THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, which sounds great to us–the sooner, the better!

Publishers Weekly calls the book “a true masterpiece [. . . ] a story as tantalizing as it is touching.” THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for its illustrations, as well as numerous other awards for children’s literature. You can order it from Amazon here.

The Zone thanks vermontfudge for breaking the news; you can read the Variety story in its entirety on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet