Articles from April 2011

Johnny Depp returns to Chicago for OPRAH appearance–show airs May 5th!

The photo at left shows a newly-shorn Johnny Depp as he appeared at a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago on Friday, April 29th. The episode will air in syndication on May 5th. You can see a photo of Johnny and Oprah on set, sharing their customary glass of wine, HERE. Members of Oprah’s audience were also treated to a private advance screening of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides–wow! And they got to see Lady Gaga performing live during the taping–she and Jessica Simpson were the other guests in the studio. Definitely a must-see!

Johnny celebrated his return to the Windy City by stopping by the Chicago Music Exchange store in Lakeview on Friday afternoon and buying a vintage guitar and accessories to add to his collection, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave, who says JD was “supernice” during his visit and posed for pictures with well-wishers. You can see one of those pictures HERE. Mr. Arroyave’s Tribune column is available HERE.

The Zone thanks Fireflydances, Serendipity, FANtasticJD and addicted2Depp for sharing articles, tweets, and pictures about Johnny’s visit to Chicago. You can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Another casting rumor–Armie Hammer to play the Lone Ranger?

Now that the Ryan Gosling rumors have been laid to rest, up pops another name — Mike Fleming of Deadline.com and Marc Graser of Variety are both reporting that Armie Hammer is in early talks to play the Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp’s Tonto in the Gore Verbinski version of the classic western. Hammer received good notices for his work as the Winklevoss twins in David Fincher’s The Social Network, played Clyde Tolson in the upcoming biography J. Edgar (opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover), and just won the role of the prince in Relativity Media’s Snow White adaptation, so his star is on the rise. Hammer also played Gabriel Edwards on Gossip Girl, but who doesn’t have a guilty-pleasure TV role on his resume?

According to Variety, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer “are eager to get the pic off the ground sometime this year to bow sometime in fall 2012, but scheduling would have to fit in with Depp’s dance card, which has been filling up with a number of high-profile projects.” These dates seem more plausible, however, than other recent reports which suggested a release date for The Lone Ranger in the summer of 2014. Johnny’s next film will be Dark Shadows for Tim Burton.

The Zone thanks Theresa and SeaGoddessCalypso for breaking the news; you can read more about The Lone Ranger casting on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp joins other stars in public service announcement for UNITE FOR JAPAN

Johnny Depp has joined other celebrities in filming a public service announcement for Unite for Japan, urging us to contribute to charities engaged in helping the Japanese people recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. In order of appearance, the celebrities speaking are Ken Watanabe, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Legend, Apolo Ohno, Paula Abdul, Ben Stiller, Johnny Depp, Maggie Q, Ben Affleck, Rob Marshall, Zac Brown, Sharon Lawrence, Masi Oka, Hideki Matsui, Cillian Murphy, and Jonah Hill. You can see the video here:

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the video clip, and congratulates Johnny Depp for his work to aid the people of Japan.

“When you work with somebody like that, it’s special”–Penelope Cruz talks about working with Johnny Depp in ON STRANGER TIDES

In a recent interview, Oscar-winning actress Penelope Cruz talked about her newest role, as the female pirate Angelica in Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and what it was like to reunite on screen with Johnny Depp, ten years after they played husband-and-wife in Blow.

Q: Were you a fan of the first three films and how exciting was it to be offered the part?

PENELOPE CRUZ: Yes, I had seen the three of them and I loved them. I laughed out loud watching them. I was amazed by the character that Johnny created. I remember when I saw the first one, I was, like, “Wow, that’s so brave and so brilliant.” And I was very happy when Rob told me about the possibility of doing this together. We were in London finishing Nine and he asked me, “Would you like to be part of Pirates 4 with me and Johnny?” And I said, of course. I have never done a movie like that and to go back to work with them again was something that made me very happy. Of course, Johnny and I hadn’t worked together for ten years.

Q: What did you like about reuniting with Johnny and working with him on this?

PENELOPE CRUZ: When we were together in Blow, we got along really well. We became friends. Then I didn’t see him for a long time, but now that I’ve spent a lot of time with him again, after all these years, it just gets better and better every day. And when I met him, one of the things that I was most surprised about was how humble he is. He’s so kind to everyone and so sweet and he has a really brilliant mind — smart, really clever, fast, really funny. He’s one of the funniest people I know and he has a very big heart. When you work with somebody like that it’s special. He’s a very unique human being.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the interview; you can read more about it on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion Forum, and more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

New video of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, featuring Captain Jack and Angelica!

Disney has released a tantalizing new promotional clip for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides that focuses on the relationship between its leading actors, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow and Penelope Cruz’s Angelica. “Angelica is sort of a mirror of Captain Jack,” suggests producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “She was a little bit trained by Captain Jack.” Ms. Cruz sees her role a bit differently. “Jack Sparrow betrayed me and broke my heart, and I enjoy looking for personal revenge with Jack.” You can watch the video here:

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the video. You can read much more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

REX MUNDI, an Infinitum Nihil production starring Johnny Depp, gets a new writing team

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on the status of the intriguing Warner Bros.-Infinitum Nihil project Rex Mundi, based on the series of graphic novels created by Arvid Nelson and Eric Johnson, but now Borys Kit of the Hollywood Reporter reveals that the film has a new writing team: Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. Klugman and Sternthal worked on Tron Legacy, and are writing and directing The Words, an independent film starring Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons. Klugman and Sternthal are scheduled to start shooting The Words in June.

Adapting Rex Mundi is a challenge, since the series is now more than a thousand pages long. The story takes place in an alternate reality in which the Catholic Church quashed the Protestant Reformation and so, in a sense, the Middle Ages never ended. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The story is set in 1933 and centers on a pathologist who investigates the mysterious death of the priest who found him as an orphan, a trail that ultimately leads to a quest for the Holy Grail.” An initial draft of the screenplay was written by Jim Uhls.

A recent blog post by Arvid Nelson confirms the hiring of the new writing team. “A Rex Mundi film adaptation has been slithering its way through the pipes of Hollywood for a few years. I’m sort of gobsmacked at how far it’s come. We have a home at Warner Brothers, and Johnny Depp is producing and set to star in the movie. [. . .] Right now we’re at work on the screenplay. As of right now (April ’11) a new writing team is on board, with a very interesting angle on the story, involving Judas Iscariot.” Fascinating.

The Zone thanks Emma and Fireflydances for sharing the news. You can read more about Rex Mundi on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

Ryan Gosling won’t be playing THE LONE RANGER

Despite rumors swirling around the project saying that The Lone Ranger‘s title role would go to Ryan Gosling, Johnny Depp’s Tonto is still looking for his Kemosabe. Kate Ward of Entertainment Weekly reports that one of Gosling’s representatives “has confirmed to EW that the Blue Valentine actor will not be playing the title character in Disney’s big-screen version of The Lone Ranger, which is scheduled to head to theaters in 2014.” Apparently all those media reports that claimed that Gosling was “in talks” to play the Ranger were premature. “Gosling’s schedule was not yet firmed up,” Ward writes. Ah — scheduling conflicts. So the search goes on . . . .

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the news. You can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

“It was a pleasure to shoot”–Ian McShane talks about playing Blackbeard in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

In a recent interview with Total Film, IanMcShane talked about playing “the most infamous pirate who ever lived,” Blackbeard, in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. “He was feared by everybody,” McShane said. “[H]e just looked so fearsome. He’d light torches in his beard so he could impress everybody, or so the legend goes.” For the actor, though, Blackbeard’s legendary beard was the least attractive part of the role. “It was the heaviest thing — it was like having a dead cat around my face! It was made in three or four pieces and held on by magnets and God knows what else. It took an hour and a half to put on every day.” Still, the beard had its compensations: “It was sort of spectacular. And combined with Penny Rose’s great costume, he was a real biker pirate — it’s all black leather.”

McShane said he wasn’t concerned about joining the billion-dollar Pirates franchise, because the project had a fresh look. “It’s really only Johnny, Geoffrey [Rush] and Kevin [McNally] from the other ones — Penelope and I are the two new additions, and there’s a new director, Rob Marshall, who brings a different eye, which I think helps.

“It’s not going to be exactly the same as the last three shows,” McShane promised. “So it was a pleasure to shoot it.” And the actor found an added bonus in filming a family-friendly adventure: “It’s actually been nice, the last couple of years, to be able to do films that I can show to the grandchildren.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the McShane interview; you can read more about On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Latest casting rumor–Ryan Gosling to play the Lone Ranger for Gore Verbinski?

Jerry Bruckheimer’s reboot of the classic Lone Ranger franchise has a Tonto — Johnny Depp; a director — Gore Verbinski; and a screenwriter — Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road). But one thing it hasn’t had is a Ranger, lone or otherwise. Now rumors are flying around Hollywood that Ryan Gosling, Oscar-nominated for Best Actor for Half Nelson in 2006, may be donning the famous black mask and shouting “Hi-ho, Silver!” when cameras roll. The Wrap’s Joshua L. Weinstein reports that Gosling is “in talks to star in Disney’s The Lone Ranger,” but that scheduling conflicts might stand in the way; the busy actor starts the remake of sci-fi allegory Logan’s Run in the fall. Deadline.com says only that Gosling is “one of several actors being eyed” for the Ranger role. In any case, it’s good to hear some news about this project: casting the Ranger would seem to be the next important step in its development.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about Lone Ranger on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

“The one thing we couldn’t change is Jack”–writer Terry Rossio talks about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

The June 2011 issue of Total Film (UK) has a six-page feature on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which includes the usual beautiful photographs and some fascinating comments from the cast and crew. Writer Terry Rossio spoke about the changes between the earlier films and On Stranger Tides: “The one thing we couldn’t change is Jack. That would have been a mistake,” Rossio confided. “He’s always been a trickster character and we had to carry that through. And with Johnny, there’s no need to embellish that performance on the page because you know that he’ll do that himself.”

As for the storyline for Pirates 4, “We took a lot from Tim Powers’ book On Stranger Tides, which focused on Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth,” Rossio said. “We also wanted a romantic foil for Jack — someone who could meet him on his own terms, with wordplay as well as swordplay. Johnny had a lot of input in creating scenes, storylines, situations. We had lots of creative dinners. They’d normally start at 11 pm, the drinks would arrive around 1 am, and we’d go on until around 5 in the morning — usually at some incredibly opulent LA restaurant.” Nice work if you can get it!

The Zone thanks In-too-Depp for sharing the Total Film article; you can read much more about it and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“Now that’s an entrance!” Video of the first day of shooting on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

It was less than a year ago that cameras rolled for the first time on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Now Disney has released some behind-the-scenes footage from that first day of filming — the gorgeous location, Honopu Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, is inaccessible by road, so the cast and crew arrive by boat . . . with the exception of a certain pirate captain who arrives by helicopter! Well, Captain Jack Sparrow knows how to make a memorable entrance, as you can see here:

The Zone thanks Emma and Aida for breaking the news. Special thanks to Erin Kirkpatrick for sharing the video with the Zone.

You can read much more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES to screen at Cannes!

Happy news! Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will become the first title in the blockbuster series to screen at the Cannes Film Festival! Variety reports that On Stranger Tides “is finalizing plans to drop anchor at the Cannes Film Festival, screening out of competition after its May 7 world premiere at Disneyland.” Reporters and photographers will be delighted to have Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane appearing on the red carpet and in press rooms–that’s a lot of star power!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will screen on May 14th. The Festival runs from May 11th through May 22nd.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about On Stranger Tides and its upcoming premieres on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“Let’s not be afraid to be funny”–an interview with DARK SHADOWS writer Seth Grahame-Smith

Dark Shadows screenplay writer Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the wildly successful novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, spoke recently with Collider’s Christina Radish about the many projects on his extremely busy schedule. Here’s a bit of what he had to say about his approach to adapting Dark Shadows for Tim Burton:

Q: Was there anything specific that you wanted to bring to Dark Shadows, both from your own sensibility and so that you made it familiar to fans?

GRAHAME-SMITH: My job on Dark Shadows was to make it fun and funny, first and foremost. It can still be dark and it can still even be gory and gothic at times, but it also needed to be fun and it needed to be an experience that people would enjoy having. I came at it from, “Let’s not be afraid to be funny. Let’s make Barnabas funny. Let’s see this movie through his eyes and really see a man who is trying to come to terms with what he is, where he is and when he is.” I think we really got there with the script. We’re still making some tweaks, and there are rehearsals coming up in a couple weeks and there will be some tweaks after that, but I think everybody is really excited, me included, about where we got. They’re [. . .] going to be filming Dark Shadows in May, which is also really exciting. It’s hard to believe. For me, thinking that [Dark Shadows is . . .] going to be in theaters in a year or so, it’s just astonishing.

Q: What’s it been like to collaborate with someone like Tim Burton, who is such a visual filmmaker?

GRAHAME-SMITH: It’s just another amazing experience, and a learning experience for me. Honestly, the last couple of years have been like going to film school all over again, times 100. It’s been amazing to watch the way that his mind works, and how he collaborates with Johnny, and how Johnny’s mind works. Also, getting to work with a producer like Richard Zanuck, who did Jaws, Planet of the Apes and The Sound of Music, is just incredible. It’s having living legends, all around you.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the Seth Grahame-Smith interview; you can read much more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum. You can read the full interview HERE.

“Johnny Depp is a director’s dream”–new CinemaCon interviews with Rob Marshall and Jerry Bruckheimer about ON STRANGER TIDES

Director Rob Marshall and producer Jerry Bruckheimer brought footage of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to CinemaCon, and spoke enthusiastically to reporters about the filmmaking experience. Marshall is new to the franchise, but happy to be at the helm: Johnny Depp is “a director’s dream,” Marshall said. “He’s the actor all actors love, and all directors love, so immediately I thought, ‘Wow. I’m in incredible company.'” As for the pirate film genre, “It has to be done with a sense of fun and joy as well, and I think that’s what we all share. And that’s why it was such a nice experience for all of us.”

Here’s a brief video interview of Rob Marshall and Jerry Bruckheimer at CinemaCon:

The Zone thanks Shawn Cauthen of Screenslam for sharing the video with the Zone. You can read much more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES premiere to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America

The world premiere of Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp in his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow, will take place on May 7th at Disneyland® Park in Anaheim, California. All of the film’s stars are currently expected to walk the red carpet for the gala event. It’s sure to be a day to remember! The film will screen in an outdoor amphitheater built especially for the premiere right on the Rivers of America. What could be more perfect than seeing On Stranger Tides in 3D, outdoors under the stars, on a giant screen with state-of-the-art sound?

The Walt Disney Company is donating proceeds from ticket sales for the event (at $1,000 per ticket) to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Disney has been a longtime supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America,” said Rich Ross, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, “and we’re thrilled to share such an extraordinary event with this important organization that gives so many kids a chance to embark on their own adventures.” The special premiere benefit event continues the longstanding relationship between Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Walt Disney Company, which started more than 50 years ago when Walt Disney was made an honorary member of the organization’s board of governors. Today, 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs in our communities serve some 4 million children and teens.

If you can’t afford a thousand dollar movie ticket, you can still help the cause: all-natural snack food manufacturer Pirate’s Booty will be offering a limited edition Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides -themed package for its best-selling product, Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar, and will be donating 5 cents to Boys & Girls Clubs of America for each bag sold between April 1 and July 31, 2011, with the goal being a $100,000 contribution. So stock up, me hearties!

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the premiere information; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. Congratulations to the Walt Disney Company and all those affiliated with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, for making their day of celebration a way to help others.

“How lucky we are to make this kind of film”–Rob Marshall talks about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, director Rob Marshall talked about his experience stepping in as the new director of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. When first approached about taking the helm from Gore Verbinski, Marshall was finishing work on the musical Nine, for which Penelope Cruz would receive an Oscar nomination. “Right towards the end of Nine is when I met with Jerry [Bruckheimer] and Johnny,” Marshall said, “and they asked me to do the film.” Marshall started to wonder about his current leading lady also sailing on a pirate ship. “[W]e talked about Penelope and they thought it was a great idea,” Marshall recalled.

“So then I was able to ask Penelope while we were doing Nine, and she went crazy. We were in a restaurant, actually, and she just jumped up out of her skin, out of her seat, she was so thrilled. You know, we pinch ourselves, I mean, I did, and I know Jerry does, too,” Marshall said. “How lucky we are to make this kind of film! It’s this grand adventure,” he declared. “And how often do you actually get to actually live an adventure while you’re making one?”

Part of the adventure was the fact that Ms. Cruz was pregnant during the filming; she and husband Javier Bardem welcomed their first child, son Leo, in January. “We tried to shoot a lot of her first, before she got too big,” Marshall said. The logistics were complicated, and Marshall admits he “had to use a lot of ingenuity. But it was worth it in the end, because she’s such a great actor. And that’s one of the joys of working with someone like her.”

Rob Marshall was onstage for the presentation of Penelope Cruz’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday; to see a picture of the director with his leading man and leading lady, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the interview and Evochka for the photo; you can read more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp wins Favorite Movie Actor at the Kids’ Choice Awards!

Congratulations to Johnny Depp, who once again proved his popularity with the younger set by winning Favorite Movie Actor at this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards! Johnny received the honor for his performance as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The Kids’ Choice Awards were broadcast live on Nickelodeon from the Galen Center at USC in Los Angeles, and Johnny was there in person to accept the award, which was the first one given. He even used a hose to send a plume of Nicekelodeon’s trademark green slime out into the audience!

You can see Johnny’s appearance at the Kids’ Choice Awards here:

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news, and Theresa and FANtasticJD for making some quick screencaps to share with the Zone. You can see them on the News & Views forum, along with details of Johnny’s appearance tonight.

Congratulations, Johnny!

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp pays tribute to Penelope Cruz as she receives a star on the Walk of Fame–new photos!

Today (April 1, 2011) Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz became the first Spanish-born actress to receive her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her two-time co-star Johnny Depp, who received his own star on the Walk of Fame in 1999, was there to honor her. Ms. Cruz was accompanied by her husband, Javier Bardem; she thanked “my wonderful husband and my son [Leonardo, born in January] for making me so happy every day,” and said it was “a very special day and very happy day for me.” She also said that when she first arrived in Los Angeles in 1994, she only knew two sentences: “How are you?” and “I want to work with Johnny Depp.”

Ms. Cruz’s next appearance on the silver screen will be as Angelica, the female lead opposite Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and director Rob Marshall and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were there today to celebrate with her. Ten years ago, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz appeared together in Blow, and in his speech to the crowd, Johnny indicated that he would be happy to keep sharing the screen with her.

“She’s the dysfunctional Bacall to my twisted Bogart,” Johnny said. “She’s the otherworldly Scarlett to my clueless Rhett. She’s the — well, she’s the Ricky to my Lucy.”

To see a larger version of the photo above, showing Johnny and Penelope kneeling by her star on the Walk of Fame, CLICK HERE. To see Johnny delivering his speech (with Jerry Judge in the background), CLICK HERE, and for a close-up of Johnny at the podium, CLICK HERE. To see a photo of Johnny hugging Penelope after his speech, CLICK HERE, and to see a photo of the actors with Rob Marshall and Jerry Bruckheimer, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Emma for breaking the news, and Evochka, Honest Girl and johnnydepp.ru for the photos. You can read more about this special day on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

Congratulations to Penelope Cruz on this great honor!