Entertainment Tonight rang out the old year in style by giving a brief glimpse of Johnny Depp on their December 31st program–not the man himself, but Johnny as he appears in the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly (dated January 9, 2009). “What will be the must-see films of 2009?” inquired ET host Mary Hart. “Entertainment Weekly has your guide. Start with Johnny Depp as the legendary gangster John Dillinger in Public Enemies. Johnny holds a tommygun on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, on sale Friday.” That should boost our circulation as well as the magazine’s, judging by this photo of Johnny’s Dillinger; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE. Many thanks to RumLover for the screencap and a clip of the ET program; you can find that on our News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet
Articles from December 2008
Ah, DVD extras–no wonder we love ’em! Zone member b.p. olive discovered an 11-minute gem of an interview with Johnny Depp among the extra features on the DVD Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends. “An audience favorite at film festivals worldwide, Gypsy Caravan is a dazzling display of the musical world of the Roma, juxtaposed to the real world they live in,” notes Amazon.com. “Five bands from four countries unite for the World Music Institutes Gypsy Caravan 6-week concert tour across North America with the musicians astounding every audience they meet.” One of the featured bands is Taraf de Haidouks from Romania, familiar to Depp devotees from Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried, in which they played Cesar’s Romani family.
“[T]he Taraf used to come into my trailer–I mean ALL of them,” JD recalls in the interview. “You know, there was like 18 of us [. . .] crammed into this little trailer with all the instruments, you know, and the small cymbalom and the stand up bass and the violins and the whole, you know . . the whole nine yards. And we’d sit in there, ’cause we were shooting nights, and kind of pass around, you know, a bottle of wine. And, just . . they’d play for hours and hours.”
And the music? “You hear joy, in the purest and most honest sense possible,” explains JD. “[. . .S]orrow, suffering, you hear everything in their music. And that’s what was always astounding for me. You know, when I first met them and they played literally for me, I mean just in front of me . . . I just never experienced anything like that rush of uh . . . purity, honesty, um . . intensity, beauty, um . . everything.”
If you would like to read more of Johnny Depp’s interview, you can find b.p. olive’s transcription on the Zone’s Pit forum. We thank her very much for bringing the interview to our attention and for her hard work in transcribing it–well done! Thanks also to FANtasticJD for her screencap of Johnny during the interview; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE. If you would like to own Gypsy Caravan: When the Road Bends, it is available from Amazon HERE. –Part-Time Poet
Terry Gilliam’s latest film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, is tentatively scheduled to be released in the U.S. on September 24, 2009. Described as a fantastical morality tale, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus features Heath Ledger’s final film performance; after Ledger’s death last January, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law stepped in to complete Ledger’s role. Gilliam’s film is currently in post-production. The Zone thanks Emma for the update; you can read more about The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, will be released to theaters in the U.S. and Canada on March 5, 2010. Yes, that’s right–we will have more than a year to wait. Prospective viewers in the UK will need to add another month to that wait, as their release date is April 2, 2010. Although the live action photography is complete, many months of post production will be required for the CG work and the animation, not to mention the 3D effects. As producer Richard D. Zanuck explains, “It’s the first picture that will combine motion capture with live actors and animation, all in the same frame. It will be quite amazing.”
The Zone thanks Emma for the news; you can catch up with the latest on Alice in Wonderland in the “All Things Alice” thread on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet
We may have to wait a while to see a new Johnny Depp film on screen in 2009, but we’ll have music coming our way on February 16th, when Glenn Tilbrook & The Fluffers’ new album, called “Pandemonium Ensues,” is released. Johnny Depp plays guitar on the track called “Too Close To The Sun,” and Vanessa Paradis sings on the track “Interest and Love.” The new album is Tilbrook’s first release since “Transatlantic Ping Pong,” which appeared in 2004, and he sounds proud of his effort: “I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” Tilbrook told the press in a November interview.
The Zone thanks Emma for the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum. While we’re waiting for the album to drop, Tilbrook has one-minute samples of some of the new songs available on his website HERE.
"I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles"–first-time novelist Daniel Depp talks about LOSER'S TOWN and his famous sibling
Daniel Depp sat down with journalist Graeme Neill to talk about his first novel, Loser’s Town, and how that Hollywood detective thriller came into existence. The book was finished at his younger brother’s home in France, and with his blessing. Neill writes, “Depp explains that he gave his brother an early version of the novel, saying to him ‘regardless of what everybody says, it’s not about you,'” and that Johnny Depp’s reaction when Loser’s Town was accepted for publication was “ecstatic.” Loser’s Town, described by Neill as “a funny and readable tour through the sleazy underbelly of Hollywood,” is no blatant roman a clef; Daniel Depp “play[s] down assumptions that the book would be full of easily recognisable caricatures of Hollywood stars and moguls.” The elder Depp tells Neill, “It would have been a great opportunity to pay back some people but that wasn’t on the agenda. Maybe it should have been.”
The plot of Loser’s Town features David Spandau, a stuntman turned private investigator, who takes the case of Bobby Dye, a rising star who is having problems with an ambitious gangster named Richie Stella. This is Philip Marlowe territory updated for the 21st century, and Depp’s inside knowledge of the City of Angels gives the novel authority to match its panache. “I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles,” Daniel Depp says. “It’s like Oz [. . . ]. Everybody is completely made up. Little Betsy Smith from Iowa gets a publicist and becomes Paris Hilton.”
Depp will undertake a nationwide book tour when Simon & Schuster publishes Loser’s Town in March 2009; advance reviews have been glowing. “I don’t think this is grand literature,” Daniel Depp says modestly, “but I wanted to write something entertaining. I love the genre. A lot of the best social criticism comes out of the mystery and thriller genre.”
The Zone thanks Emma for bringing us the interview with Daniel Depp; we hope it is the first of many. You can read the full interview on the Porch forum, or HERE. ONBC has already scheduled Loser’s Town as a book club selection for the spring–be sure to stop by the Zone and join what is sure to be a memorable discussion. –Part-Time Poet
Director Terry Gilliam was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Dubai International Film Festival this week. In an interview with David Light of City Times, Gilliam explained that his current project, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, is still in post-production: “Basically the movie is finished apart from about 600 special effects shots which are not quite finished,” Gilliam explained. “We’re in the final stages of development. Some of the effects have to be reshot because of Heath’s passing.”
Heath Ledger died during the filming of Doctor Parnassus last January; Gilliam later completed the shoot with the remainder of Ledger’s role divided among Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law. Gilliam says that the yet-to-be-completed special effects shots are necessary because of changes made to the script after Ledger’s death. “It was also partly due to the schedules of Johnny, Colin and Jude,” Gilliam says, “because they were all involved in other projects and we had to shoot very fast and not as controlled as I would like to be just to get them done.” Adds Gilliam, “We literally had Johnny for a day and a half and I had a lot of work to do. Trying to work the transitions out from Heath’s character to the others took longer in some instances so everything just started growing.”
The three actors who completed Ledger’s role “essentially worked for free,” notes City Times, “as they donated all the earnings they made to Heath’s daughter” Matilda. Gilliam praises their generosity: “Johnny was the first guy I called and he said, ‘I’m there when you need me,'” reports Gilliam. “It was the same with Jude and Colin. They all knew Heath well and they all loved him and told me that whatever was necessary they would do.”
Actor Christopher Plummer, who plays Dr. Parnassus, recently told TCM that the film is not yet completed because Terry Gilliam is “waiting for all sorts of insurance problems to be cleared because of Heath Ledger’s death. And although Heath Ledger was replaced by three actors as you know–Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell–which is terrific replacing, my god. There are still some monetary problems over insurance. Otherwise, it’s almost ready to be released.” We hope Terry Gilliam gets his check from the insurance company soon, so The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus can come to theaters.
You can read the full City Times interview with Terry Gilliam on the Zone’s News & Views forum, or HERE. The Zone thanks Emma for the Gilliam interview, and FANtasticJD for the Christopher Plummer interview.–Part-Time Poet
Johnny Depp ranks #1 on IMDb.com’s STARmeter for 2008–the 5th year in a row that he has been the most-searched celebrity on their website. As IMDb.com explains, “The STARmeter ranks celebrities’ weekly popularity based on the actual search behavior of the more than 57 million industry professionals and film enthusiasts who use IMDb.com each month.” This year’s top 10 from IMDb: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Shia LaBeouf , Megan Fox, Kristen Stewart, Will Smith, and Gerard Butler. The Zone thanks AnaMaria for sharing the news; you can read more about the STARmeter rankings on the Pit. –Part-Time Poet
Anne Hathaway may play a queen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (she is the White Queen to Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen), but she felt anything but majestic when she was shooting scenes with co-star Johnny Depp, who plays the Mad Hatter. “I have a couple scenes with Johnny Depp,” Hathaway told Brian Jacks of mtv.com. “I wish I could be so cool about it and say, like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s just Johnny.’ But I am such a huge fan, I felt really embarrassed. He would catch me staring at him,” she confessed, “and I would have to look up, but we were shooting on green screens so there was nothing to look at. I’d be like, ‘Oh, look, a bit more green wall. Did you notice that? No? Good.’ “
As for her character, Hathaway describes the White Queen this way: “A friend of mine just gave me a magnet that was a bunny rabbit holding a knife . [. . .] It said ‘Cute but psycho, it evens out.’ And that’s kind of my character as the White Queen.”
The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Anne Hathaway interview; you can read more on the News & Views forum on the “All Things Alice (in Wonderland)” thread. –Part-Time Poet
Alan Rickman, who plays the Caterpillar in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, graciously answered a few questions about his newest role at a press conference promoting the just-released Nobel Son, in which Rickman stars. When a reporter asked how the actor could “get into” playing a caterpillar, Rickman drolly replied, “Well, fortunately it’s animated.” Duh. Taking pity on the hapless scribe, Rickman added, “It’s my face on an animated caterpillar. So, it’s a mixture. The movie is a mixture of live action, animation, and stop motion, so it’s very complicated and I don’t think all three have been put together ever before. [. . .] So I’ll be with a live action Alice. I will be a construct.”
Pressed for more details about the unique look of Burton’s Alice, in which Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter, Rickman demurred. “I don’t know what it looks like,” he said. “I’ve only done the first stage of it, which is them recording me saying these lines, quite badly.” Somehow we doubt that. “Then somewhere down the line, they’ll have animated it, and I’ll redo it,” Rickman explained. “I’m a voice, but I have been filmed, because it’s my face which will be on the end of something that will be the caterpillar.”
Most of what Rickman has seen so far of Alice has been green screen, but he has been impressed by his co-stars’ costumes. “[T]he costumes, one or two I saw, are incredible,” Rickman confided. “I’m sure it’ll be visual genius again.”
The Zone thanks Emma for the Alan Rickman interviews; you can read them in their entirety on the News & Views forum, on page 19 of the “All Things Alice (in Wonderland)” thread. –Part-Time Poet
The January 2009 issue of the UK magazine Psychologies tries to dig into the psyche of Johnny Depp by compiling some quotations from past interviews; there is no new information here, but there are some lovely photographs. The black-and-white shot at left, for example, is circa 1988, when JD shot to fame playing Officer Tom Hanson on 21 Jump Street, and is paired with a quote from that era: “All the hoopla, where the press try to stop you living your life, can be exhausting. You’re followed everywhere or looked at as some freakish oddity. I never wanted to be the guy people looked at.” Some things haven’t changed in twenty years . . . .
The three-page article also includes remarks about Johnny’s love for Vanessa and their children, about his close friendships with Tim Burton and Hunter S. Thompson, about his acting roles, and about his enduring passion for music. You can find scans of the article on the Zone’s News & Views forum. Many thanks to In-too-Depp for the scans, to Theresa for breaking the news, and to AnaMaria and Polly_anna for additional information. –Part-Time Poet
Breaking News–Producer Richard Zanuck confirms that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will film DARK SHADOWS this summer!
Dark Shadows, a new version of the 1970s gothic drama, will be Tim Burton’s next directing project; he’ll embark on that in summer 2009, when he finishes the current Alice in Wonderland for Disney. Dark Shadows will be a Warner Bros. production and will star (who else?) Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins. So says producer Richard Zanuck, who took time during the press day for Jim Carrey’s Yes Man to mention Dark Shadows–thank you very much, Mr. Zanuck! We really appreciate the news. Thanks also to Steve “Frosty” Weintraub, who posted a video of his interview with Mr. Zanuck on Collider.com. Here is a transcript of those remarks:
Q: What project are you guys currently working on, or other things that people can be looking forward to [after Yes Man]?
Zanuck: I’m doing, this next summer, with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows, which is an old ’70s soap opera here in the United States.
Q: Isn’t that the one the Johnny Depp was, like, obsessed with?
Zanuck: He owns it, and he was obsessed as a young person . . . used to sneak out of school to get home to turn on the television set. It was a very popular show for about 4 or 5 seasons.
Q: Do you see that as Tim’s definite next project? Because he’s been attached to a lot of stuff–
Zanuck: That’s his next project, yeah.
The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the good news; you can read more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see the Weintraub interview with Richard Zanuck, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet
The soundtrack recording for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was honored with a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album–congratulations to Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Jamie Campbell Bower, Edward Sanders, Sacha Baron Cohen and all of the talented artists who brought the Sondheim soundtrack to life. Other nominated soundtracks include American Gangster; August Rush; Juno; and Mamma Mia! Grammys will be awarded on February 8, 2009; the CBS television network will carry some of the awards live in a telecast beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for breaking the news; you can read more details on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet
The long-awaited film of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp, may have cameras rolling in March 2009–so says Variety in an article about upcoming Infinitum Nihil projects published yesterday. “Depp will star in March as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary, an adaptation of the Thompson book that Infinitum Nihil is producing with GK Films, with King’s company financing the picture,” writes Michael Fleming. “Bruce Robinson is directing his script. It’s Depp’s second turn in a Thompson tale; he starred in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” One slight correction to Fleming’s report: JD will not be playing Hunter, but (as in Fear and Loathing) a fictional incarnation of the Good Doctor, this time named Paul Kemp. No further casting has been announced, but we’ll be keeping a sharp eye.
The Zone thanks Theresa and Savvypiratemonky for the news: you can read the Fleming article HERE. The Rum Diary will be the first Infinitum Nihil project to go into production; we send our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to IN President Christi Dembrowski, director Bruce Robinson, Johnny Depp, Graham King, and all the cast, crew and IN staff. –Part-Time Poet
Johnny Depp joins the voice cast of SpongeBob SquarePants for the much-anticipated episode “SpongeBob vs. The Big One,” which will arrive on DVD on March 3rd. The new DVD, named for the Depp episode, will contain “6 episodes of the show that are new-to-DVD, plus the title episode that is seen for the first time anywhere, only on this disc!” So says the press release from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Video. Of course, by not airing the Depp episode on television first, the studio can ensure maximum sales of the DVD . . . fiendish. Now we all know how fish feel when the hook is dangled in the water.
What happens in the mystery episode? From the press release: “SpongeBob and his pals find themselves stranded on Tropical Island after being swept away by a giant wave. While trying to find their way back home they meet the infamous surf guru Jack Kahuna Laguna (voiced by Johnny Depp) who tells them that the only way to get back to Bikini Bottom is to surf the legendary wave called ‘The Big One.’ ” The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news; you can read more about the SpongeBob DVD on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet
Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil acquires the screen rights to Nick Tosches' novel IN THE HAND OF DANTE
Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, has acquired the screen rights to Nick Tosches’ 2002 novel In the Hand of Dante, Variety’s Michael Fleming reports: “The novel will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Depp.” JD will produce In the Hand of Dante with Infinitum Nihil president Christi Dembrowski (Johnny’s sister). Although Infinitum Nihil has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and Graham King’s GK Films, JD’s company used its own funds to option the Tosches novel, a testament to Johnny Depp’s affection for this particular work. In a 2003 interview with Gregory Katz (available in the JDZ Archives), Johnny praised In the Hand of Dante as “unbelievable”–that is, unbelievably good–and added, “I read anything by Nick Tosches.”
When In the Hand of Dante comes to the screen, Johnny Depp will be playing Nick Tosches, who appears as a character in the complex plot. The novel entwines two storylines, one which shows Dante struggling to complete his masterwork, The Divine Comedy, in 14th-century Italy, and one which shows the present-day author Tosches attempting to discover whether a recently-unearthed manuscript is actually Dante’s original. Marc Kloszewski of Library Journal calls Tosches’ novel “brilliant . . . synthesizing history and biography with contemporary murder and mayhem to create an exotic meal of a book, albeit one for strong stomachs. [. . .] As with any Tosches book, a reader’s willingness to embrace the dark side and all that it entails is essential. However, behind the grunge lies a fascinating study of the power of writing and the relative value applied to it. The fact that the cynical Tosches doesn’t provide easy answers only adds more provocation. Highly recommended.”
The Zone thanks savvypiratemonky for breaking the news; you can read the Variety article HERE, and a lively discussion of it on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Zone congratulates Infinitum Nihil on its acquisition and wishes them luck in translating this challenging text to the screen; no doubt it will be a labor of love. –Part-Time Poet