Articles from April 2008

Marion Cotillard researches her PUBLIC ENEMIES role on Menominee Indian Reservation

Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard is taking her latest role–as John Dillinger’s girlfriend Billie Frechette in PUBLIC ENEMIES–to heart; Cotillard recently visited the Menominee Indian Reservation, where Billie Frechette grew up, to gain insight into her character by discussing Billie’s life with tribal elders. “She was born and raised here,” explains David Grignon, director of the Menominee tribal historic preservation office. “A lot of elders still know stories of Billie and Dillinger. They still talk about it.” After meeting in a Chicago dance hall in 1933, Billie Frechette and John Dillinger traveled together for six months, until Frechette’s arrest in 1934. She spent two years in prison and later wrote about their life on the run. To see a larger version of our photo of Marion Cotillard greeting Johnny Depp on the PUBLIC ENEMIES set, click here.

Rebecca Alegria, researcher/planner for the tribe’s historic preservation office, told Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Mike Hoecht that Cotillard “wanted to know more about her character, what the reservation looked like and what it was like to grow up there.” Ron Corn Jr., who teaches the Menominee language at the tribal high school and whose maternal grandmother is a Frechette, told Hoecht that Cotillard asked about the French names: “She seemed genuinely interested in learning her character.” PUBLIC ENEMIES’ publicist David Fulton told Hoecht that Cotillard’s visit was part of her research: “This is an example of giving actors as much information as possible to get inside their characters.” To see a photo of Marion Cotillard during her visit to the Menominee Indian Reservation, click here, and to read Mike Hoecht’s article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, click here.

The Zone thanks Emma for the Marion Cotillard story; you can read more about it on the Porch. –Part-Time Poet

No PUBLIC ENEMIES filming in Columbus or Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on Monday. April 28th

Johnny Depp and his PUBLIC ENEMIES castmates won’t be rolling back into Wisconsin on Monday, April 28th, despite previously announced plans to film at the Hotel Rogers in Beaver Dam on Monday morning and on James Street in Columbus, Wisconsin on Monday afternoon. PUBLIC ENEMIES location scout Adam Boor told the Wisconsin media that “a scheduling conflict” caused the postponement. PUBLIC ENEMIES still plans to film in Beaver Dam and Columbus at some point; Boor told the press that filming “will likely take place the week of May 5th and 6th,” but nothing has been confirmed. The studio has been planning on wrapping up the Wisconsin portion of the PUBLIC ENEMIES shoot by May 8th, but that is no longer certain.

The Zone thanks Theresa and Emma for the news; you can read more about PUBLIC ENEMIES scheduling on the News & Views forum. To see a larger view of our photo, click here; it shows Michael Mann directing Johnny Depp during a bank robbery scene in Oshkosh.–Part-Time Poet

"I just act scared:" a PUBLIC ENEMIES extra talks about filming the shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge

The lady on the left is Meghan Mosher, one of the Lucky Seven–the seven extras chosen by director Michael Mann to play patrons at the Little Bohemia Lodge during the scene in which John Dillinger and his gang are ambushed by the FBI. Since the Little Bo shoot has been on a closed set, Ms. Mosher’s interview with Rick LaFrombois of the Wausau Daily Herald gives a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes–although Mosher didn’t see much of the action, since her role required her to dive to the floor and lay face down and motionless while a shootout raged around her. In fact, she lay motionless for three hours, no easy feat when glass is exploding and bullets are strafing the walls.

Although Meghan Mosher’s co-workers at Camp Manito-wish have started calling her “Hollywood,” the recent UW-Madison graduate is planning a career in environmental or experiential education; she’ll leave the acting to others. LaFrombois notes that Mosher went to the casting call for extras “on a whim”–her only previous acting experience consisted of “playing Sherlock Holmes in sixth grade.” Now she’s filming a scene with Johnny Depp. “I have a pretty easy role, I just act scared,” Mosher said. “That was easy to do when the room was exploding around me.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the story; you can read the entire article on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

On the anniversary of Dillinger's escape, PUBLIC ENEMIES recreates the scene in Manitowish Waters

Art imitates life . . . the famed shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, in which John Dillinger narrowly escaped an FBI ambush on April 22, 1934, was recreated on its anniversary by the cast and crew of Michael Mann’s film PUBLIC ENEMIES, in the actual bullet-scarred setting in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Johnny Depp and Stephen Graham, playing bank robbers John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson, faced off against Christian Bale, playing FBI nemesis Melvin Purvis, on a closed set at Little Bo. Throngs of curious fans gathered around the highway, hoping to get a glimpse of the actors, or perhaps the ghost of the movie-loving Dillinger himself, but tight security kept onlookers off the 11-acre property at Little Star Lake.

Little Bohemia Lodge has been closed for several weeks as crews from Universal Studios worked on restoring the lodge to its 1930s appearance. According to lodge owner Dan Johns, the crews had to move the bar, stain the outer log walls back to their original dark tone, remove trees and build new gravel roads. PUBLIC ENEMIES publicist Dave Fulton explains that director Michael Mann is a stickler for historical accuracy. “The farther you go back (in history), the more unique it is to use the real places,” says Fulton. Little Bo is as real as it gets; the walls of the lodge still bear hundreds of bullet holes, souvenirs left behind by the FBI.

The Zone thanks Emma for posting many news stories about the filming at Manitowish Waters. You can read them on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES director Michael Mann thanks Wisconsin

Michael Mann, director of PUBLIC ENEMIES, met with Wisconsin Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton and Oshkosh city officials after the completion of filming there, and went on the record with his gratitude to the Badger State. Mr. Mann released the following statement, reported by film critic Duane Dudek in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “It’s been several years since I have been back to Wisconsin for work or personal reasons, and I have to say that this trip reminds me how much I miss my roots here in the Midwest.

“First, I want to thank the Governor, Lt. Governor and the people of the state of Wisconsin for the support that they have shown our production of PUBLIC ENEMIES. Each of the local communities where we have filmed has been extremely cooperative and have been an integral part of bringing this story to the screen.

“In addition, I want to reiterate my enthusiasm for Wisconsin’s decision to institute the tax credit bill for filmmakers. There is no question that these tax credits enticed me to bring PUBLIC ENEMIES to film in Wisconsin in the first place. We’ve had a great experience filming in Wisconsin and, on behalf of everyone connected with the film, I thank you.”

To see a photo of Michael Mann in action, directing Johnny Depp on the set of PUBLIC ENEMIES, click here. The Zone thanks Inspired for posting the Michael Mann story; you can read it in full on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Casting update–Emilie de Ravin joins PUBLIC ENEMIES

Emilie de Ravin is best known for her long-running role as Claire Littleton in the television series LOST, but she has spent the week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, being taken hostage by Johnny Depp . . . nice work if you can get it. Ms. de Ravin has joined the cast of Michael Mann’s gangster epic PUBLIC ENEMIES; she plays a woman taken hostage during one of John Dillinger’s bank robberies. The Dillinger gang would use hostages as human shields, placing them on the running boards of their getaway car so the police wouldn’t shoot as they drove away. To see a larger version of the photo at left–one that includes Johnny Depp as John Dillinger–click here. The photo appeared in USA Today; the Zone thanks Emma for sharing it. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp greets fans while shooting PUBLIC ENEMIES in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

A long day on the set of PUBLIC ENEMIES did not deter Johnny Depp from coming out to visit the fans who thronged to Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Monday, hoping for a chance to meet the actor. “No one expected it, but Monday night Johnny Depp took time out from filming the movie PUBLIC ENEMIES in Oshkosh to meet hundreds of fans personally,” reports Jason Zimmerman of the Green Bay television station WBAY. “It was an event most people here will never forget.”

Johnny spent about 30 minutes greeting well-wishers, walking up and down a city block and shaking hands. He did not sign any autographs, but he did take time to converse. “I told him he’s a class act and God bless him and his family, and he turned around and came back, lowered his glasses, and says, ‘God bless you, I love you,'” Mary Ann Falsetta told reporter Zimmerman. “It was awesome.” Added Lauren Seckar, “I was not expecting this at all. This was a total surprise. [. . .] it was amazing. I never expected to meet him. I’ve been waiting for this as long as I can remember.” To see a photo of Johnny Depp shaking hands in Oshkosh, click here, and to read Jason Zimmerman’s report, click here.

Several Zoners are in Oshkosh and saw Johnny Depp last night; you can read about their adventures on the Porch forum in the thread called “Reporting from Oshkosh.” The Zone thanks everyone who has posted accounts and pictures from the filming, and special thanks to Emma for her intrepid reporting of PUBLIC ENEMIES news. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp to voice character for "Spongebob Squarepants" episode

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and has Johnny Depp coming to visit in the not-too-distant future? That’s right . . . Johnny Depp will lend his voice to an upcoming episode of the Nickelodeon animated series “Spongebob Squarepants.” Voice Director Andrea Romano revealed the news in an interview with ANIMATION WORLD Magazine. She was asked to disclose some of the “biggest surprises” she’s had, in terms of actors who have agreed to do voiceover work. Here’s her reply:

ANDREA ROMANO: [F]or Nickelodeon, I [. . .] also do Spongebob Squarepants, and because Spongebob is such an enormous hit, many actors actually approach us, wanting to do it because . . . well, a lot of actors, the work that they do on-camera, in films, their children can’t watch. Maybe they’re R-rated movies, or just movies that aren’t appropriate for small children . . . . But they’ll call us up and say, “My kid is a huge fan of Spongebob Squarepants.” David Bowie called and asked if he could be part of Spongebob Squarepants; Gene Simmons from KISS, and his significant other, Shannon Tweed, they came in and did some guest roles. [. . .] I’m actually scheduled to record Johnny Depp in a couple of weeks. Those are all surprises, and those are all people who came to us.

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read the entire interview with Andrea Romano on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Announcing six new additions to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archives!

The Zone is happy to announce that we’ve added six selections to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive. Among the older articles, Stephen Rebello’s 1993 interview in Sky Magazine catches the young JD in a liminal moment, when BENNY & JOON, WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE and ARIZONA DREAM have been finished but are yet to be seen; a controversial 1998 profile for Icon captures JD just as FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS is about to hit theaters; and a March 2001 interview by J. Sperling Reich, part of the promotion for BLOW, contains Johnny’s reflections on portraying George Jung.

We have also added three outstanding interviews from the recent promotion for SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET: Steve Daly’s Q&A with Johnny Depp from Entertainment Weekly; Glenn Whipp’s dual interview of JD and Tim Burton for the Los Angeles Daily News; and Mark Salisbury’s January 2008 article from the Los Angeles Times. The Zone thanks In-too-Depp, Part-Time Poet, Theresa, Marijose, and Emma for donating articles to the archives, and to Theresa and Joni for transcription and editing.

To visit the JDZ Interview Archive, press the JDZ ARCHIVES button above, or click here: Links to the new additions appear at the bottom of the Interview Archive home page. –Part-Time Poet

After midnight? Raining? No problem–Johnny Depp greets well-wishers in Aurora, Illinois

The fans waited outside the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois until midnight, hoping for a chance to see Johnny Depp for just a few seconds . . . and, incredibly, they got their wish. Despite filming that ran far later than expected, and a private jet waiting at the airport to take him back to Los Angeles for his son’s sixth birthday (Wednesday, April 9–Happy Birthday, Jack!), Johnny Depp did not leave Aurora until he greeted the loyal well-wishers who had stood for many hours in the cold and rain. Wow.

Here’s how Andre Salles described the scene in the Beacon News: “If patience is a virtue, then hundreds of the most virtuous people you’d ever want to meet crowded the steps of North Island Center in downtown Aurora Monday night, waiting long hours to meet actor Johnny Depp. And just after midnight on Tuesday morning, their patience was rewarded. [. . .] At about 12:05 a.m., Depp made his way out of the theater, surrounded by Aurora police and Paramount security personnel. And he spent the next 25 minutes shaking hands, giving hugs and talking to as many people as he could.”

Adds Salles, “It began raining just as Depp started making the rounds, moving west along Galena Boulevard and spending extra time with fans who had waited all day to meet him. Some, in fact, had waited more than one day–hopeful Depp watchers began arriving at the Paramount as early as Saturday, and dozens of them camped out all day Sunday. The scene was one of controlled chaos, as people positioned themselves to get the best view, or snap a clear picture. Excited screams filled the night air, and many had tears in their eyes as they came away from their brief encounter with Depp.” As the photo shows, neither cold nor rain nor gloom of night could chase the smile from Johnny’s face as he said hello to the Aurora crowd; to see a larger version of the photo, click here: Click for picture. That’s the marquee of the Paramount Theatre lit up behind JD and security chief Jerry Judge.

Many Zoners were in Aurora, frozen to the bone but otherwise euphoric; if you visit the Zone’s Porch forum, you can read eloquent, uplifting accounts of their meetings with JD. The Zone thanks Emma for the story from the Beacon News and Carasun for the meet-and-greet photo, which was contributed by an anonymous friend on myspace. Many thanks to her or him as well! –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES films in Aurora; devoted fans wait and hope for a Depp sighting

That dashing gentleman in a suit and tie is Johnny Depp, in costume for his role as John Dillinger in PUBLIC ENEMIES, standing in front of his trailer at base camp in Aurora, Illinois; the photo is fuzzy because it was taken at a great distance and through a chain-link fence. Most fans who have descended upon the streets around the Paramount Theatre in Aurora have had to content themselves so far with very brief glimpses of SUVs whizzing by and occasional theater doors opening. Still, with filming only occurring for one day, many are determined to wait and see all they can–a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Andre Salles of the Beacon News reports that “legions of fans gathered outside, hoping for a glance, a wave or a handshake from Depp. Some arrived as early as 3 a.m. [. . .]. A bitter chill settled in early, and the masses bundled up, most refusing to move from the spots they had claimed.” The crowd quickly grew to more than a thousand, “all crammed behind barricades on Galena Boulevard, waiting for a chance to meet Johnny Depp. And as of 11 p.m.,” says Salles, “they were still waiting.”

Extra Jeff Zak told Salles what was happening inside the theater. “They’ve been doing this one five-minute scene, where we’re sitting in the theater,” Zak said. “Depp is sitting two rows behind me.” When a newsreel about Dillinger shows up as part of the entertainment, the unwilling star of the segment “tries to slink out of the theater.” Zak told the Beacon News that Johnny Depp “was personable and talkative on Monday,” and that he was able to speak with Johnny a couple of times. Those waiting outside continued to hope for the same good fortune . . . .

The Zone thanks Bonnie and AnaMaria for the photograph from Aurora and Emma for the report from the Beacon News, as well as many other stories from the PUBLIC ENEMIES filming. You can read the articles on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES filming shifts to the Paramount Theater, Aurora, Illinois–briefly

Filming on Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp as 1930s bank robber John Dillinger, now shifts to the Art Deco Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois (pictured at left); the Paramount’s executive director Diana Martinez told the press that her theatre had been rented for a two-day period beginning Sunday, April 6th. Ms. Martinez expects the first day to consist of preparation for the shoot, with Johnny Depp arriving to film an interior scene on Monday, April 7th. For those hoping to catch a glimpse of Johnny, be warned that such glimpses could be limited to watching him alight from a car and disappear inside the theater; no road closures have been requested, according to Ms. Martinez, which means there will be no exterior filming.

Ms. Martinez theorizes that it was the Paramount’s “historic look [. . .] and the accuracy for the period” that attracted Michael Mann to her theater. “They even fired up the old 35 mm film projector to see what it looks like; they were impressed with how it looks,” she told a reporter from the Batavia (Illinois) Republican. “They just came here for a location,” added Ms. Martinez. “The bonus is that Dillinger actually lived here in Aurora. [A Paramount staffer’s] grandpa used to cut his grass.”

The Zone thanks emma for the report–you can follow developments in Aurora on the News & Views forum; reports from Zoners going to observe the filming will be posted on the Porch. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES continues shooting in Chicago; Johnny Depp greets fans

That’s a new photo of Johnny Depp emerging from his trailer on the set of PUBLIC ENEMIES in Chicago on the morning of April 5th, following a full night of shooting. Amazingly enough, Johnny was kind enough to greet the fans who waited all night to see him. The photo was taken by a devoted Depphead with the screen name “Girl Least Likely To,” who posted her pictures on Flickr with the following account: “We waited from 11PM until 9:15AM for this brief but memorable moment. Just a handful of fans made it through the night. I think that is why we were all escorted to the back of the set to get his autograph. We had NO idea he was coming out to take one individual photo with each of us. He’s really a kind and gentle person.” You can see the fortunate fan’s photos and read more about her experience here: ttp://
To see a larger version of our headshot, click here: The Zone thanks Girl Least Likely To for sharing her photos and the story of her meeting with Johnny Depp; thanks also to Carasun for bringing her story to us. –Part-Time Poet

PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp, shooting night scenes in Chicago

That’s a new photo of Johnny Depp playing desperado John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES, currently shooting on location in Chicago. The photo shows JD driving a getaway car in the dead of night down a Chicago street restored to 1930s ambience with faux cobblestones and vintage streetlights. To see a larger version of the photo, click here:

Here’s what a blogger in the Lakeview area posted on April 2nd: “Right now, they’re shooting right next to where I live in the Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago. In fact, they created a shanty town right next to my building in the grassy area (well, it WAS covered with grass till now) underneath the CTA elevated train tracks. They started in earnest yesterday, and will shoot through tonight. All the scenes are being shot at night. What is more interesting, however, is how they’ve converted a large portion of the block to look like Chicago in the 1930’s. They have laid down a cover on the street to make it look like it is made of cobble stones. They replaced the street lamps with old-fashioned, gas-lamp lookalikes, and they’ve put several vintage cars on the street. They are also having old train cars to run on one of the train tracks on the elevated tracks. No wonder these movies cost an arm and a leg!” Many thanks to ZapperZ for the eyewitness report; you can read more details and see photos of the setting on the blog here:

The Zone thanks vermontfudge for posting the blog entry on the News & Views forum, and Bonnie and AnaMaria for the photos of Johnny driving. Here’s a video of some of the Chicago filming posted by Chicago website; thanks to vermontfudge for finding this: –Part-Time Poet

Billy Crudup to portray J. Edgar Hoover in PUBLIC ENEMIES

According to Michael Fleming of Variety, Billy Crudup has signed to play J. Edgar Hoover in Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES, currently shooting in Chicago; the Zone’s many Tim Burton fans will remember Mr. Crudup’s performance as Will Bloom in BIG FISH, opposite Marion Cotillard. Director Mann has also cast Stephen Lang in the role of Winstead, the leader of the Texas Rangers who joins the manhunt for John Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp) and his gang of bank robbers. Mann and Lang have worked together several times; Lang was a regular on Mann’s TV series CRIME STORY, and appeared in MANHUNTER and BAND OF THE HAND. Congratulations to both actors; we’re looking forward to seeing how the PUBLIC ENEMIES’ makeup team manages to transform the handsome Mr. Crudup into the not-handsome Mr. Hoover. That’s quite a challenge!

The Zone thanks vermontfudge for breaking the story; you can read more about it on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Red-letter day–SWEENEY TODD released on DVD in region 1

Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, winner of this year’s Golden Globe for Best Musical, arrives on DVD in region 1 today . . . and that’s no April Fool’s joke, thank goodness. Deppheads can now add Johnny Depp’s Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance as Stephen Sondheim’s tormented barber to their Depp DVD shelf. SWEENEY TODD is being released in two versions, a single-disc that includes the film and a half-hour feature called “Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd,” which describes the trio’s collaboration and their longtime interest in the Sondheim musical. The two-disc version (highly recommended, of course) includes a fine collection of featurettes that cover specific elements of the SWEENEY production, as well as the background of the Sweeney Todd story. Also included (and certain to be fan favorites) are a couple of gems from the SWEENEY TODD promotion: the often-hilarious London press conference, and the Moviefone Unscripted interview where Tim Burton and Johnny Depp answer questions sent in by the public. The Moviefone Unscripted feature is particularly dear to our hearts on the Zone, because Johnny Depp has such kind words for his fan sites–thanks, JD!

Alas, there is no commentary track on either version; otherwise, SWEENEY TODD approaches perfection. The Zone thanks emma for posting several reviews of the DVD on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet