Articles from May 2010

“Trust me”–Johnny Depp writes about the creation of Captain Jack Sparrow in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

The June 4th issue of Entertainment Weekly –yes, the one which features their list of “The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years”– includes a reminiscence by Johnny Depp for the character ranked #13 on their list, the unforgettable Captain Jack Sparrow. “I was just interested in exploring,” Johnny writes. “I was thinking of pirates as rock & roll stars, so Keith Richards was already in my mind. Then came Pepe Le Pew. And then Lee Marvin’s performance in Cat Ballou — it doesn’t get any better than that.” Marvin won the 1965 Best Actor Oscar for his performance, an extremely rare honor for a predominantly comic role. The inspiration was aptly chosen: Johnny’s Captain Jack Sparrow was Oscar-nominated in 2004 and honored by his peers with the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor.

However, the executives at Disney were not enamored with Johnny’s performance at first. “My agent, poor thing, was getting calls from Disney saying, ‘He’s ruining the movie!’ Finally, I just made the call to them and said, [. . . ] ‘Look, it may seem strange to you now, but you’ve got to trust me. I have a really strong feeling about it. And if you can’t trust me, you have to replace me.’ I felt like it was our duty [. . .] to push the boundaries. Because audiences like to see new stuff. They like to be surprised.” Fortunately for moviegoers everywhere, the Disney executives chose the first option, and the rest is cinema history. Yo ho!

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the Entertainment Weekly article. To read more, see the Zone’s News & Views forum.

New cast additions for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES . . . but NOT Megan Fox

Don’t believe the rumors flying around the Internet suggesting that Megan Fox will fill the looming void in her filming schedule (since she is not participating in Transformers 3) by joining the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. A representative for Disney has dismissed the rumors, saying “the story is not true.” Furthermore, the role of the mermaid has already been cast; Disney announced several weeks ago that Astrid Berges-Frisbey, a fast-rising European star, had won the role of Syrena. Oops . . . . For a photo of the lovely Ms. Berges-Frisbey, CLICK HERE, and for the story debunking the Megan Fox rumor, CLICK HERE.

In bona fide casting news, British actors Richard Thomson and Paul Bazely have joined the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Mr. Thomson will play a member of Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew. The Zone thanks Emma for the news; you can read much more about On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY cover . . . as Captain Jack

The June 4th special double issue of Entertainment Weekly features “The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years” and prominently features a picture of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow on the cover. Inside there’s a special treat–a full-page feature (page 50, to be exact) on “The Rock Star Pirate, Jack Sparrow,” written by Johnny Depp himself. Captain Jack ranks #13 in the 100 Greatest Characters–a fine showing, but not as high as he deserves–and Edward Scissorhands ranks #7. No other actor can boast two creations in the top 20, so congratulations to Johnny!

According to Entertainment Weekly, the top ten greatest characters of the last 20 years are Homer Simpson; Harry Potter; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Tony Soprano; the Joker; Rachel Green (Friends); Edward Scissorhands; Hannibal Lecter; Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City); and Spongebob Squarepants. About Edward Scissorhands, Josh Rottenberg writes that Tim Burton’s “darkly skewed vision of suburban alienation meshed beautifully with Depp’s quiet soulfulness as the misfit monster, marking the beginning of a partnership that has produced other memorable oddballs, from Ed Wood’s cross-dressing hack director to Alice in Wonderland‘s Mad Hatter. Says Burton, ‘It’s all been like a series of big dares.'”

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news and FANtasticJD for sharing scans; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the EW cover, CLICK HERE.

Cheers! ALICE IN WONDERLAND tops $1 billion at the box office!

Amazing news for Tim Burton’s 3D fantasy Alice in Wonderland–it has officially crossed the $1 billion (yes, billion with a B) mark in worldwide box office totals! How rare an achievement is that? In all of motion picture history, Burton’s Alice is only the sixth film to earn a billion dollars. The others? Avatar, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and The Dark Knight –very nice company indeed. “We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to showcase such an amazing 3D film from visionary director Tim Burton and the creative talents of Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway,” Disney chairman Rich Ross told the press. No doubt Disney shareholders are feeling fortunate as well.

Alice in Wonderland passed the $1 billion mark on its 85th day of release, and has earned $332.3 million domestically and $667.7 million overseas. Unlike the other billion-dollar movies, Alice did not open in the summertime or holiday season when movie-going is at its height. “It’s an amazing result,” Disney vice president of international distribution David Kornblum said. “Alice in Wonderland has reinvented the culture of cinema-going in a big way.” Kornblum’s domestic distribution counterpart, Chuck Viane, told Variety that Disney has Alice’s “creative team” to thank for the film’s success: “I think so much of this is the combination of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.” Agreed!

The Zone thanks Tocnavforjd, FANtasticJD, Emma, Theresa, Shadowydog and RumLover for sharing box office data–you can read much more on the Zone’s News & View forum.

We offer our warmest congratulations to Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and the cast and crew of Alice in Wonderland on their tremendous success. Well done!

Great news! The Zone’s 2010 Birthday Project raises $2,000 for Save the Children’s Haiti Emergency Relief!

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–particularly his interest in helping children in need. We pool our modest contributions and make a Zone donation to a worthy cause in honor of Johnny Depp, as a way of celebrating and thanking Johnny for all the joy he has given us over the year. Due to the enormous disaster which struck Haiti with the earthquake on January 12th, and the desperate need of the survivors there, the Zone’s 2010 Birthday Project will benefit Save the Children’s Haiti Emergency Relief for Children! Here’s wonderful news: our members have already donated more than $2,000! Thank you all so much!

Since the earthquake, Save the Children has distributed food to more than a quarter of a million Haitians, provided access to clean water and sanitation facilities to more than 221,000 people, and provided classroom tents and supplies so 41 schools could reopen. You can read much more about Save the Children‘s work in Haiti on our 2010 Birthday Project forum.

The Zone has a dedicated Paypal account for contributions to the 2010 Birthday Project; if you would like to join in our gift, you can make a donation by visiting our 2010 Birthday Project Forum and scrolling down to the Paypal button. If you would like to donate by check to Save the Children, directions are directly below the Paypal button on the announcement post.

The Zone would like to thank everyone who has already donated to the 2010 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.

Let’s reach out to help children in Haiti, and say “Happy Birthday” and “Thank You” to Johnny Depp!

Jerry Bruckheimer talks about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, busily promoting his new release Prince of Persia, took time in an interview with IGN to discuss the next Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides, which is due to begin filming in June. When asked how much of the screenplay is based directly on Tim Powers’s novel On Stranger Tides (which Disney optioned), Mr. Bruckheimer replied:

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Well, we always take elements of everything. We took the title; we’re taking some other little things like the search for the Fountain of Youth. So those are things that are definitely a big part of the story, and that’s why we have the book. [But . . .] it’s going to be based on the lore of the real Blackbeard. He’s going to be a pretty evil man. So it will certainly make Ian [McShane, who plays Blackbeard] something pretty scary.

IGN: So he won’t be a Blackbeard back from the dead. He’s going to be a living Blackbeard from history.

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Yeah. Exactly.

IGN: Besides Johnny Depp, who else from the original cast, [. . .] including the supporting characters, are expected to return?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: Well, Geoffrey Rush is, and [. . .] Kevin McNally is coming back [as Mr. Gibbs]. We might bring some other characters but we haven’t quite decided yet.

The Zone thanks Emma for finding and sharing the Jerry Bruckheimer interview; you can watch the interview HERE . But be warned, there are some plot spoilers!

It’s official: Ewan McGregor will take over for Johnny Depp in Terry Gilliam’s THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE

In an interview at the Cannes Film Festival, director Terry Gilliam confirmed that he is about to tilt at windmills again, but when his dream project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, torpedoed by a series of disasters in 2000 and embroiled in a lengthy legal battle for most of a decade, finally goes before the cameras, its leading roles will be recast. Ewan McGregor will replace Johnny Depp in the role of the 21st-century advertising executive who travels into Don Quixote’s literary landscape, and Robert Duvall will take over the role of Don Quixote from Jean Rochefort.

The legendary bad luck that befell Gilliam’s first attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was chronicled in the award-winning 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha. How does Ewan McGregor feel about taking over the leading role in a film with such an unfortunate past? McGregor told MTV’s Todd Gilchrist, “I try not to think about the pressure and the scary side of what you’re about to embark on, but just think of it as being a challenge. If it [The Man Who Killed Don Quixote] comes about, which it may — and I certainly hope it does, because I’ve wanted to work with [director Terry Gilliam] for a long time — to play that part would be very, very exciting.” Best wishes to all involved in reviving The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. You can read Ewan McGregor’s interview with MTV HERE.

More photos of Johnny Depp in Cannes!

Johnny Depp found time to visit with good friend Tim Burton during the Chanel party at Cannes last night; the director was taking a break from his duties as president of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival jury. Perhaps they discussed their next project together, Dark Shadows. To see a larger photo of Johnny and Tim conversing, CLICK HERE. That’s Vanessa Paradis standing next to Johnny; to see a photo of Johnny and Vanessa arriving, CLICK HERE.

Musician and poet Patti Smith, a longtime friend of Johnny and Vanessa and a member of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, performed a surprise concert at the party honoring Vanessa. To see a photo of Johnny and Vanessa sitting together, CLICK HERE. It must have been chilly inside; Vanessa is wearing Johnny’s jacket!

The Zone thanks Evochka and Theresa for sharing photos; you can read more about Johnny’s trip to Cannes on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

New photos–Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis at Cannes!

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis brought glamor to the Croisette, the center of the Cannes Film Festival, as they attended a party hosted by Chanel and Madame Figaro on Tuesday night. The celebration honored Vanessa Paradis and Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld. To see a larger version of the portrait of Johnny and Vanessa, CLICK HERE. For a full-length shot of the couple arriving at the party, CLICK HERE; Johnny’s black suit complements Vanessa’s chic black beaded gown. To see Johnny and Vanessa leaving the Chanel party, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Theresa and Evochka for the photos; you can read more on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES will film in 3D

Captain Jack Sparrow will be bringing something new to movie theaters when the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise comes into port next summer. Disney has confirmed that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will film in Disney Digital 3D, rather than being shot in 2D and then converted to 3D. This will be director Rob Marshall’s first 3D feature. Despite what some media outlets are reporting, the release date for On Stranger Tides remains unchanged: it will be sailing into a theater near you on May 20, 2011.

The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news; you can read much more about Pirates 4 on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

More photos of Johnny Depp with fans in Venice!

Sporting a white tuxedo jacket, a dapper Johnny Depp filmed scenes for The Tourist in Piazza San Marco on Thursday . . . and then delighted the waiting crowd by greeting them and shaking hands. To see a larger portrait of Johnny, CLICK HERE, and to see Johnny shaking hands with the crowd in the piazza, CLICK HERE. For an especially charming photo of Johnny reaching up to shake hands with a young boy perched on an adult’s shoulders, CLICK HERE. Many thanks to all the Zone members who have shared photos and accounts of the filming! You can read more about the filming of The Tourist on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

PIRATES 4 Rumor–Keith Richards to return in ON STRANGER TIDES?

Rock and roll legend Keith Richards made a memorable appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and now there’s buzz that the inscrutable Teague could return in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Keith Richards has been doing media interviews this week to promote the new documentary about the Rolling Stones, Stones in Exile, and according to a story in USA Today, Richards will “return as the father of Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, in the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides, which starts shooting in June.”

During an interview with Extra at the Tuesday premiere of Stones in Exile, Keith Richards said, “There’s talk about it, yeah,” regarding his return to the role of Teague. He added, “I’ve kept my costume.”

To read the full USA Today interview with Keith Richards, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Emma for the Extra interview; you can read more about On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp films THE TOURIST in Piazza San Marco–new photos!

One of the most beautiful men in the world in one of the most beautiful settings in the world–that’s what visitors to Venice’s historic Piazza San Marco glimpsed today as Johnny Depp filmed some of the final scenes of The Tourist. Kudos to costume designer Colleen Atwood for the stylish tuxedo with its crisp white jacket! To see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE. As part of the scene, Johnny’s character Frank lights and smokes a cigarette; to see Johnny preparing to light up (with a crew member standing next to him, ready to get the cameras rolling), CLICK HERE. Johnny waves to the crowd in THIS PHOTO; Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director of The Tourist, stands next to Johnny. The Zone thanks Marijose and Evochka for sharing photographs!

You can read more about the filming of The Tourist on the Zone’s News & Views forum, and a lively discussion of the pictures on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and ALICE IN WONDERLAND nominated for MTV Movie Awards!

Get ready to vote–the MTV Movie Award nominations have been announced! Congratulations to Johnny Depp, who has been nominated in the new and very competitive category Global Superstar . . . along with Daniel Radcliffe of the Harry Potter films, and three actors from the Twilight franchise–Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is nominated as Best Movie, along with Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, The Hangover, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Helena Bonham Carter is nominated as Best Villain for her portrayal of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. Congratulations, Helena!

Vote for your favorites on the MTV Movie Awards website HERE. Voting closes on Saturday, June 5, for all categories except Best Movie; MTV will accept votes for Best Movie until the show airs on Sunday, June 6.

The Zone thanks AnaMaria for breaking the news; you can read more about the MTV Movie Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Don’t look down! Johnny Depp films on a balcony in Venice–new photos!

Johnny Depp, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and the crew of The Tourist returned to the famous fish market on the Rialto today to re-shoot a scene filmed nearly two months ago. Johnny once again donned a pair of blue pajamas with white stripes and gamely climbed over the railing of a high balcony so he could be filmed standing on the ledge. To see a photo of Johnny sitting on the balcony railing, CLICK HERE; that’s director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on the right, and Johnny’s stunt man behind him on the left. To see a side view of Johnny standing on the ledge, CLICK HERE, and to see Johnny braced on the ledge, holding on to the railing and looking as if he’s prepared to jump, CLICK HERE. No doubt Johnny was glad to get his feet back on the ground! You can see him filming among the fruit stalls, still wearing his pajamas, HERE. Many thanks to Evochka for sharing the pictures, to Emma for news articles from Venice, and to Peachy for helpful translations!

TV ALERT–WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE, narrated by Johnny Depp, to appear on PBS on May 12th

American television viewers will have a chance to watch Tom DiCillo’s documentary about ’60s rock icons The Doors on May 12th, as When You’re Strange: A Film about The Doors debuts on the PBS series American Masters. “Johnny Depp narrates this phenomenal history of the Doors, the rock group responsible for such classics as ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘L.A. Woman.’ It utilizes only footage shot from the band’s 1965 formation to singer Jim Morrison’s 1971 death, including a wealth of previously unseen clips,” says PBS. Since each PBS affiliate sets its own schedule, check your local listings for the date and time in your area; in a number of large markets, American Masters airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, with additional broadcasts later in the week.

The Zone thanks Myfave for sharing the news; you can read more about the Doors documentary on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

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.”

Trimming Captain Jack’s sails? Disney’s cost-cutting on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES

“Fiscal restraint” is the new watchword at Disney, which means even Captain Jack Sparrow will have to make do with less, the Los Angeles Times reports. Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides is scheduled to begin shooting on June 14th, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall “are scrambling to meet the more constrained budget that Disney is imposing. Although it’s still large — north of $200 million — it is at least a third less than the last Pirates movie,” observes the Times, “and includes far fewer shooting days and visual effects shots.”

According to Jerry Bruckheimer, the goal is to “make these movies very entertaining but also very cost effective.” To trim costs, Captain Jack will spend more time on land and less on the open sea, and the production will film “primarily in Hawaii and London” because “tax credits are more favorable” than the Caribbean or California, where the previous Pirates movies were shot.

The Los Angeles Times offers specific examples of cost-cutting: “The number of shooting days scheduled is 90 to 95, down from 142 on the last movie. Similarly, there are expected to be 1,300 to 1,400 visual effects shots, compared with 2,000.” That’s a significant reduction. Still, new director Rob Marshall is undaunted. “We’re all working hard to keep it as lean as possible,” he told the Times. “It’s a tricky time in the economy. You can’t be insane.” With a background in live theater and television, Marshall is accustomed to dealing with lean budgets. In fact, Pirates 4 “is by far the biggest budget I’ve ever worked with,” he said.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the article; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Announcing the Zone’s 2010 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–particularly his interest in helping children in need. We pool our modest contributions and make a Zone donation to a worthy cause in honor of Johnny Depp, as a way of celebrating and thanking Johnny for all the joy he has given us over the year.

This year, Haiti’s children desperately need our help. A massive earthquake struck the island nation on January 12th, killing 220,000 people and leaving more than a million homeless and hungry, many of them children. So the 2010 Birthday Project will benefit Save the Children’s Haiti Emergency Relief for Children!

Currently Save the Children has more than 800 staff members on the ground in Haiti. Since the earthquake, Save the Children has distributed food to more than a quarter of a million Haitians, provided access to clean water and sanitation facilities to more than 221,000 people, and provided classroom tents and supplies so 41 schools could reopen. You can read much more about Save the Children‘s work in Haiti on our 2010 Birthday Project forum.

The Zone has a dedicated Paypal account for contributions to the 2010 Birthday Project; if you would like to join in our gift, you can make a donation by visiting our 2010 Birthday Project Forum and scrolling down to the Paypal button. If you would like to donate by check to Save the Children, directions are directly below the Paypal button on the announcement post.

Let’s reach out to help children in Haiti, and say “Happy Birthday” and “Thank You” to Johnny Depp!