Articles from October 2004

SHANTARAM–a new film to star Johnny Depp!

Deppheads received a delightful surprise today when the Hollywood Reporter and Variety both announced that Warner Brothers, Initial Entertainment Group, Plan B, and Johnny’s own production company, Infinitum Nihil, have acquired film rights to Gregory David Roberts’ SHANTARAM: A NOVEL. The book, which is based on the life experiences of its author, is already a bestseller in Australia and will be published in the U.S. next week by St. Martin’s Press. Warner Brothers and its partners paid $2 million to secure this star vehicle for Johnny; Variety reports the deal is one of the biggest of the year. Johnny will play the leading role and will produce the film, along with Brad Grey of Plan B and Graham King of Initial. Gregory David Roberts will adapt his novel for the screen. No director has been announced. Warner Bros. will handle domestic distribution, and IEG will have foreign distribution rights.

Johnny’s character is, according to Variety, “an Australian heroin addict convicted of robbery. He escapes from a maximum-security prison and flees to India and reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of Bombay. He gets involved in counterfeiting, smuggling and gunrunning, which leads him to Afghanistan, where he and a mob boss battle the Russians.” There is also a beautiful woman, the Swiss-American expatriate Karla, complicating the hero’s predicament. Publishers Weekly stresses the romantic element of SHANTARAM: “Lin’s love for Karla–and her mysterious inability to love in return–gives the book its central tension.” The story seems to have everything–romance, intrigue, danger, mystery, and a philosophical edge to deepen the adventure. Amazon says, “This huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.”

Warner Brothers and IEG put a $2 million bid on the table to secure the rights “primarily because of Depp,” Variety reports, “who told Grey about his love for the book.” Grey and Warner Brothers are currently producing CATCF and are obviously eager to continue their relationship with Johnny–a great compliment to a great actor. Thanks to Sleepy for breaking this story, and to Newbie and Part-Time Poet for contributing additional material. You can read the full articles from the Hollywood Reporter and Variety on the News & Views forum. Look there, too, for the Publishers Weekly and Amazon reports of SHANTARAM’s plot–but beware, that thread has spoilers.

TV Alert–Johnny Depp on "Famous" on Biography Channel tonight!

Tonight, Wednesday, October 6th at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, the Biography Channel’s “FAMOUS” series will offer a chance to “get intimate with Johnny Depp!” (We wish.) Still, the episode promises a review of Johnny’s career and his “unique and bizarre characters,” and should be well worth watching. The program will repeat Thursday, October 7th at 3 a.m. Eastern and Pacific: yes, that’s the middle of the night, four hours after the original airing. Deppheads with cable access and a spare VCR tape might want to make an extra copy for a friend who doesn’t get the Biography Channel. The Zone thanks DeepinDepp for the timely reminder.

Johnny Depp on cover of November VANITY FAIR!

The cover headline reads “JOHNNY ROCKS,” and the photographs inside certainly rock! The snippets of the interview that have appeared so far don’t break much new ground, but Johnny does reveal a newfound appreciation for nature’s oldest remedy–a good night’s sleep. “It’s amazing when you get to a certain age, and you talk about sleep in the same way you spoke about inebriates 20 or 25 years before,” a wry Johnny tells VANITY FAIR. “Man, I got eight hours last night – it was fantastic.” And he retains his sense of humor about his escalating fame. The once and future Captain Jack Sparrow reports, “A couple of weeks ago this old lady came up to me, a beautiful old lady. She gives me this big smile and she says, ‘I just loved you in Pirates of Penzance.'”

The November issue of VANITY FAIR will be on North American newsstands on October 12th. Thanks to Emma, SB, Linda B., KY Woman, and ACK for reporting on this story, to Alex for the thumbnail pic, and to Veronica who posted a link to the pictures on DeepinDepp’s Tuesday morning thread.

Johnny Depp in New York City October 29th-31st!

New Yorkers, start carving those Captain Jack Sparrow jack-o-lanterns, because the dates for the FINDING NEVERLAND press junket have been moved yet again . . . to October 29-31. So you will have Johnny Depp in your midst for Halloween. Even better, the new dates (if they hold up–always a question) will allow Johnny to be in New York City on Saturday evening, October 30th, when he is scheduled to receive an award from the Actor’s Fund for his body of work. That will be a high-toned and fancy to-do at the Waldorf Astoria, with tickets $500 and up. Other members of the FINDING NEVERLAND ensemble scheduled to be in New York include Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, Radha Mitchell, director Marc Forster, and writer David Magee. The Zone thanks Emma for the update.

Yo ho! POTC sequel filming to start in March 2005~~

Imengard attended an industry show on October 2nd and spoke to the prop-makers for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels. They report that the sequels will begin filming in March 2005. Most of the filming will be in the Los Angeles area, with less time than originally rumored spent filming in the Caribbean–“a few months” instead of six, they told Imengard. There is also some consideration being given to filming a bit in New Orleans, but no final decision has been made. The prop-makers have already started pre-production work for POTC 2 and 3, and their booth at the show featured a “really cool” pirate display. Thanks for the good news, Imengard! We can’t wait to see Captain Jack Sparrow sail the high seas again.

European, iconoclastic, and Bohemian–Johnny Depp's approach to fashion

Johnny Depp “avoids the traditional uniform adopted by Hollywood’s male elite,” writes Gaby Soutar in an article in the Scotsman on Johnny’s personal sense of fashion. “After six years in France his style is quite European and iconoclastic. Publicly he shuns Hollywood style – the porcelain veneers and diamond cufflinks of Cruise, Clooney et al are not for him.” Assessing Johnny’s attire for the Venice Film Festival press conference, Soutar comments, “The striped polo-shirt and white trousers [. . .]make him look preppy, but add a pair of scruffy shoes, a leather cuff and dog-tags, and he’s dressed-down in his own inimitable way.” Soutar also notices that, despite his preference for casual comfort, Johnny cleans up really well. When he opts for the black pinstriped Armani suit for the FINDING NEVERLAND screening, “He looks incredible and easily blows all the young pretenders out of the water.” What is Soutar’s final verdict on Johnny’s style? “The most important lesson we can learn from Depp is that individuality and personal style are of far more value than following transient trends.”

Thanks to DeepinDepp for posting Soutar’s article on the News forum. You can read all about it here.

Perhaps Johnny’s unique personal style is one reason he was voted one of the “Faces of the Week” by the BBC. Check out the full BBC story here. Thanks again to DeepinDepp and to foreverjohnnysgirl for sharing the story with the Zone.

New Johnny Depp interview: "I take roles because I fall in love with the character"

An article from Contact Music called “Depp’s Character Ambition” describes Johnny as more interested in being a character actor than a leading man. “The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN actor claims he became a star by accident and has always taken on roles because the characters interested him,” the article reports. “I never wanted to be a movie star,” Johnny declares. “I take roles because I fall in love with the character. It was never my goal to become a big box-office star.” Nor is he chasing a big paycheck: “It’s been tempting to accept a big paycheck, but I never saw the point of doing something that has been done thousands of times.” Thanks to Boo-Radley for posting the article on the News forum. You can read the entire article here .

"I still wonder if it's okay to be this happy:" Johnny Depp interviewed in Ms. London magazine

The September 27, 2004 issue of Ms. London magazine contains a fabulous new interview with Johnny Depp. The interviewer, Jan Janssen, persuades Johnny to speak at length about “the happy reversal in his previously dismal outlook on life” since he met Vanessa Paradis: “When I was 30, I wasn’t that convinced I would make it to 40,” Johnny confided, “but maybe I had to go through all the crap that had built up inside me to get to a point where I could start enjoying life. When I met Vanessa I was still drifting . But being with her has blown me away and made me a better man. Ten years ago I never would have believed in the kind of life I have now as a father, although I still wonder if it’s okay to be this happy.”

Johnny also discusses FINDING NEVERLAND, his unusual childhood, his love for music and his early experiences as a musician, and the connection between heavy drinking and an unhappy life full of “self-loathing.” About the paparazzi, Johnny says he now refuses to let them provoke him: “I’ve stopped playing into their hands. I`m just trying to be a boring family guy so there’s no value to taking my photo any more.” He also speaks at length about acting. “I still love the challenge of playing eccentrics,” Johnny admits. “I don’t see the point in playing the usual kind of leading men type roles.” Earlier in his career, acting was an escape mechanism: “Making films was always a refuge for me because I was totally focused on the work and not thinking about my own problems. Being with Vanessa and having children has made things very easy and clear for me.” Adds Johnny, “There`s nothing dark about my world anymore.”

A special Zone bouquet of lilies and roses to Mudge, who posted the entire interview on the Zone’s news forum. It is a joy to hear Johnny sound so content and joyous–thanks, Mudge!