Articles from August 2008

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp and the Kids perform at the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert in Florida

That’s Johnny Depp at the microphone onstage at the Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, Florida early (very early) this morning as he and his Kids bandmates–Bruce Witkin, Joey Malone, and Beano Hanti–rocked the house at the second annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert. A capacity crowd of 2,500 enjoyed sets from south Florida bands Charlie Pickett, Tight Squeeze, Slyder, and the Romantics; the Kids, closing the show, didn’t take the stage until 12:30 a.m. “Depp had no trouble handling his portion of the Kids’ springy, guitar-centered brand of power pop,” reports the Sun Sentinel, adding that Johnny “cut a fairly laid-back figure [. . .] and concentrated on his guitarwork through the screams coming from the packed floor.” Some of those screams came from the many Zoners in attendance; you can read some first-person accounts of last night’s concert on the Zone’s Pit forum (with many more to come as soon as the concert-goers can get home to their computers).

Johnny’s longtime partner Vanessa Paradis and their daughter Lily-Rose were present to cheer him on. reports that “Depp had two of his biggest fans in the audience watching him: girlfriend Vanessa Paradis and their 9-year-old daughter Lily-Rose, who sat together in the venue’s box seats as Depp smiled up at them from the stage (son Jack, 6, was not at the show).”

This weekend’s concerts (the Kids will close the show again tonight) are fundraisers for the Sheila Witkin Foundation and the Dan Marino Foundation. Our readers who would like to aid the cause can make a donation via Paypal to the Sheila Witkin Foundation at their website. The late Sheila Witkin, mother of Bruce, was a driving force in the south Florida music scene in the 1970s and 80s, and is fondly remembered for her tireless promotion of local bands and her nurturing nature; she was “everybody’s mom” and “a friend who would open her door to anyone at anytime,” as her Foundation website explains. The concerts carry Sheila Witkin’s kindness forward to the next generation by supporting childrens’ charities–a fitting tribute to a beloved mother and musical pioneer.

The Zone thanks Bonnie and Carasun for sharing photos of Johnny in concert: to see a larger version of our photo at left, CLICK HERE, and to see another photo of JD with his guitar, CLICK HERE. You can read much more about the Witkin concerts on the Zone’s News & Views forum and on the Pit. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–new picture of Johnny Depp in Florida with the Kids

Many thanks to Samantha for sharing this great new picture of Johnny Depp taken in Florida this week. Johnny is rehearsing with The Kids, preparing for the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts which will take place Friday and Saturday nights at the Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, Florida. The full photo shows Johnny’s bandmates, Beano Hanti, Bruce Witkin (son of Sheila), and Joey Malone, with Johnny and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino (in the center). Proceeds from the concerts will benefit the Dan Marino Foundation and the Sheila Witkin Foundation. To see the photo of the Kids with Dan Marino, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil chooses Jayson Rothwell to adapt THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS

Jayson Rothwell has been hired to adapt Gordon Dahlquist’s novel THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS for Warner Bros. and Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil, according to Borys Kit of the Hollywood Reporter. Dahlquist’s debut novel is a suspenseful intrigue set in Victorian London: “a big juicy epic that will appeal to [. . .] lovers of literary fantasy,” says Amazon, while Publishers Weekly sees echoes of Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre. You can read more about THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS on the Zone’s News & Views forum, and on this website. To read the Hollywood Reporter story, which focuses on several of Jayson Rothwell’s projects, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Theresa and Joni for sharing the news; THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS is a fascinating read. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp wins SyFy Genre Award as Best Movie Actor for SWEENEY TODD

Congratulations are in order once again as Johnny Depp picks up another award for his performance as the crazed barber in Tim Burton’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Johnny has been named Best Movie Actor in the 2008 SyFy Genre Awards; Best Movie Actress was Emma Watson for HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, which was also named Best Movie. The SyFy Genre Awards are conducted by the science fiction and fantasy website SyFy Portal; now in their ninth year, the SyFy Genre Awards allow fans to “honor the best of science fiction television, movies, books, comic books, and web productions for the year.” More than 50,000 ballots were cast this year.

Johnny Depp also won the SyFy Genre Award as Best Movie Actor in 2004 for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL. The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the good news; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp will play with The Kids at the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts next week!

It’s definite–Johnny Depp will once again join forces with The Kids to play concerts in honor of bandmate Bruce Witkin’s late mother; the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts will take place next Friday, August 29th and Saturday, August 30th, at the Club Cinema, 3251 Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, Florida. Although the lineup of bands varies from night to night, The Kids are scheduled to play both concerts. Johnny’s participation was mentioned by E! News on the Daily 10 on August 21st, and confirmed by JD himself when he called in to the Paul and Young Ron Morning show on 105.9FM this morning. His three bandmates–Bruce Witkin, Joey Malone, and Beano Hanti–were in the studio, while Johnny was still “across the puddle” in Europe, but all of The Kids sounded enthusiastic and very much looking forward to their gig.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster–get ’em while you can! Proceeds from the concerts benefit the Sheila Witkin Foundation and the Dan Marino Foundation. To hear the radio station podcast of Johnny Depp’s interview with The Kids, CLICK HERE and select “The Johnny Depp Interview.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Sharonc for breaking the news; you can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Historic Antony House in Cornwall chosen as location for Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND will film at historic Antony House near Torpoint in southeast Cornwall during two weeks in September. An early 18th century mansion set in parkland and fine gardens, Antony House (seen at left), a National Trust property, will be closed to the public from September 1, 2008 until October 14, 2008 to allow filming to take place, reports the Plymouth (U.K.) Herald. The house, its gardens, and the Woodland Garden are all likely to serve as locations. To see photos of this beautiful estate, CLICK HERE.

Rebecca Miller, National Trust house and visitor services manager for the property, told the Herald: “We are absolutely over the moon that Antony has been chosen as a location for Tim Burton’s new film ALICE IN WONDERLAND. One of the reasons it was chosen was because it’s a hidden gem,” Miller said. “It’s one of the Trust’s lesser known properties and they felt this fitted in very well with the feel of the film.”

Noting that the National Trust is happy to lend its sites to film and television crews whenever it’s feasible, Harvey Edgington, the National Trust’s broadcast media liaison officer, told the Herald that there is “a direct financial benefit” to the Trust from the Burton film. “[F]our out of five [National Trust] properties run at a loss every year due to conservation demands,” Edgington explained. “ALICE IN WONDERLAND will not only help raise funds for the ongoing conservation work needed at Antony, but will also contribute to the local economy by having the crew on location.” Not to mention all the future visitors who will tour Antony House to see where ALICE IN WONDERLAND was filmed, and will contribute to the local economy for years to come.

The Zone thanks Emma for the Herald story, and Anna for the photographs of Antony House. You can read more about Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS "a tough sell" in the U.S. market, says Hollywood Reporter

Terry Gilliam’s THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, currently in post-production, features Heath Ledger’s final (albeit unfinished) performance, plus the combined talents of Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law as alternate visions of Ledger’s character–yet the Hollywood Reporter says that the indie film may have trouble attracting a distributor in the United States. The film’s allegorical style and director Gilliam’s recent box-office record are a cause for concern. “For U.S. distributors, the quirky Terry Gilliam film–centering on parallel worlds, a theater troupe and a devil-dealing 1,000-year-old doctor–presents a conundrum,” writes HR’s Steven Zeitchik. “On the one hand, it’s a chance for the history-making opportunity–not to mention a marketing coup–of releasing Ledger’s last movie.” But distributors also remember that Gilliam’s last hit film was TWELVE MONKEYS in 1995, and that makes them wary.

“In this market, unless I have a reason to think a movie like this is going to be a slam dunk I’m not going to take a flyer on it, even with Heath Ledger,” one distribution executive told the Hollywood Reporter. Still, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, if not quite a “slam dunk,” has a lot to lure a U.S. distributor: the “prestige value” of distributing Heath Ledger’s final work, and the talented trio of Depp, Farrell and Law to assist with promotion. Notes Zeitchik, “The prospect of getting involved with three marketable stars makes for a relative bargain for a buyer, who might pay low-seven figures for domestic rights but get an eight-figure level of promotable talent.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read more about the marketing of DR. PARNASSUS on the Zone’s Porch forum. To read the Hollywood Reporter article, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Warner Bros. "pretty excited" by REX MUNDI script; now this Johnny Depp project needs a director

Two years ago, Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil purchased the rights to REX MUNDI, Arvid Nelson’s series of graphic novels about an alternate history in which the Catholic Church still reigns supreme because Martin Luther was assassinated before the Reformation could take place. Nelson’s story takes place in the 1930s, “in a world where the Inquisition still runs rampant, Europe is ruled by monarchs, but magic manages to exist.” Johnny Depp would play Dr. Julien Sauniere, who embarks on a dangerous investigation involving the disappearance of a medieval scroll. Murders ensue (of course), as Sauniere has to contend with secrets and conspiracies.

The challenge of producing a screenplay went to Jim Uhls, the screenwriter of FIGHT CLUB, who needed to change some details of REX MUNDI’s plot due to the long shadow of THE DA VINCI CODE. Arvid Nelson’s story also involved a search for the Holy Grail and a descendant of Jesus, and although it pre-dates THE DA VINCI CODE, the latter tale is so well-known now that REX MUNDI needed to make some changes.

Jennifer Vineyard of MTV spoke to one of REX MUNDI’s producers, Radical Publishing’s Barry Levine, about the film’s progress. “The second draft is now coming in from Jim,” Levine told MTV, “and Warner Bros. is pretty excited about it. They came up with a couple of names for directors, so now we just need Johnny to look at the list. It all begins and ends with Johnny,” Levine said. “He’s got to be happy with the script, and he gave his notes, so we’ll see what happens next.”

Johnny Depp was drawn to REX MUNDI because “Johnny has an interest in the Templar Knights,” Levine explained. “He loves that kind of research [. . .]. He’s not so much a comics guy as a story guy. If it’s a good story, it doesn’t matter.”

The Zone thanks Emma and Gilbert’s Girl for reports on REX MUNDI; you can read more about the project on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Author Brian Selznick says THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET "is in good hands"

Author Brian Selznick, whose THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is being brought to the screen by Graham King’s GK Films and Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil, recently told the School Library Journal that he is confident his award-winning book is “in good hands.” Chris Wedge, the director of ICE AGE and ROBOTS, will direct from a screenplay by John Logan, who wrote THE AVIATOR and the recent adaptation of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. HUGO CABRET, the story of a boy living alone in a Paris train station of the 1930s, will be Chris Wedge’s first live-action film.

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is a hot property–extremely popular and very well-reviewed–and so Selznick had many producers vying for the movie rights. He chose to award them to Grey Rembert, vice president of development at the Graham King’s GK Films, because, according to Selznick, Rembert was someone who understood the book and liked the book “very much and wanted to make a movie that’s true to the book.” No information about casting is available yet, although Selznick said that Warner Bros. is planning “a fall start date” for the production.

The Zone thanks Emma for the article; you can read it in its entirety on the Zone’s Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

Thousands of hopefuls queue in Plymouth for a chance to be extras in ALICE IN WONDERLAND

The photo at left shows a small fraction of the crowd that queued up in Plymouth, England for the chance to appear as extras in Disney’s new film of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic ALICE IN WONDERLAND, to be directed by Tim Burton (and rumored to include Johnny Depp in the cast as the Mad Hatter). According to the Plymouth Herald, more than 3,000 Plymothians stood in line on August 6th and 7th, hoping to be chosen; of these, more than 1,200 thespians made it through to further consideration. From this group, approximately 250 will be selected to appear in ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Those chosen will have two weeks of shooting, currently scheduled for the last two weeks in September at undisclosed locations around Plymouth.

Casting director Ilenka Jelowicki told the Plymouth Herald, “This is the biggest casting I’ve done–normally about 600 turn up, but today [August 6th, the first day] there has been over a thousand.” Her task grew even more complex on the second day, when twice as many would-be extras arrived. “It’s been amazing here,” Ms. Jelowicki said. “Everyone is so friendly, enthusiastic and very understanding.”

According to the Plymouth Herald, the first person in the queue, Andrew Lessiter, lined up at 2 a.m. and waited eight hours for the doors to open. “It was a very simple process,” said Lessiter. “About 100 people at a time went in and sat down, and were met by the casting director and the hair and make-up lady, who said yes or no. If it was ‘yes,’we went on to be photographed and measured, and were asked to fill in an application form. We were told we would be informed by phone within two weeks whether we had been chosen.”

An extra’s life is more tedium and discomfort than glamor–15-hour days with “a lot of waiting around” in heavy, uncomfortable Victorian costumes–but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of those who were chosen. “Three girls went crazy, jumping up and down, madly screaming when I said ‘yes,'” said Ilenka Jelowicki. “I felt like I was on X-factor.”

The Zone thanks Emma for the report; you can read more about the Plymouth casting calls on the Zone’s News & Views forum in the thread on ALICE IN WONDERLAND. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–the second annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Concert is scheduled for August 29th and 30th in Pompano Beach, Florida!

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp on stage playing guitar with The Kids during the first Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert in January 2007. Now comes the encore–a second annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert is scheduled to take place at the same venue, Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Friday night August 29th and Saturday August 30th. Woo hoo! Bands scheduled to play are Blank Tape, My Dolls, Charlie Pickett, Z-Cars, Slyder, Mad as Birds (featuring Debbie & Susan from The Cichlids), Critical Mass, The Reactions, Tight Squeeze, The Romantics, and The Kids. Tickets are $30.00 General Admission for one night or–a great deal for fans of the South Florida music scene–$50.00 General Admission for both nights. For more information and the band lineup each evening, CLICK HERE to go to the Sheila Witkin Foundation site.

Of course there is no guarantee that Johnny Depp will appear with his bandmates this time around–but this is a great cause in honor of a great lady, and a chance to hear a lot of rockin’ live music, so if you can get to Pompano Beach, you will be royally entertained. Please whoop it up for all of us who wish we could be there!

The Zone thanks Angelina for breaking the happy news and Emma for additional information about the concert. You can read more on the Zone’s Pit forum; keep checking back for additional concert information, as details on this one are breaking rapidly. –Part-Time Poet

A resurrection for THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE? Director Terry Gilliam hopes to "reshoot" his lost film

Among the many rumors circulating this week concerning Johnny Depp and possible film projects is one that suggests that Terry Gilliam’s catastrophically unlucky THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, whose brief and calamitous shoot in 2000 was chronicled in the excellent documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA, may get another chance at production. Alica-Azania Jarvis, writing in The Independent, spoke to Terry Gilliam about the most famous film he never made; she says the revival of THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE “could be closer than we think.”

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s on,” Terry Gilliam told her. “When Johnny’s ready, we’re ready. We’re just talking about dates to film. Basically it all depends on his schedule but otherwise we’re set.” Gilliam said, “It will be next year some time, before next summer anyway.” Gilliam recently won a long legal battle to have the rights to his script restored to him; however, Jarvis writes that the director “intends to start the project afresh.”

“We’re going to completely reshoot it,” Gilliam promised. “The intervening years have taught me that I can actually write a much better film. I’m so excited it’s going to get done at last.”

The Zone thanks Emma and Baxendale Guitar for sharing news stories on THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, and we wish Terry Gilliam all the best in his quixotic quest. –Part-Time Poet

Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND to shoot in Plymouth, England in September? That's the latest rumor . . . .

Here’s a huge surprise from the rumor mill–a report that Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND will be filming at several historic buildings in the English port city of Plymouth in September. Source for the rumor is a local casting call for 250 extras, with the auditions set for the New Continental Hotel in Plymouth on August 6th and 7th. Although casting director Ilenka Jelowicki will not confirm that the movie is in fact Burton’s ALICE, she does confirm that the film is “a Disney production set in Victorian England.” Reporter Amol Rajan, writing in The Independent, is less coy; “Burton discovers his WONDERLAND–in Plymouth,” writes Rajan.

Noting the upcoming auditions, Rajan reports that “casting director Ilenka Jelowicki said filming would take place for a fortnight in September in and around Plymouth,” and that “Burton has chosen the western city because of the ease with which it will accommodate his plans for a Victorian setting.” Although the only confirmed casting is that of the 18-year-old Australian Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp is rumored to be playing the Mad Hatter for his longtime friend and frequent collaborator. The September shooting dates are also a surprise, since press reports on Ms. Wasikowska’s casting listed a November start for the film. As always, time will tell . . . .

The Zone thanks Silent and Emma for breaking the audition news; you can follow the developing story on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Congratulations! Johnny Depp wins 2008 Teen Choice Award as Best Villain for SWEENEY TODD

Congratulations to Johnny Depp, whose majestic performance as Sweeney Todd in Tim Burton’s SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET claimed the 2008 Teen Choice Award as Choice Movie Villain. Other nominees in the category included Cate Blanchett for INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, Jeff Bridges for IRON MAN, Samuel L. Jackson for JUMPER, and Susan Sarandon for ENCHANTED–an extraordinarily talented group of actors. Johnny did not attend the awards ceremony.

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl for the news, and extends our heartiest congratulations to JD. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp to play The Riddler in next BATMAN film? Not likely–just an Internet rumor

The Internet has been buzzing recently with stories announcing that Johnny Depp will play The Riddler in the next BATMAN installment, but those rumors are without foundation. At this point, no one can even be sure that The Riddler will appear in the third film, and there’s no reason to think that JD has been approached for a role that does not yet exist. These rumors are just someone’s wishful thinking, as Peter Sciretta of explains: “Wouldn’t Johnny Depp make a great Riddler? Yeah, BUT the truth of the matter is that Christopher Nolan has not yet signed on for a third BATMAN film. His brother and screenwriter Jonathan Nolan is supposedly still on the set doing work for TERMINATOR SALVATION. And who knows what David Goyer is up to. Even if he is busy penning a treatment, which is doubtful, I’m confident that casting talks won’t take place for quite some time. Nolan is also the type of guy to cast a role only when he has a script in hand. So I’m sure we won’t hear any casting announcements any time soon.”

Furthermore, adds Sciretta, there’s no assurance that the villain in the next film will even be The Riddler. “[R]emember, Goyer and Nolan told us that with 70 years of Batman history, they are more interested in some of the ‘dozens if not hundreds of other characters’ that ‘had not been in the movies before, and had not been in the sixties TV show before.’ My guess is that the villain might not be anyone we expect.” That would seem to be a wise move, to do something totally fresh and unexpected, since any movie that follows THE DARK KNIGHT will have big shoes to fill. Meanwhile, moviegoers who are eager to see Johnny Depp and Christian Bale onscreen together can watch for PUBLIC ENEMIES next July.

The Zone thanks Alex for posting the original Riddler rumor and Emma for the Peter Sciretta interview. You can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp visits Dublin for Tom Waits concert on July 31st

That’s Johnny Depp exiting the tony Clarence Hotel (owned by Bono and the Edge of U2) in Dublin at 3 a.m. on the rainy morning of August 1st; Johnny was accompanied by his partner Vanessa Paradis and bodyguard Jerry Judge, a Dublin native. Earlier on Thursday evening, July 31st, they had attended the Tom Waits concert at the Ratcellar in the Phoenix Park; then Johnny and Vanessa joined Tom Waits and his family at the Clarence for some post-concert conviviality. Tom Waits and JD recently worked together in Terry Gilliam’s THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS; in the film, Mr. Waits plays an incarnation of the devil called “Mr. Nick.” Waits also performs on the forthcoming ROGUE’S GALLERY CD of pirate and sea songs (Volume 2).

The Zone thanks Marijose, Evochka, Bonnie, and AnaMaria for the Dublin picture and Emma for the news report on the Tom Waits concert. To see a larger picture of Johnny Depp, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet