Articles from September 2009

"A man with a great sense of fun"–Matt Lucas talks about working with Johnny Depp

In a recent interview with Matthew Amer, British actor Matt Lucas talks about his experience portraying Tweedledum and Tweedledee for Tim Burton’s upcoming film of Alice in Wonderland. Lucas, whose philosophy is “work with the best people and they’ll make you better,” has high praise for Burton: he calls the director “a delight to work with” and says he was given “freedom to experiment” when shaping his performance. Contributing to the “perfect atmosphere” on the Alice set was Johnny Depp, who had nothing of the diva about him, according to Lucas. He describes JD as “a man with a great sense of fun, funny and naughty and puckish and very approachable, not aloof in any way.”

CGI plays an important part in Lucas’s performance, not only transforming his appearance on screen but doubling him into Tweedledum and Tweedledee.Working against a green screen presented a challenge, Lucas admits. “There are bits of filming which are kind of unusual, like where you’re being chased by a giant creature, and it’s actually a man holding a stick with a cross on the end.” But it’s all in a day’s work: “[A]ctually, you’d be surprised how often acting feels like that anyway on film.”

The Zone thanks Emma for the Matt Lucas interview; you can read more on the “All Things Alice” thread on the News & Views forum. To see a larger photo of Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–New photos of Johnny Depp directing music video

Here’s a pleasant surprise–some brand new photos of Johnny Depp! These were shot on September 22nd at Hatfield House in the UK, where Johnny spent two days this week directing a music video for the band Babybird. The video stars Babybird lead singer Stephen Jones and actor Stephen Graham. Don’t believe the gossip column claims that this is JD’s “directorial debut,” though–JD is no stranger to the format or the director’s chair, having previously directed several music videos featuring Vanessa Paradis. . . .

The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photos; to see a larger version of the portrait of Johnny, CLICK HERE, and to see another photo from the video shoot, CLICK HERE. You can see more pictures at Just Jared. –Part-Time Poet

Geoffrey Rush tells MTV he's planning to film ON STRANGER TIDES in the spring

In a brief interview with MTV, Geoffrey Rush confirmed that he is preparing to return to his role as Captain Jack Sparrow’s rival, Captain Hector Barbossa, in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film–although the Australian actor was surprised to learn from MTV’s Josh Horowitz that the film has been named On Stranger Tides. “No, no one tells me anything!” Rush joked. “Jerry Bruckheimer—get your act together! Call me!”

Rush said he has been advised “to keep his schedule open for a possible start to filming next spring,” but there is no definite start date as yet, and no finished script. “They’re waiting for the screenplay writers to put together something that’s beyond the trilogy, take it off into a new direction so that it’s fresh and hopefully really interesting for an audience,” Rush explained. “They’re not going to just sausage-machine out something else, which wouldn’t be so good.”

MTV’s interview was conducted before the announcement of Dick Cook’s departure from Walt Disney Pictures, so Geoffrey Rush had no comment about that development. The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Rush interview; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see the MTV video interview with Geoffrey Rush, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Michael Caine tells MTV: No Johnny Depp in the next BATMAN film

Remember last year’s Toronto Film Festival, when the always-quotable Sir Michael Caine joked that Johnny Depp would play The Riddler (and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Penguin) in the next Batman film? MTV’s reporter mistakenly reported Caine’s joke as a serious scoop from an insider. Whoops! Warner Bros. was none too pleased with that mix-up. Now, a year later, the always-busy Sir Michael returned to the Toronto Film Festival and sat down with MTV’s Josh Horowitz (who was not the reporter guilty of last year’s snafu) to set the record straight.

There is still no news at all regarding a Batman sequel, Caine said–there’s not even a script yet, no one has been cast, and director Christopher Nolan is too busy with Inception to think about a follow-up to The Dark Knight. “There is nobody, there’s no script, there’s nothing,” Caine told MTV News. “It can’t possibly be made before 2011 because Inception is such a big picture.”

Still, MTV’s Horowitz can’t resist asking Caine to speculate: since the sequel is still a blank slate, wouldn’t it be great if they could have Johnny Depp as The Riddler? “Johnny Depp is great in anything, but there is no Johnny Depp in this Batman,” Caine replied with a smile. “They tell me in no uncertain terms.”

You can read more about Michael Caine’s comments on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To read the MTV article, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp "shocked and sad" about Dick Cook's departure from Disney

“Shocked and very sad”–that’s how Johnny Depp described his reaction to the news that Dick Cook was no longer the chairman of Walt Disney Pictures. JD told the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Cook was “the utmost gentleman” and “the sweetest man on the planet,” and said that he agreed to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean after a conversation in Cook’s office. “He said, ‘We’re thinking about doing this Pirates of the Caribbean movie. [. . .] I said I was in. This was before there was a script or anything.”

According to Johnny, he made that commitment because he trusted Mr. Cook. “He’s instantly trustworthy. And you generally don’t meet people at the studios you trust. [. . .] He’s a rare beast.”

Only a week ago, Johnny Depp appeared on stage with Dick Cook at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, where the two announced Captain Jack Sparrow’s return in Summer 2011 in a new Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides. “I didn’t see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming,” JD told the LA Times. And the news of Mr. Cook’s departure may have taken the wind out of Captain Jack Sparrow’s sails.

Regarding On Stranger Tides, the Times’s Claudia Eller reports, “Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.”

“There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Johnny told the reporter. “It was all born in that office.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for the Claudia Eller interview with Johnny Depp; you can read it in full on the LA Times website HERE, and you can read much more about about Dick Cook’s departure from Disney and the future of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the photo of Captain Jack Sparrow with Mr. Cook, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp "shocked and sad" about Dick Cook’s departure from Disney

“Shocked and very sad”–that’s how Johnny Depp described his reaction to the news that Dick Cook was no longer the chairman of Walt Disney Pictures. JD told the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Cook was “the utmost gentleman” and “the sweetest man on the planet,” and said that he agreed to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean after a conversation in Cook’s office. “He said, ‘We’re thinking about doing this Pirates of the Caribbean movie. [. . .] I said I was in. This was before there was a script or anything.”

According to Johnny, he made that commitment because he trusted Mr. Cook. “He’s instantly trustworthy. And you generally don’t meet people at the studios you trust. [. . .] He’s a rare beast.”

Only a week ago, Johnny Depp appeared on stage with Dick Cook at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, where the two announced Captain Jack Sparrow’s return in Summer 2011 in a new Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides. “I didn’t see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming,” JD told the LA Times. And the news of Mr. Cook’s departure may have taken the wind out of Captain Jack Sparrow’s sails.

Regarding On Stranger Tides, the Times’s Claudia Eller reports, “Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.”

“There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Johnny told the reporter. “It was all born in that office.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for the Claudia Eller interview with Johnny Depp; you can read it in full on the LA Times website HERE, and you can read much more about about Dick Cook’s departure from Disney and the future of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the photo of Captain Jack Sparrow with Mr. Cook, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, steps down

Shocking news from Disney today: Dick Cook, the longtime president of Walt Disney Studios, is leaving that position effective immediately. In a statement released by Disney on Friday afternoon, Mr. Cook says: “I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland’s steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. [. . .] To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the studio in their exceptional hands.”

No one has yet been named to succeed Mr. Cook as president of Walt Disney Studios. He or she will have big shoes to fill.

The Zone salutes Mr. Cook and offers our sincere thanks for all the wonderful films made during his time at the helm. Sir, you brought us Captain Jack Sparrow, and for that we are forever in your debt and on your crew.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for breaking the news; you can read much more on the News & Views forum. To read about the event in Variety, CLICK HERE, and to see a larger photo of Johnny Depp with Dick Cook, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4 gets its official subtitle: ON STRANGER TIDES

News from Walt Disney Co.’s D23 Expo in Anaheim on Friday: the 4th film in the ultra-successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now has its official subtitle: On Stranger Tides. And it also has a release date: Summer 2011! Not too terribly long to wait. Best news of all: Captain Jack Sparrow will be aboard, leading the adventure . . . and if anyone could locate stranger tides, it would be Captain Jack!

Many thanks to Theresa for the beautiful screencap of Johnny’s appearance at the D23 Expo. To see a larger version, CLICK HERE. You can read more about the most recent sighting of Captain Jack Sparrow on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp makes a surprise appearance at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim!

“Johnny Depp, arguably the biggest movie star in the world, surprised the audience of Walt Disney Co.’s D23 Expo in Anaheim by sailing on stage in his famous pirate regalia,” reports Geoff Boucher in the Los Angeles Times’s Hero Complex blog. “Depp arrived on stage in gliding replica of the Black Pearl pirate ship and, before they saw his famous face, the crowd was cheering at the sight of his silhouette behind a billowing back-lit sail and pumping stage smoke.” Sounds fantastic!

Five thousand fans attended the D23 Expo today to be brought up-to-date on the projects Disney has in the works for their future entertainment. “Depp was the big finale in a program that featured appearances by John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Tim Burton and a performance by Miley Cyrus,” says Boucher.

Here’s a video clip of JD’s appearance–that’s Disney chairman Dick Cook playing a very willing straight man to the inebriated Captain’s antics:


The Zone thanks Emma, AliceSprings, and Theresa for sharing video clips; thanks also to Emma for the LA Times article. You can read much more about Johnny’s appearance in Anaheim on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp makes a surprise appearance at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim!

“Johnny Depp, arguably the biggest movie star in the world, surprised the audience of Walt Disney Co.’s D23 Expo in Anaheim by sailing on stage in his famous pirate regalia,” reports Geoff Boucher in the Los Angeles Times’s Hero Complex blog. “Depp arrived on stage in gliding replica of the Black Pearl pirate ship and, before they saw his famous face, the crowd was cheering at the sight of his silhouette behind a billowing back-lit sail and pumping stage smoke.” Sounds fantastic!

Five thousand fans attended the D23 Expo today to be brought up-to-date on the projects Disney has in the works for their future entertainment. “Depp was the big finale in a program that featured appearances by John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Tim Burton and a performance by Miley Cyrus,” says Boucher.

Here’s a video clip of JD’s appearance–that’s Disney chairman Dick Cook playing a very willing straight man to the inebriated Captain’s antics:


The Zone thanks Emma, AliceSprings, and Theresa for sharing video clips; thanks also to Emma for the LA Times article. You can read much more about Johnny’s appearance in Anaheim on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Tim Burton talks with MTV about DARK SHADOWS

In a recent interview, MTV’s Josh Horowitz asked director Tim Burton if he had “any plans to bring back the original Barnabas [Collins], Jonathan Frid,” when Burton films his version of Dark Shadows next year, with Johnny Depp starring as Barnabas. The question seemed a bit premature: “Well, that’s still early days on Dark Shadows,” Burton replied. “And you know, one of the biggest challenges on that is to just capture that weird tone of the show. I think that is the biggest challenge.”

Referring to the legendary Jonathan Frid, Burton said, “But he, you know, he was certainly a major–I know for Johnny as well–that [he] was a major image, and he was a major presence, Jonathan. You know–that character. The fact that that thing was on TV still amazes me. I still think I was having some kind of weird dream.” The Zone thanks Emma sharing the MTV interview. –Part-Time Poet