Hollywood rumor–Johnny Depp to replace Brad Pitt in Universal's STATE OF PLAY?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal is “looking at” Johnny Depp to replace Brad Pitt in the political thriller STATE OF PLAY. Pitt pulled out of Kevin Macdonald’s film, which was scheduled to begin production on November 15th, citing “script concerns” (the script cannot be worked on because of the Writers Guild of America strike). Johnny is now available to shoot a film in the winter due to the recent postponement of Mira Nair’s SHANTARAM.

STATE OF PLAY is based on an award-winning British miniseries and has a top-notch cast lined up and ready to film, including Oscar-winner Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Robin Wright Penn; however, Universal must act quickly to replace Pitt–according to Variety, by November 29th–or it will begin to lose its cast to other projects. The Pitt character is a journalist (formerly a top political consultant) who heads a newspaper’s murder investigation involving a fast-rising politician (Norton). Other actors rumored to be under consideration for the role include Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks.

The Zone thanks Donna B. for breaking the story and Gilbert’s Girl for the Variety article; you can read both of them in their entirety on the Zone’s News & Views forum. We wish Universal and Kevin Macdonald good luck in finding their new leading man; so many fine projects have already been deferred by the strike that we would hate to see STATE OF PLAY vanish, too. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Premiere for SWEENEY TODD to be held in New York City on December 3rd!

Circle Monday, December 3rd on your calendar in red . . . because that’s when the long-awaited premiere of Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, starring Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as his confederate Mrs. Lovett, will take place! Honoring SWEENEY TODD’s Broadway roots–the film is a faithful adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-Award-winning musical–the premiere is scheduled to occur in New York City at the Zeigfeld Theatre, at 8 pm.

If you are interested in attending the premiere–the movie only; the afterparty is not included–there is currently a charity auction in progress on Ebay for two tickets to the SWEENEY TODD premiere in New York. 100% of the auction proceeds will benefit Variety’s Kids Charity; bidding ends on November 28th at noon Pacific time. If you want to be tempted into bidding your entire holiday budget and then some, click here to see the Ebay listing: http://tinyurl.com/2xnnqr but buyer beware–the urge to type in a really large number will be all but irresistible. Well, it is for a good cause!

The Zone thanks emma for posting the Ebay listing, and Theresa and FANtasticJD for breaking the first story about a possible New York premiere for SWEENEY TODD. We’re counting the days! –Part-Time Poet