A great actor leaves the stage–farewell, Marlon Brando–

With the recent death of Marlon Brando, Johnny suffered the loss of both a good friend and a professional mentor. Our condolences to Johnny, the Brando family, the actors who took him as their inspiration for more than fifty years, and movie fans everywhere. Brando made our world bigger and brighter by his very presence. He changed what it meant to be an actor in the movies: twentieth-century film could be divided into two periods, before Brando and after Brando.

No performance in Brando’s long and illustrious career is as joyous and full of the zest for life as his portrayal of Dr. Mickler in Don Juan de Marco. His delight in sharing the screen with his young colleague is evident, and many of the commentaries written at his death singled out Johnny as Brando’s professional heir. Brando also appeared in The Brave, in a far different role; a third planned film collaboration between Brando and Johnny was not completed due to funding problems.

Thanks to depphead in TX (now TX depphead) who first broke the story; Elsie, Conny, Really, and nobody for contributing news stories on Brando’s death; and to the many Zoners who wrote so eloquently about their feelings at his passing. May he rest in peace.

Johnny buys an island in the Caribbean–

Johnny purchased a private, 35-acre island in the Bahamas at the end of June. Little Hall’s Pond Cay lies in the Exuma sound and at present is accessible only by seaplane, although plans have been approved to build a private harbor and a marina on the site. The island is approximately one mile long and features six private beaches, a pair of cottages, and an interior lagoon. Cost of the retreat is rumored to be in the $3 million range. Thanks to OldJohnnyFan, Emma, Dali, and Kazren for their contributions to this story , , , ,

Finding Neverland news–

Kazren reports that the poster for Finding Neverland, long a source of discontent for many Deppheads, has been redesigned. The new version pitches the film less as a romance (Johnny and Kate Winslet gazing at each other under a full moon) and more as the story of J. M. Barrie and how he came to write the children’s classic, Peter Pan. The new poster features a large picture of Johnny–always a good idea . . . .

In other Finding Neverland news, Emma reports that the US premiere will be October 4, with the film going into general release on October 22. We certainly hope these dates hold up, since Sleepy reports that financial troubles at Miramax have stirred rumors in the industry that some Miramax films scheduled for fall release may have their release dates delayed until 2005, due to a lack of money for promotion and advertising.

On a happier note, the trailer for Finding Neverland has been very well received and is in the top ten trailers downloaded on the Internet, holding its own with summer blockbusters. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can view it here

Another film project for Johnny and director Tim Burton!

Johnny will voice the lead character of Victor in Tim Burton’s stop-action animated film The Corpse Bride, which will be in production simultaneously with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this summer. The story, based on a European folktale, concerns a man who is transported to the underworld and coerced into marrying the mysterious Corpse Bride (voiced by Helena Bonham-Carter), but who longs to be reunited with his true love in the land of the living (Victor’s fiancee is voiced by Emily Watson). Danny Elfman, who composed the score for Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas, returns as composer for Corpse Bride; the script is by Caroline Thompson (who wrote Edward Scissorhands) and Pamela Pettler. Other actors lending their voices to the project include Albert Finney, Richard E. Grant, Joanna Lumley, and Christopher Lee. Thanks to johnnylubber, Reemi, Liz, Conny, Adrian, Emma, and sleepy for bringing news of this exciting new step in Johnny’s career.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now filming

Johnnylubber shared the official press release from Warner Bros. that announced that Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is now filming at Pinewood Studios outside London. Johnny is playing the eccentric candymaker Willy Wonka, and his 12-year-old co-star from Finding Neverland, Freddie Highmore, plays Charlie Bucket. Other familiar names in the cast include Helena Bonham-Carter and horror film veteran Christopher Lee. The Oompa Loomphas will be played by children, Emma reports.

Bruckheimer interviewed about POTC sequels–

Sleepy reports that POTC producer Jerry Bruckheimer, in an interview with about.com, said that the script to POTC 2 is being written now “and we’re negotiating with all the actors.” That means that none of the principal players from POTC–including Johnny–is actually signed for the sequels! Bruckheimer hopes to begin shooting POTC 2 at the end of 2004 or early in 2005. We hope he will have his cast nailed down before Christmas.

New UK release date for The Libertine–

Emma reports that the UK release date for Johnny’s new film, The Libertine, will be brought forward to 29 October 2004. There is still no official (or unofficial) US release date for The Libertine. At this point, the film still has no US distributor, although Fox Searchlight is rumored to be interested.

Johnny starts a movie production company!

Variety reported that Johnny formed a movie production company named Infinitum Nihil (that’s Latin for “infinite nothing”). Johnny is CEO, sister Christi Dembrowski is president, and Sam Sarkar is director of development. Johnny’s company signed a three-year deal with Graham King’s Initial Entertainment Group; King will provide development money and co-produce Infinitum Nihil’s first film, an adaptation of Laurent Graff’s prize-winning French novel Happy Days. No word yet on whether Johnny plans to star in the film, or direct it, or write it, or all of the above. Thanks to the many Zoners who reported details of this story, including Emma, johnnylubber, Reemi, and Kate 1.