Articles from April 2010

New photos of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie filming THE TOURIST!

A sunny Friday in Venice was a feast for photographers, as Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie took to the water in a motor taxi once again to film scenes for the romantic thriller The Tourist. In THIS PHOTO on the boat, the actors radiate old-time Hollywood glamor; to see a photo of Johnny standing on the dock, CLICK HERE. In THIS PHOTO, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (in the white shirt) speaks to leading lady Angelina Jolie (with her back to the camera) while Johnny and security chief Jerry Judge (in the green shirt) look on. And THIS PHOTO shows Johnny and Angelina surrounded by the crew; it takes a village to shoot a movie!

Many thanks to Evochka for sharing the photos. You can read more about The Tourist on the Zone’s News & Views forum; reaction to the latest Venice photos can be found on the Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp explores Venice–new photos!

Johnny Depp gave Italian photographers plenty to smile about as he and his family took in the sights and sunshine of Venice, including the Guggenheim museum. The photo at left shows Johnny walking down to a dock: he’s wearing a green t-shirt, white jeans, and a newsboy cap. To see a larger version, CLICK HERE. At the Guggenheim, Johnny dons his brown leather jacket; you can see the photo HERE.

Later in the day, Johnny changes his attire to blue jeans and a blue-striped t-shirt, and switches the newsboy cap to a fedora; for a photo of him walking down the street, CLICK HERE, and to see him preparing to get into one of the omnipresent motorboats, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Evochka and Persik for sharing photos.

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today!

Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is released on DVD and Blu-Ray in North America today–good news for those who were frustrated in their attempts to see this visionary film in theaters. Amazon.com currently has the Blu-ray version for $22.99 and the standard DVD for $17.99; both include commentary by the director, an interview with Heath Ledger, and features on the sets and artwork. Despite being nominated for two Oscars (for Art Direction and Costume Design), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is best known for the tragedy that struck during its filming–the sudden death of leading man Heath Ledger, whose role was eventually completed by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell.

In an interview for Australian television in June 2009, Johnny Depp explained why he agreed to help revive the project. “It would have been a horror to think that Heath’s last work, which was great, would go unseen. And so, what I told Terry Gilliam was, ‘If there’s a way to do this respectfully, and you can finish your film, I’m more than happy to help.’”

Johnny added, “I wanted to, certainly, first get the blessing of Heath’s family, to make sure they were okay with it–and they were great with it, and so I feel honored to have been able to be a small part of that. For Heath.”

In an interview at the Ischia Film Festival in July 2008, director Gilliam called the actors who stepped in to finish Ledger’s role “totally heroic.” Gilliam said, “This doesn’t happen very often . . . where there’s a tragedy like this, and very famous, very successful actors suddenly say, ‘Okay, we’ll do whatever it takes to help.’ They came; they did the work; they allowed the movie to be finished; they didn’t take money–the money goes to Heath’s daughter. That’s extraordinary! And wonderful . . . and when you’re part of that, you think, ‘Ah, this is maybe why I went into the movies, in the beginning. I thought it would be full of wonderful people.’ And in our case, we’ve got a movie full of wonderful people, who did extraordinary things to help.”

New photos of Johnny Depp in Venice!

During the two months Johnny Depp has been filming The Tourist in Venice, photos of him, other than those taken on the movie set, have been quite rare. However, with the arrival of his family and his yacht, the Vajoliroja, Johnny has been seen out-and-about a bit more. The photo at left shows him offering a namaste greeting to waiting onlookers; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE, and to see Johnny waving to fans, CLICK HERE. That’s security chief Jerry Judge in the background in both photos. To see the Vajoliroja berthed in Venice, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photos!

More photos and news from THE TOURIST set!

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp filming a restaurant scene in Venice on Friday for Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Tourist; to see a larger view that includes Angelina Jolie (from the back), CLICK HERE. In THIS PHOTO, notice the camera operator behind Johnny’s right shoulder. They are working in cramped quarters!

Meanwhile, the U.K. Telegraph reports that Steven Berkoff, who plays one of the movie’s more nefarious characters, has returned to London after shooting in Venice and sounds pleased with his role. “It was so nice to play a British villain,” he told the Telegraph’s Richard Eden. “They always want Russians or eastern European baddies these days. I made sure that my character dressed impeccably, like a real English gentleman.” German actor Mark Zak has been cast as “a Russian gangster” in The Tourist, so eastern European baddies will not be left out of the intrigue.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news and photos from The Tourist set. You can read more about the filming on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

New photos from THE TOURIST set! Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie film a restaurant scene

The last time we saw Johnny Depp filming The Tourist in Venice, he was handcuffed to the side railing of a boat. Now shooting has moved on to a restaurant scene: new photos show Johnny and Angelina Jolie sitting at a small table on a terrace, surrounded by extras and a busy crew. The photo at left shows Johnny (as Frank) holding a glass of white wine; to see a larger version that includes Angelina Jolie, CLICK HERE, and to see another photo of the scene, this one featuring Ms. Jolie smiling, CLICK HERE.

Although the photos look wonderfully intimate and romantic, it is all movie illusion: to see the throng of crew members, and how close they are to the actors, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the pictures. You can read much more about The Tourist on the Zone’s News & Views forum; for reaction to the photos, see the Pit General Discussion forum.

THE RUM DIARY, starring Johnny Depp, gets a test screening–we have a report!

Bruce Robinson’s much-anticipated film The Rum Diary, based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson and starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, and Giovanni Ribisi, received a test screening in Huntington Beach, California. Zone member Dharma_bum was one of the lucky ones who got to see the film, which “was described as ‘a work in progress,’ although titles and soundtrack were in place,” she reports. Her verdict? A resounding “Bravo!” Here are a few of her impressions:

The Rum Diary is a achingly lovely elegy to Hunter. Both funnier and more poignant than it has a right to be. Less about any of the silly things you read about the synopsis—drink and drugs and lust—and more about the measure of a man… shedding distractions, finding your voice, taking a stand and fighting the good fight [. . .]. This is one brave film. It shies not one bit from showing the ugly underbelly of the American Dream. Yet, in equal measure it’s immensely hopeful [. . .] It matures Hunter’s themes in all right ways. Johnny gives an absolutely transformative performance.”

Many thanks to Dharma_bum for sharing her reflections with us. You can read more about the test screening of The Rum Diary on the Zone’s forums HERE.

ONBC begins its discussion of Hunter S. Thompson’s THE RUM DIARY today!

One year ago, Johnny Depp was in Puerto Rico filming Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of The Rum Diary. Now Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club returns to the Hunter S. Thompson novel for a lively discussion getting underway today! Enhance your enjoyment of the upcoming film by exploring this favorite novel which fictionalizes HST’s experiences as a young, rebellious reporter in Puerto Rico in the late 1950s. ONBC moderators Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas welcome you to join the discussion!

One highlight of every ONBC discussion is the banner Liz creates for the book–for The Rum Diary, she has combined vintage shots of Hunter and Johnny which highlight their resemblance. To see the banner, CLICK HERE. If you have never been to Puerto Rico, by all means take THE RUM DIARY TOUR designed by ONBC–it will make the locations come alive!

The Zone salutes Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas for their hard work and creativity. We’re looking forward to The Rum Diary discussion!

Boosted by big debuts in Japan and Spain, ALICE IN WONDERLAND crosses the half-billion dollar mark in overseas box office

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, earned $34 million at the overseas box office this weekend, boosted by big debuts in Japan ($14 million) and Spain ($10.1 million). This brings the film’s overseas earnings past the half-billion-dollar mark–whew!–with total foreign earnings of $503.5 million to date. Alice continues in the top ten at the North American box office, despite the loss of its 3D screens, earning $3.5 million last weekend for a total domestic gross of $324 million.

In terms of worldwide box office, Alice in Wonderland now stands at $827.5 million, making it the 22nd biggest release of all time. Alice is now the 4th biggest film in Disney history, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($1.066 billion), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961 million), and Finding Nemo ($868 million).

The Zone thanks GAO and Emma for box-office updates; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Casting news–ON STRANGER TIDES, starring Johnny Depp, adds a mermaid and a missionary

Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides has added two key cast members. Pictured at left is Astrid Berges-Frisbey, who will play Syrena, an alluring young mermaid. Although she is largely unknown in the United States, the actress has an extensive European resume that includes film, television, and stage. “Born in Barcelona of French-American and Catalan parentage, and now based in Paris, Bergès-Frisbey, one of France’s brightest young stars, appears in such French films as La Fille du Puisatier, Bruc, Extase, La Premiere Etoile and Un Barrage Contre le Pacifique”, says a press release from Walt Disney Pictures. To see a larger photo of the prospective mermaid, CLICK HERE.

Also joining the Pirates 4 cast is Sam Claflin, who will play Philip, described as “a youthful missionary.” The actor attended The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has appeared in the historical mini-series The Pillars of the Earth, where he worked with Ian McShane (set to play Blackbeard in Pirates 4) and Rufus Sewell, who is currently appearing with Johnny Depp in The Tourist. To see a photo of Sam Claflin, CLICK HERE.

Claflin and Berges-Frisbey join Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Stephen Graham in the high seas adventure which is set to begin filming on location in June in Hawaii, Great Britain, and Los Angeles.

The Zone thanks Theresa for the casting news; you can read much more about Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp’s Tonto is “another great invention”–Jerry Bruckheimer talks about THE LONE RANGER

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer gave a recent interview to IGN in which he talks about the status of The Lone Ranger. This project was announced in fall 2008, along with the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film; with On Stranger Tides‘s start date less than two months away, curiosity is building about when The Lone Ranger‘s cast might be ready to saddle up and film. “It’s moving forward. We’re re-writing it right now,” Mr. Bruckheimer told IGN. “Johnny’s still very much involved. He created a fantastic character–actually, we have photographs of the character . . . which we can’t show you.” The producer couldn’t help grinning at that. “But it’s great. Brilliant. It’s another great invention like he invented Captain Jack and the Mad Hatter, so, you know, he’s created this Tonto character which is wonderful.”

And when might film roll on Tonto and the not-exactly-lone Ranger? “[W]e’re working on trying to get the screenplay finished,” Mr. Bruckheimer said, “and hopefully it will fit into his [Johnny’s] schedule. He has got a lot of movies lined up,” the producer admitted, but quickly added, ” and he really loves the project and he wants to do the character, so that’s exciting for us.”

What will Johnny Depp’s version of Tonto be like? “The character is going to be smart, he’s going to be mystical, he’s going to be funny, and he’s going to have all the trappings and the kind of things that Johnny brings to the screen, which is uniqueness,” Mr. Bruckheimer promised. Sounds great!

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the IGN interview; you can find it (and much more about The Lone Ranger) on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Back to work . . . new photos of Johnny Depp filming THE TOURIST in Venice

With his holiday break over, Johnny Depp reported back to work on the set of The Tourist in Venice yesterday, shooting night scenes on the Grand Canal. The photo at left shows JD at work; if you don’t mind spoilers, you can discover the reason behind his expression by studying a larger version of the picture HERE. For a shot that reveals more of the filmmaking process, CLICK HERE. And for a spoiler-free glimpse of the ensemble behind-the-scenes (well, as behind-the-scenes as you can get when you’re on a pier), CLICK HERE. That’s JD in the overcoat on the far left, inside the boat; director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (with the curly hair) on the pier at the top right; and security chief Jerry Judge on the pier at the lower right–he’s the one holding on to the boat.

The Zone thanks Evochka, JayGirl, Persik, Slo, Helga, Theresa and AnaMaria for sharing photos; you can read a lively discussion of the new Tourist pictures on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow Easter egg raises $6,000 for the Royal Blind School

The wooden Easter egg decorated by Johnny Depp as his famous character, Captain Jack Sparrow, has raised a total of 3,900 pounds ($6,036 at the current conversion rate) for Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School; proceeds from the charity auction will help build a new residential center for the school’s residents. The Jack Sparrow egg comes with a bandanna worn by Johnny Depp during Pirates of the Caribbean filming and signed by Johnny. The Daily Record reported that the Royal Blind staff were forced to remove the bandanna from the public display and “put it under lock and key after being besieged with requests to touch it.” As one charity staffer told the Record, “The reaction from fans has been unbelievable. This donation is irreplaceable and we could not risk it being pinched.”

Helen Forrest, the marketing and fundraiser manager for Royal Blind, explained why the Jack Sparrow bandanna was taken to a secure location: “It is such a unique and personal item, we weren’t prepared to take any chances. Whilst the egg itself is on display, we have kept the signed bandanna locked away elsewhere to prevent any loss or damage. This keeps our nerves intact and those of the shop’s staff.”

The Zone thanks Emma for news updates about the Royal Blind auction; you can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the Captain Jack Sparrow egg decorated by Johnny Depp, CLICK HERE.

We offer our heartiest congratulations to Zone member Shadowydog, who offered the winning bid in the Royal Blind auction and is now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Jack Sparrow egg. We salute Shadowydog for her generosity and Johnny Depp for creating such a beautiful and meaningful gift for charity. Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.

“The best time I ever had”–producer Richard D. Zanuck reflects on his work with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

Richard D. Zanuck bears a legendary Hollywood name, but as he told Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not a nostalgia guy.” Mr. Zanuck is more interested in the movies he’s making right now: “These last few years, working with Tim Burton, it’s been the best time I’ve ever had.” Three of the 75-year-old Mr. Zanuck’s recent ventures–Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–were collaborations with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and the trio are planning to film a new version of Dark Shadows sometime after Johnny concludes work on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Johnny Depp has high praise for Richard Zanuck: “A more elegant and distinguished gentleman you couldn’t hope to meet, let alone collaborate with,” JD told Geoff Boucher. The feeling is apparently mutual. Boucher’s profile of Mr. Zanuck, published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, includes the following vignette of the producer watching his star perform on the green-screen set of Alice in Wonderland: “Richard Zanuck sat behind Burton and watched as the director guided Depp and costar Crispin Glover through a sword fight for a climactic fight scene,” writes Boucher. “As Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, both in costume, watched, Depp worked on his new blade technique [. . .] Glover, meanwhile, was balanced atop stilts that would make his knavish character resemble a playing-card character come to life.”

Notes Boucher, “Even with all of that going on, Zanuck was more interested in young visitors to the set that day: Depp’s children, who had come to see their father do imaginary battle. ‘Johnny is a terrific father,’ Zanuck whispered. ‘Those kids mean everything to him. He’s one of the biggest stars in history, but that’s not what matters most to him.'”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the article; you can read more excerpts on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum. To read the full profile, called “Richard D. Zanuck is a working legend,” CLICK HERE; it’s an engaging profile of a fascinating man.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES adds new cast members

As director Rob Marshall gets closer to the start of filming the 4th installment of the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides, Production Weekly and Film blog are reporting the addition of three new cast members, all British actors. Best known to Deppheads is Stephen Graham, who worked with Johnny Depp on Public Enemies and was featured prominently in the recently released “Unloveable” video that Johnny directed for Babybird. Graham will portray a character named (we’re not kidding) “Scram,” so we’ll guess he’s not a member of the aristocracy. Pirate, perhaps?

Also in talks to join the cast of On Stranger Tides are Max Irons, the 24-year-old son of Oscar winner Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack, and Sam Claflin, who is currently filming the British television series The Pillars of the Earth in Budapest. No details about their roles are available. Graham, Irons, and Clafin will join Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane (as Blackbeard) in a swashbuckling adventure connected to the Fountain of Youth.

The Zone thanks Sleepy and FANtasticJD for the casting news; you can read more about Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Doors documentary WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE, with Johnny Depp narrating, opens in limited release today

Lucky souls in selected U. S. cities will have the opportunity to view Tom DiCillo’s documentary about ’60s rock icons The Doors today, as When You’re Strange: A Film about The Doors opens its theatrical run. Narrated by Johnny Depp, the documentary uses historic and previously unseen footage of the band to unfold the history of The Doors and its legendary singer, Jim Morrison, whom Johnny calls “one of the most significant frontmen/poets/shaman to ever grace a stage.” You can find a list of U.S. playdates HERE.

When You’re Strange will be screened in Canada at selected Cineplex theaters on April 15th at 7 p.m., with an encore presentation at some locations on Saturday, April 17th at 1 p.m. Advance tickets are available for purchase ONLINE.

When You’re Strange won the audience award at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. “As a rock ‘n’ roll documentary, or any kind of documentary, for that matter, it simply doesn’t get any better than this,” Johnny told the press last year. “What an honor to have been involved. I am as proud of this as anything I have ever done.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Gilbert’s Girl for news about the film; you can read much more about When You’re Strange on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

For the many Depp and Doors fans who will not be able to see the film at a theater, When You’re Strange will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th. The soundtrack–which features Johnny Depp reading Jim Morrison’s poetry on several tracks–is available from Amazon for $9.00 on CD or $7.99 as an MP3 download. It’s guaranteed to light your fire!

ALICE IN WONDERLAND passes $300 million in domestic box office; worldwide total $732 million!

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska as Alice, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, continues its impressive box office run; on April 1st it passed the $300 million mark at the North American box office, and reached $309.8 million by the end of Easter weekend, despite losing its 3D screens to Clash of the Titans and How to Train Your Dragon. Alice’s performance overseas continues to be very strong; its worldwide total of $732.1 million gives Alice in Wonderland the 35th biggest box-office gross in history.

The Zone thanks Shadowydog and Emma for box-office news; you can read more about Alice in Wonderland on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp designs an Easter egg for Royal Blind School charity auction

Johnny Depp is up to his charitable ways once again, this time designing an Easter egg–decorated as Captain Jack Sparrow and signed by Johnny–for a charity auction on Ebay to benefit the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh. According to the school’s Ebay auction page, “Some of the country’s favourite celebrities have come together to create an exclusive collection of individually crafted Faberge-style eggs, to be auctioned in aid of the Royal Blind School Appeal. Each egg is signed and contains a special celeb gift.” Bidding began at one minute after midnight on March 31st, and will end at one minute to midnight on Friday, April 9th (adjust closing time for your location if you are not in Edinburgh . . . we wouldn’t want you to miss out).

The Royal Blind School hopes to raise 6 million pounds in the next few years to build a new residential center. Helen Forrest, marketing and fundraising manager for the Royal Blind School, told the press, “We wanted to create a concept that put the fun back into fundraising. The ‘Eggstravaganza’ is ideal as it offers the chance to get hold of totally unique items. As the first of its kind, we’ve absolutely no idea what these eggs will go for and haven’t really been able to put a value on them. In my mind, the Johnny Depp piece is priceless, but that probably goes for every woman!” You can see a larger close-up view of Johnny’s Captain Jack Sparrow egg HERE, and for a view of the egg in its display cage, CLICK HERE. You can bid on the egg HERE.

The Zone thanks Studiowoman for sharing the auction news and AnaMaria for pictures of the adorable Captain Jack egg. You can read more about the auction on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“Our thanks go out to all the celebrities for taking the time to get involved,” says Ms. Forrest. Cheers to Johnny for lending a helping hand to the Royal Blind School!