Articles from May 2009

Johnny Depp as Dillinger on the cover of July EMPIRE

The UK’s Empire Magazine gives the cover of their July 2009 issue to a photo of Johnny Depp as a tommygun-toting John Dillinger . . . that’s a lot of firepower! (To see a larger version of the Empire cover, CLICK HERE.) Ian Nathan writes the accompanying article, called “Lyrical Gangster”: “Public Enemies isn’t just another crime movie,” he promises. “[. . .] According to director Michael Mann, this Johnny Depp-starring John Dillinger biopic is about vivid truth-telling. And it’s also, Empire has to add, about some of the most visually astounding gun battles you’ve ever seen . . . .” We’re hooked!

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read more about the Empire article, and about Public Enemies, on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

THE RUM DIARY nears completion in Puerto Rico

Bruce Robinson’s film of The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, is nearing completion, reports El Nuevo Dia; their sources indicate that filming in Puerto Rico will wrap sometime next week. The company is currently at Roosevelt Roads, shooting a beach carnival scene. Earlier carnival scenes, featuring a parade, were shot in the public square of Vega Baja. El Nuevo Dia hints that filming may return to Old San Juan on Monday; you can read the full report on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

To see a larger version of the photo of Johnny Depp in his costume as Paul Kemp, CLICK HERE. Many thanks to Emma for the Rum Diary update! –Part-Time Poet

One more casting rumor–Johnny Depp to play PREACHER for Sam Mendes?

Those casting rumors keep coming: last week it was Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese reputed to be considering Johnny Depp to play Frank Sinatra; this week it is Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes reputed to be considering Johnny Depp to play “a boozy small-town preacher” named Jesse Custer in a movie adaptation of Garth Ennis’s 1990s graphic novel Preacher.

“[He’s a] good actor,” Mendes said of Johnny. “He can do anything as far as I’m concerned.” In a recent interview with Sun Media, Mendes said he has “high hopes” for the project. Screenwriter John August (who wrote screenplays for Tim Burton’s Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and the upcoming Dark Shadows) is currently working on the Preacher screenplay–no easy task, since there were 66 issues of the Preacher comic series. That’s a lot of storyline to adapt. Preacher is the kind of edgy, irreverent satiric tale for which the word “outrageous” was invented: after his congregation is killed by a supernatural creature, the possessed preacher starts walking across the United States in a attempt “to track down a delinquent God.”

The Zone thanks Emma for the article about Preacher; you can read more on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Great news–the Zone's 2009 Birthday Project has raised $3,000 already!

One of the Zone’s favorite traditions is our annual birthday gift for Johnny Depp, called “The Birthday Project.” Each year we choose a charity which is connected to Johnny’s philanthropic interests–usually his interest in helping children in need–and his most recent work. We pool our modest contributions and make a Zone donation in honor of Johnny, as a way of celebrating and thanking Johnny for all the joy he has given us over the year. Since Johnny is currently working on The Rum Diary in Puerto Rico, we selected the San Jorge Children’s Foundation in San Juan for this year’s Birthday Project, and our members have already donated more than $3,000!

The San Jorge Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995; it assists families by covering surgical expenses and the costs of hospital care and medicine for seriously ill children. Their goal is to provide access to the most advanced medical treatment to families who otherwise could not afford it. You can read more about the San Jorge Children’s Foundation on our 2009 Birthday Project forum.

The Zone would like to thank everyone who has already donated to the 2009 Birthday Project. Your generosity is truly heartwarming, especially in a year like this, when we are all facing tight budgets. If you haven’t yet made a donation, there’s still plenty of time—we will be accepting donations through Johnny’s birthday on June 9th.

Giving to the Birthday Project is easy: the Zone has a dedicated Paypal account for contributions to the 2009 Birthday Project. If you would like to join in our gift, you can make a donation by visiting our Birthday Project Forum HERE and scrolling down to the Paypal button. If you would like to donate by check, the Foundation’s address is directly below the Paypal button in the announcement post.

Let’s reach out to help children and say “Happy Birthday” and “Thank You” to Johnny Depp! –Part-Time Poet

"DON QUIXOTE rides again," says Terry Gilliam–but there's no word on Sancho Panza

Speaking to reporters at the Cannes Film Festival, where his The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus just premiered, director Terry Gilliam confirmed his intention to begin filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2010–ten years after his first attempt at the project was cut short by a series of disasters immortalized in the award-winning documentary Lost in La Mancha.

“Don Quixote rides again,” Gilliam told the assembled press. “We’ve re-written the script and finally got the script back from the lawyers . . . and the plan is to begin shooting next springtime.”

However, despite what some media outlets are reporting, there is no word yet on whether Johnny Depp, who played a time-traveling Sancho Panza in the 2000 version, will return for Round Two of Terry Gilliam vs. the Windmills of Misfortune. Nor has Gilliam cast his Don Quixote. Gilliam’s announcement at Cannes confirmed only that producer Jeremy Thomas, who won a truckload of Oscars for The Last Emperor, is attached to the project.

“I don’t have anything else to say about it, except that we’re at that beginning stage: get the money, get the bodies and let’s go,” Gilliam said. Quinn Bender of Movieset notes that Gilliam’s brief statement closed the press conference: “Reporters were blocked from asking any further questions as the moderator then abruptly ended the press conference,” Bender writes. So there are no cast members attached to the Don Quixote project yet.

The Zone thanks Emma for the news from Cannes; you can read several articles about The Man Who Killed Don Quixote on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS premieres at the Cannes Film Festival

Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Heath Ledger’s final film, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22, where it screened out of competition. None of the actors who stepped in to complete Ledger’s role–Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell–were present at Cannes; Johnny was in Puerto Rico, working on The Rum Diary. Critical reaction to the film is mixed; while nearly all reviewers found it visually impressive, some critics found the story disjointed and difficult to follow.

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times loved the movie: “A tale of good and evil battling for souls that’s made with Gilliam’s fantastic and fantastical visual imagination, Imaginarium is the director’s best, most entertaining film in years,” writes Turan. The critic for Total Film was less delighted: “Heath Ledger’s final film has screened at Cannes–and sad to say, it’s not the strongest swansong you could hope for. [. . .] The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus casts the late actor in a shady, slippery role that gives him only intermittent chance to shine,” writes Total Film. “But then this isn’t so much an actors’ movie, the biggest success being art direction that conjures memorable flights of fancy in the face of a clearly limited FX budget.”

Director Terry Gilliam deserves praise for having finished the film under exceptionally difficult circumstances and bringing the work to the public. Allan Hunter of Screen Daily writes, “Terry Gilliam has always seemed like the last apostle of unfettered fantasy in an age insistent on prosaic reality. The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus is a typically staunch defence of the transformative power of the imagination and its ability to change the world.”

The Zone thanks Emma and Mrs Pink for sharing reviews of the film; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES press junket scheduled for June 19-20!

The press junket for Michael Mann’s Public Enemies has been tentatively scheduled for June 19-20, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois, where many scenes of the gangster epic were filmed. How fitting to return to the Windy City! I’m sure Chicago will extend a warm welcome to their Public Enemies visitors–currently Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, and Michael Mann are expected to attend. The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; we’ll have more details on the press junket as they become available. The official premiere of Public Enemies will be held in Los Angeles on June 23, 2009.

Advertising for Public Enemies began appearing on television during the season finales of major prime-time series; several Zoners reported seeing an ad for PE during the finale of Grey’s Anatomy. Here’s a sample:


You can find the trailer and all the TV ads on the “Video” section of the official Public Enemies website HERE. The Zone thanks Emma, Christopher, and tocnavforjd for sharing the videos. –Part-Time Poet

Latest casting rumor–Johnny Depp to play Sinatra for Martin Scorsese?

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood unleashed a wave of Internet speculation about the casting of Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Frank Sinatra biopic by reporting that Universal wants to see Johnny Depp as Ol’ Blue Eyes. Scorsese is reported to favor his perennial leading man Leonardo DiCaprio (not exactly a surprise), who starred in Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and the yet-to-be-released Shutter Island. “I hear Universal’s first choice to fill the role may be Johnny Depp,” writes industry insider Finke. “The studio is thrilled with his performance in this summer’s forthcoming Public Enemies and very much wants to stay in the Johnny Depp business.”

Whoever is chosen won’t need to sing like “The Voice”–original Sinatra recordings will be used in the film, says Finke, “thanks to a deal with Frank Sinatra Enterprises.” Sounds like one sweet deal and a fascinating, complex role. Of course the choice rests with Scorsese–he’ll do it his way.

The Zone thanks Sleepy and FANtasticJD for sharing the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES featured in PEOPLE this week–with a new photo of Johnny Depp

That gorgeous image of Johnny Depp as iconic bank robber John Dillinger comes from the latest issue of People; it has a photo of Kirstie Alley on the cover and carries the date May 18, 2009. To see a larger version of the new photo, CLICK HERE. And that’s not all: People opens its “Summer Movie Preview” article with a nearly full-page image from Public Enemies showing an intense Dillinger holding a tommygun and wearing his signature dark brown fedora. Sweet!

The magazine also includes one more photo of Dillinger on the Chicago streets when they give their writeup on Public Enemies. You can see scans of the article on the Zone’s News & Views forum; we thank FANtasticJD for sharing them with us. –Part-Time Poet

Terry Gilliam's THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS screens for U.S. distributors

Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, featuring the late Heath Ledger in his final role, will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22nd; however, the film’s U.S. sales representatives, Cinetic Media, didn’t want to wait for Cannes to attempt to lock down a U.S. distribution deal. Cinetic took the rather unusual step of screening the completed film for potential U.S. buyers on Tuesday. “All of the major independent buyers in town packed Hollywood’s DGA theater for the screening,” writes Nicole Sperling of EW.com. “[A]nd while most left feeling a bit befuddled (as one often does coming out of a Gilliam feature) the consensus was that the movie is better than expected.”

Although Heath Ledger died during filming and Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell stepped in to complete the role, Sperling reports that Ledger is seen “throughout the film” in his character of Tony, while the other actors only appear in “dream sequences,” of which Colin Farrell’s is the longest.

According to Steven Zeitchik of The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Risky Business” blog, while buyers expressed admiration for the Gilliam film’s arresting visual style and sharp social commentary, they were concerned that the complicated plot would leave some viewers muddled. We will have to wait and see if Doctor Parnassus gets a U. S. distribution deal done before it opens at Cannes.

The Zone thanks Theresa for the Nicole Sperling article and Emma for the Zeitchik report. You can read more about Doctor Parnassus‘s search for a distributor on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp supports "Plates for Parkinson's" charity campaign

More proof–as if any were needed–that Johnny Depp is a genuinely great guy: he has designed a plate to be auctioned in the “Plates for Parkinson’s” campaign. Plates for Parkinson’s is a collection of celebrity signed and designed plates that are auctioned on eBay to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s. The plates are auctioned in three separate sets beginning April 30. Johnny’s plate is featured in the second set, which is up for auction between May 7 and May 16, 2009; other celebrities with designs in the group include Rachael Ray, James Earl Jones, Christopher Walken, and Tom Hanks.

That’s Johnny Depp’s design in the photo at left; to see a larger picture, CLICK HERE. We thank Emma for breaking the news; you can read more about the Plates for Parkinson’s charity fundraiser on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see the plates up for auction on Ebay and/or place a bid, CLICK HERE. Good luck!–Part-Time Poet

Michael Mann's PUBLIC ENEMIES named as Centerpiece of the Los Angeles Film Festival–congratulations!

Here’s some great news: Michael Mann’s gangster epic Public Enemies, featuring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as FBI Agent Melvin Purvis, has been chosen as the Centerpiece presentation of this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival! The festival takes place in LA’s Westwood neighborhood from June 18-28 and will screen more than 200 feature-length films, short subjects and music videos representing more than 30 countries. The Centerpiece screening is likely to coincide with the world premiere of Public Enemies previously announced for Tuesday, June 23rd at Mann’s Village Theater in Westwood Village.

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum. Congratulations to Michael Mann, Johnny Depp and the entire cast and crew of Public Enemies! –Part-Time Poet

Tim Burton talks about ALICE IN WONDERLAND in June's TOTAL FILM

The June 2009 issue of Total Film has a short feature on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, called “On Set and Through the Looking Glass with Burton and Depp.” (Yes, that’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in the photo at left.) The director admits that he’s not fond of previous film adaptations of the Lewis Carroll classic because “it’s always been about a passive little girl wandering around a series of adventures with weird characters,” Burton says. “There’s never any gravity to them. What we’ve tried to do is make her a real person [. . .] going through this.”

While Burton’s Alice “incorporates characters and situations from both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its literary sequel, Through the Looking Glass, the plot is essentially a new one,” notes Total Film. Burton’s Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is no longer a child, but an older teen nearly ready to enter the adult world. Ms. Wasikowska is joined by a stellar cast including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Matt Lucas, Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, and Michael Sheen.

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for the Total Film article; you can read more about Alice in Wonderland on the Zone’s News & Views forum.–Part-Time Poet

Here's the latest PUBLIC ENEMIES trailer!

A third trailer for Michael Mann’s gangster epic Public Enemies has been released, and we offer it here to ease your wait until the film reaches theaters.
Public Enemies stars Johnny Depp as 1930s bank-robbing legend John Dillinger, and Christian Bale as FBI Agent Melvin Purvis. The movie opens in North American on July 1, 2009.


The Zone thanks Lucky13 for breaking the news, and Theresa for preparing the YouTube clip. Is it July yet?–Part-Time Poet

"Seven Actors Who Probably Won't Play The Lone Ranger"–TOTAL FILM speculates

With the announcement that Mike Newell will be directing Jerry Bruckheimer’s film update of The Lone Ranger, speculation now turns to the title character: who will don the Ranger’s mask and spurs? James White of the UK’s Total Film joins the guessing game with a clever column in which he teasingly rules out some usual, and unusual, suspects. According to White, don’t expect to see George Clooney, Sam Worthington, Viggo Mortensen, Josh Brolin, Jon Hamm, Liam Neeson, or Cate Blanchett saddling up next to Johnny Depp’s Tonto any time soon. To read White’s reasons, see The Lone Ranger thread on the News & Views forum, or CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the column. I wonder if we could persuade James White to add Matthew McConaughey’s name to that list of actors we won’t see playing The Lone Ranger? Pretty please?–Part-Time Poet

Mike Newell in talks to direct THE LONE RANGER

Production Weekly reports that Mike Newell is in talks to direct Disney’s The Lone Ranger, to be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer from a script by POTC scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. The role of the masked Ranger is yet to be cast, but Johnny Depp will play Tonto, the Ranger’s Native American friend/strategist/support staff. Newell seems a likely choice for the project, since he has just finished directing Mr. Bruckheimer’s Prince of Persia, due in theaters this summer.

Newell also has a history with Johnny Depp, having directed JD and Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco. His impressive resume includes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Enchanted April. The photo at left shows Mike Newell with Johnny Depp at the 2005 BAFTA Awards, when Johnny presented him with the John Schlesinger Award. It would certainly be a pleasure to see them work together again.

The Zone thanks Sleepy for the news–you can read more about The Lone Ranger on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Announcing the Zone's 2009 Birthday Project!

One of the Zone’s favorite traditions is our annual birthday gift for Johnny Depp, called “The Birthday Project.” Each year we choose a charity which is connected to Johnny’s philanthropic interests–usually his interest in helping children in need–and his most recent work. We pool our modest contributions and make a Zone donation in honor of Johnny, as a way of celebrating and thanking Johnny for all the joy he has given us over the year.

Since Johnny is currently working on The Rum Diary in Puerto Rico–Infinitum Nihil’s first film project and the culmination of a long-time dream to bring Hunter S. Thompson’s novel to the screen–and the people of the island have shown him such a warm welcome, we thought it would be fitting to choose a charity devoted to the children of Puerto Rico. So the 2009 Johnny Depp Zone Birthday Project will benefit the San Jorge Children’s Foundation!

The San Jorge Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 and is located in San Juan. The Foundation assists families by covering surgical expenses and the costs of hospital care and medicine for seriously ill children. Their goal is to provide access to the most advanced medical treatment to families who otherwise could not afford it. You can read more about the San Jorge Children’s Foundation on our 2009 Birthday Project forum.

The Zone has a dedicated Paypal account for contributions to the 2009 Birthday Project; if you would like to join in our gift, you can make a donation by visiting our Birthday Project Forum HERE and scrolling down to the Paypal button. If you would like to donate by check, the Foundation’s address is directly below the Paypal button in the announcement post.

Let’s reach out to help children and say “Happy Birthday” and “Thank You” to Johnny Depp! –Part-Time Poet

Latest rumor–Johnny Depp to appear in Emir Kusturica's new film about Pancho Villa?

Here’s an unexpected but delightful casting rumor: award-winning Serbian director Emir Kusturica reportedly wants Johnny Depp to join the cast of his upcoming film about Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. The screenplay, written by Kusturica’s regular collaborator Goradan Mihic, is based on James Carlos Blake’s novel, The Friends of Pancho Villa, described as “a fictional account of Pancho Villa’s life from the point of view of his lieutenant.” Oscar-winner Javier Bardem is in talks to play the legendary Villa, with Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek also in the cast.

Kusturica will go to Puerto Rico soon to discuss the project with Johnny, according to Blic Online; they last worked together eighteen years ago on the award-winning Arizona Dream. The director hopes to begin filming late this year or in early 2010 in Spain, Mexico and Serbia. “Pancho Villa is a man with an idea of justice, equality, and anti-imperialism,” Kusturica told Blic Online, and he feels passionate about bringing Villa’s story to the screen.

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