Articles from July 2012

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp’s mother, Betty Sue, hospitalized in Los Angeles

Johnny Depp was photographed by paparazzi as he entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Johnny was accompanied by security chief Jerry Judge. E!News reports that Johnny was visiting his mother, Betty Sue, who has been admitted to Cedars-Sinai “and is in the facility’s respiratory ICU. [. . .] Depp and his mom, who has frequently been by her son’s side during award shows and red-carpet premieres, were spotted earlier in the weekend arriving at the hospital via his limo.” There has been no official confirmation from Johnny’s press representatives.

Members of the Zone will keep Betty Sue and the Depp family in our thoughts and prayers; we hope for a swift recovery for Betty Sue. We thank Shadowydog and Evochka for breaking the news; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp appears in Richard D. Zanuck biopic to air on TCM next spring

A documentary about Richard D. Zanuck’s amazing career, “Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking,” will air on TCM next May, following a premiere at TCM’s film festival in Hollywood in April 2013. The documentary includes interviews with many of Mr. Zanuck’s collaborators, including Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Sherry Lansing, William Friedkin, and Johnny Depp.

The film’s director, Laurent Bouzereau, told The Hollywood Reporter that Mr. Zanuck was able to view a full-length cut of the documentary only three days before his death: “He called me immediately after viewing it to tell me how happy he was with the result and that he couldn’t wait to see me at lunch on Friday and, as he said, ‘look at [you] in the eyes and tell you how touched I am.’ I got the tragic news that Dick had left us early Friday morning. I realize it’s very little comfort, but he did get to see all the love and admiration that everyone featured in the piece had for him, and that in itself is a miracle.”

Turner Classic Movies is currently airing a brief memorial tribute to Mr. Zanuck in which the legendary producer spoke about his devotion to storytelling. “The most important thing is the story: not the script, but the story,” Mr. Zanuck said. He expressed hope that movies would return to character-based storytelling: “There’s great entertainment value in smaller, intimate, personal stories.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about the Richard D. Zanuck documentary on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp contributes to fundraising effort for the Creede Repertory Theatre

More good news continues to surface from Johnny Depp’s time in Creede, Colorado during the filming of The Lone Ranger last month. The Mineral County Miner reports that on Thursday, June 22, Johnny — in full costume as Tonto — was driven past a lemonade stand set up to raise money for the summer education programs at the Creede Repertory Theatre. Johnny rolled down his window and waved at the teenagers manning the lemonade stand. The next day, when Johnny signed autographs for local residents at the Creede town hall, the lemonade entrepreneurs — Mary Beltran and Ryan and Matt Wilcocks — “asked if he remembered them from the lemonade stand and they explained their cause.” Impressed with their dedication, Johnny promised to match their donation to the theater. And he did! According to the local newspaper, “On July 9 the theatre received a donation from Depp for more than double the amount raised by the lemonade stand.”

Ann Beltran, Mary’s mother, told the press that Johnny Depp “has a kind heart and is a great example to everyone with his generosity and follow through of his word.” We agree! Cheers to Johnny for his kindness and to Mary, Ryan, and Matt for their work to help their local theater.

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for sharing the story; you can read more about The Lone Ranger filming on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Mineral County Miner story about Johnny’s donation to the lemonade stand is available HERE.

Filming of THE LONE RANGER wraps in Moab–now 3/4 complete, says producer Jerry Bruckheimer

Gore Verbinski’s retelling of The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the masked ranger, has now wrapped its location shooting in Moab, Utah, according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Mr. Bruckheimer posted the following message on the Jerry Bruckheimer Films blog: “Filming of The Lone Ranger has wrapped in Moab. We shot some great action and train sequences in the middle of the desert. The location was at least an hour drive from any hotel or airport down a long, windy, bumpy dirt road. Cast and crew had to make the trek everyday, but the footage we got was well worth it.”

Mr. Bruckheimer shared some spoiler-free photos of the breathtaking Moab locations HERE and HERE. Gorgeous! As the film crew left Moab, Mr. Bruckheimer tweeted, “We’re 3/4 of the way through filming The Lone Ranger. Less than a year til its release.” We’re looking forward to it!

The Zone thanks Emma and fogFrog for sharing the news; you can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp at airport in Nice, France–new photos!

Taking advantage of a break in Lone Ranger filming — the Jerry Bruckheimer production has just completed location shooting in Moab, Utah, and it takes some time to move the equipment to the next location — Johnny Depp jetted off to the south of France for a quick vacation. He and his children were photographed getting into a car at the Nice Airport on July 18th. The Johnny Depp Zone does not show photographs of the Depp children, but you can see photos of a smiling Johnny (in his black hat) HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The Zone thanks Mrs Pink for breaking the news, and Theresa for sharing the photos. You can read more about Johnny’s trip to France on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

TV ALERT–Johnny Depp’s appearance on THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW re-airs today

If you missed Johnny Depp’s May appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, or you would like to see it again, the program re-airs today! Since Ellen’s show is syndicated, you will need to check your local listings for the time and station in your area. Johnny’s visit took place during the promotion for Dark Shadows, and he and Ellen had a charming conversation about Johnny’s approach to his characters, and Ellen gave Johnny an engraved I.D. bracelet; then they were joined by Johnny’s Dark Shadows castmates Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Grace Moretz for some reminiscences about their experiences making the film. The atmosphere was warm and relaxed and the audience — which had just seen Dark Shadows and, according to Ellen, “loved it” — was very enthusiastic.

To jog your memory, you can see photos of Johnny’s appearance on Ellen HERE, HERE, and HERE. The Zone thanks mytreasure for sharing the news and the photos; you can read more about Johnny’s appearance on Ellen on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

It’s official! Johnny Depp will star in Wes Anderson’s next film, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Great news! Johnny Depp will team with highly-regarded director Wes Anderson for Anderson’s next film project, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Multiple media outlets, including Deadline.com, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, CinemaBlend and E! Online reported the story this morning. The Grand Budapest Hotel will be produced by Anderson along with Scott Rudin and Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales. There are no plot details available about the movie or the type of role Johnny will play, though Anderson told CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg that “he wrote the script with a friend who has never been involved with the film industry before (his previous co-writers include Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbach, and Roman Coppola).”

The Grand Budapest Hotel will mark the first time Johnny has worked with Wes Anderson. Johnny is the first cast member to commit to the project, but Anderson is rumored to be seeking Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Angela Lansbury as well. What an ensemble that would be!

The Grand Budapest Hotel will film in Europe — Anderson’s first venture there. Deadline’s Mike Fleming suggests that this will be Johnny’s next project, once he finishes his role as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Joni for breaking the news; you can read more about The Grand Budapest Hotel on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“Too shocking for words”–Johnny Depp reacts to the “tragic loss” of producer Richard D. Zanuck

The sudden death of producer Richard D. Zanuck from a heart attack yesterday has led to an outpouring of sentiment and grief from his colleagues in the movie business; Mr. Zanuck was universally respected for the excellence of his work and — much more rare — beloved for his character. Here’s what Johnny Depp had to say about Mr. Zanuck, who produced Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows:

“The tragic loss of this great legend, this warrior, is too shocking for words. He was family. He was the first producer that I ever experienced actually producing. He would shield the filmmaker from all unnecessary distractions and delicately build an actor’s confidence on a daily basis. An incredibly strong and vital force on and off set, with a genuine kindness toward everyone, regardless of their position. He was the last of a breed. My condolences to his dear wife, Lili, whom he adored, and to his family, who meant the world to him. You will forever be in our thoughts, Dear Richard.”

Variety has the following comment from Tim Burton: “I’m in shock and heartbroken at the news of Richard Zanuck’s passing. He was like family to me — a mentor, friend and father figure. Richard was a completely unique and amazing individual and there will never be anyone else like him. I’m too sad to speak more about it right now and need some time to mourn.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Emma for sharing the eulogies; you can read more about Richard D. Zanuck on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

The photo above shows Johnny Depp with Richard Zanuck at the premiere of Mr. Zanuck’s final film, Dark Shadows, in Los Angeles last May. May “Dear Richard” rest in peace; we will always be grateful for his work and his kindness.

Very sad news–Oscar-winning producer Richard Zanuck dies of heart attack

Beloved producer Richard D. Zanuck died today at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack; Mr. Zanuck was 77. Johnny Depp fans know and love Mr. Zanuck for his fearless championing of the work of Tim Burton: Mr. Zanuck produced Tim’s Planet of the Apes and Big Fish, as well as the Burton-Depp collaborations Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and this year’s Dark Shadows. The son of 20th Century-Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, Richard Zanuck grew up in the movie business and spent his life as a studio executive and, later, an independent producer. While executive VP at Fox, Mr. Zanuck shepherded classics like The Sound of Music, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Patton, and The French Connection to the screen; later, with partner David Brown, Zanuck produced 1973’s Best Picture The Sting, and Steven Spielberg’s first big-screen successes, The Sugarland Express and Jaws.

Zanuck and Brown produced 1989’s Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy; they also were honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1991 and the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. Mr. Zanuck is survived by his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, his sons Harrison and Dean, and nine grandchildren.

The Zone thanks Chenault for sharing the news; you can read more about Richard Zanuck on the Zone’s News & Views forum. We send our condolences to Mr. Zanuck’s family and to the artists who were privileged to work with him over the years. We know how much he will be missed, and we grieve with you.

Surprise! Disney gives a first look at THE LONE RANGER to Comic Con attendees

Disney delighted the Comic Con attendees who packed Hall H for their panel discussion of upcoming attractions on Thursday by ending their presentation with a brief but action-packed glimpse of footage from Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger. Although viewers didn’t get to see much in the way of character development in the footage shown, Entertainment Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican feels safe in reporting that “Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are focusing on a more serious Lone Ranger instead of the jokey version some worried was coming down the tracks. [. . .] Those looking for a darker take on The Lone Ranger will be pleased by the intense tone and focus on action over humor.”

Despite the ballyhoo over the movie’s budget, CinemaBlend’s Katie Rich reports that Disney is getting plenty of visual bang for its buck(s). “[D]irector Gore Verbinski has been famously battling for a bigger budget — which really seems to be paying off, it’s fair to say, from what we saw in that trailer. The movie version of The Lone Ranger is obviously going to be a great deal bigger than the old TV show, and the sets — from a saloon hall to a train station to the incredible expanse of Monument Valley — look worth the expense. If the movie is about the real, rough-and-tumble action of men jumping on trains and chasing each other on horseback, we could be in for an enormous but somewhat old-school kind of action Western.”

There’s no word yet about when the Lone Ranger footage might be available online, but we’ll keep a sharp eye.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD, ~SB, Maritza1,and Sleepy for sharing news. You can read more about The Lone Ranger, including the Comic Con presentation, on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Entertainment Weekly article is available HERE and the CinemaBlend article is available HERE.

“I was raised on bluegrass and country music”–Johnny Depp talks music with the New York Times

Another good reason to buy the New York Times next Sunday (July 15th) — not only will the New York Times Sunday Book Review (always a great read) feature a story on the rediscovery of Woody Guthrie’s lost novel House of Earth, and an essay by House of Earth co-editors Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp, but also an email interview with Johnny Depp! Asked about his musical taste (and presumably his affection for Guthrie), Johnny responded, “Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on bluegrass and country music.” He confirmed that he has “listened to Guthrie all his life,” adding that Guthrie “represents the soul and the sound of the America that I love.” But Johnny carefully gave credit to another American musical legend — Bob Dylan — as his conduit to understanding Guthrie’s importance: “[I]t is thanks to Bob Dylan that the man and his music became solidified in my lexicon.”

Johnny identifies himself as a fan of books by musicians, citing Keith Richards’ Life (of course), Steven Tyler’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? and Dylan’s Chronicles as favorites. When asked which musician he might like to portray on screen, Johnny suggested the late blues legend Junior Kimbrough. “However, failing that, I wouldn’t mind slipping into the skin and bones of Harry Partch. One of our greatest, pioneering artists, who is rarely given the respect, let alone the appreciation, that he so richly deserves.” That should send screenwriters scrambling to their computers.

The beautiful portrait of Johnny is by Tina Berning; you can see a larger version HERE; the New York Times article is available online HERE.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the New York Times interview; you can read more on the Zone’s News and Views forum.

Johnny Depp will reprise his role as EDWARD SCISSORHANDS–on FAMILY GUY!

According to Entertainment Weekly, Johnny Depp is scheduled to return to his iconic role as Edward Scissorhands for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in an episode of Fox’s animated (and outrageous) comedy Family Guy. EW reports that Johnny provides Edward’s distinctive voice “in one of the show’s cutaway gags.” However, it took some effort for Johnny to resurrect the persona he created two decades ago. “When he was in the booth, he said that he felt like he hadn’t done that voice since he did it in front of the camera,” Family Guy executive producer Mark Hentemann told EW. However, Johnny “was able to snap right back into Edward Scissorhands once we pulled up a clip from the movie.”

Hentemann pronounced Johnny “amazing,” adding praise for the “extraordinary patience” Johnny showed with “all the fawning women in our office who swarmed him.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news; you can read more about Johnny’s appearance on Family Guy on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Entertainment Weekly story is available HERE.

Latest casting rumor–Johnny Depp to appear in Wes Anderson’s next movie?

The latest tantalizing Johnny Depp-casting rumor to sweep the Internet has JD joining the ensemble for Wes Anderson’s next film. According to Todd Brown of twitchfilm.com, “[W]e are told that Anderson is approaching a cast of Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Angela Lansbury to star in the [as yet untitled] film.” It’s a dream cast — here’s hoping the rumor isn’t just a pipe dream! There has been no confirmation from either the Anderson or Depp camps that an approach has been made, so we’ll just have to wait and see if the rumor has substance. If true, this would mark Johnny’s first appearance in a Wes Anderson film.

The lack of official confirmation hasn’t stopped Entertainment Weekly from speculating (or is that fantasizing?) about what type of role Johnny might undertake in a Wes Anderson film. Their suggestions include “the embittered son with father issues,” “the estranged or reluctant father figure,” “the presupposing author,” “the narrator,” or “the kid on the beach dancing in his underwear.” You can cast a vote in EW’s playful PopWatch poll HERE. The Twitch story is available HERE.

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for sharing the casting rumor; you can read more about the possible Wes Anderson project on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp and Douglas Brinkley edit Woody Guthrie’s lost novel HOUSE OF EARTH for publication next spring

Leave it to Johnny Depp to find a fitting way to honor the 100th birthday of legendary folk singer, composer, and American public conscience Woody Guthrie (on July 14th); Johnny and historian Douglas Brinkley are teaming up to edit Guthrie’s long-lost novel House of Earth for publication next spring. According to the New York Times, House of Earth, which Guthrie finished in 1947 but never published, “follows a West Texas couple who, in their effort to build adobe homes as protection against treacherous weather, fight against banks and lumber companies.”

In a New York Times essay entitled “This Land Was His Land: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Novel,” Brinkley and Depp explain that Guthrie’s House of Earth “was written as a direct response to the Dust Bowl.” The novel reveals that the great musician was also “a brilliant and distinctive prose stylist, whose writing is distinguished by a homespun authenticity, deep-seated purpose and remarkable ear for dialect. [. . .] Pitched somewhere between rural realism and proletarian protest, somewhat static in terms of narrative drive, House of Earth nonetheless offers a searing portrait of the Panhandle and its marginalized Great Depression residents,” they write. “Guthrie successfully mixes Steinbeck’s narrative verve with D. H. Lawrence’s openness to erotic exploration. [. . .] At heart, House of Earth is a meditation about how poor people search for love and meaning in a corrupt world, one in which the rich have lost their moral compasses.”

Guthrie’s vision sounds perfectly attuned to these times, and will be a welcome addition to our bookshelves and his legacy. Congratulations to Johnny and Douglas Brinkley for bringing House of Earth to publication.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read more about House of Earth on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Brinkley-Depp New York Times essay is available HERE.

Introducing a new section in the Johnny Depp Zone Archives–Movie Lore!

We’re celebrating the 8th birthday of the Johnny Depp Zone at this site with a gift for Deppheads everywhere. We have added a new section to the Johnny Depp Zone Archives: Movie Lore!

The Movie Lore Archive contains articles about Johnny Depp’s films. Although these are not interviews with Johnny himself, these pieces offer fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of how some of our favorite movies were made. In Movie Lore, you will find interviews with directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, designers and fellow actors, as well as more general articles on “the making of” a particular film.

What we are showing you today is only the beginning — have many more articles waiting in the wings and we’ll add them to Movie Lore as our time and resources permit. You can access Movie Lore HERE or via the JDZ Archives button above.

Many thanks to Theresa, who designed the Movie Lore Archive, and to all the Zoners who have donated material to it. It’s always a pleasure to learn more about the process -— part art, part serendipity — of moviemaking.

We’re celebrating the Zone’s 8th birthday at this site! Cheers!

It’s our eighth birthday! Sleepy and I started the Johnny Depp Zone on this site eight years ago, continuing the Johnny Depp Zone tradition that has been operating in one form or another for more than 14 years.

We officially opened the “new” Zone on July 9, 2004, the first anniversary of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. When we began the website, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had just started shooting at Pinewood, Corpse Bride had just been announced, there were rumors Finding Neverland would finally be released in the fall, and Johnny’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, had just been formed. The Libertine was in post-production and headed for a work-in-progress showing at the Toronto Film Festival.

How time flies! Not only have we seen Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and The Libertine make their way into theaters, but we’ve watched every step of the production of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, and On Stranger Tides; we’ve heard Johnny sing his way to a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination in Sweeney Todd; we’ve seen him shoot up the screen as Dillinger in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, charm us as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, intrigue Angelina Jolie in The Tourist, ride to the rescue in Gore Verbinski’s Oscar-winning Rango, discover his Hunter S. Thompson-inspired “voice of ink and rage” as a journalist in The Rum Diary, and rise from the undead as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows.

Now Johnny is incarnating the role of Tonto in the Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinski retelling of the classic Western The Lone Ranger, currently filming in Utah. And there are many other intriguing projects in the works, including a remake of The Thin Man, with Johnny playing suave detective Nick Charles for director Rob Marshall, and a big-screen version of the cult TV series The Night Stalker.

As we celebrate and reminisce today, I’d like to thank Sleepy, Theresa, Joni, Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas for their dedication and hard work over the years. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Zone. Many thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way, to all our staff past and present, to Andre for his technical wizardry, and to all of our members for making the Zone a wonderful place to be. And thanks to Moonbeam for the delightful birthday card.

Most of all, thanks and much love always to Johnny Depp, for being a continual source of inspiration and delight–he’s the reason we’re here!

Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil acquires the rights to Ken Rijock’s THE LAUNDRY MAN

The Laundry Man is the remarkable story of an ordinary man caught up in an extraordinary life” — so says Amazon.com’s description of Ken Rijock’s new book, to which (according to an interview with the author in the London Times) Johnny Depp has just acquired the film rights. Rijock acted as a money launderer for Colombian and U.S. drug dealers in the 1980s . . . even while he was involved in a love affair with a beautiful police officer. That’s a complication! Eventually Rijock was caught and agreed go undercover for the DEA; now he works with banks and governments to track the new generation of money launderers. “It’s a great feeling to catch criminals at their own game, to be a force for good,” Rijock said in a recent interview. “But I guess a part of me will always be the laundry man.”

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read more about The Laundry Man on the Zone’s News & Views forum. An excerpt from The Laundry Man — a lively read — is available HERE.

Announcing a new photo gallery for the Zone–THE RUM DIARY!

The Zone is happy to announce another addition to our permanent photo galleries — we have now included a selection of photographs from The Rum Diary, a project very dear to Johnny’s heart. The new gallery is currently featured in the Gallery Showcase; click on the thumbnail above (next to the Picture of the Week) to see the photos. You can also find The Rum Diary gallery by using the PHOTO GALLERIES button and selecting BY FILM, then scrolling to the bottom of the list. Many thanks to sleepy, evochka, AnaMaria, emma, Hiro3, and Theresa, who donated pictures and screencaps to the gallery, and to Theresa (again) for helping me prepare the photos. Enjoy!

No, Johnny Depp was not in Dublin recently–just a hoax, folks

Despite the fact that #DeppinDublin was trending on Twitter over the weekend, the man himself was nowhere near the Emerald Isle . . . as regular Zone readers know, Johnny has been busy filming his role as Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, and he was plying his trade in Moab, Utah this weekend. That didn’t keep some media outlets from being sucked into the hoax, and circulating “Depp in Dublin” stories as if they were fact. Whoops–the joke’s on them.

Cleaning up the mess, E!Online reports today that “In fact, Depp was nowhere anywhere near Ireland this week, as had been reported. A source reveals to E! News that he’s been on location all week at a remote area near Moab, Utah shooting The Lone Ranger [. . . .] Source says the alleged sightings on Twitter are ‘totally fake’ and that Johnny was shooting ‘all day and night’ out in the desert [. . .].”

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