Articles from October 2008

"I think he is superb"–veteran actor David Kelly praises Johnny Depp

Irish actor David Kelly recently singled out Johnny Depp as “the actor he most enjoyed working with throughout his entire career”–and since Mr. Kelly has been performing for more than 50 years, that covers some territory. David Kelly played Charlie Bucket’s Grandpa Joe in Tim Burton’s 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Johnny Depp is a marvellous creative artist,” Kelly told a reporter from University College Dublin’s The Siren. “You can sit in a room watching him and even at my great age, you learn something new. I think he is superb.”

Added Kelly, “I would put Johnny in the same league as my favourite actor of all time and that was Spencer Tracy, who was the greatest actor who ever lived . . . although I’ve never seen all the actors who have ever lived, of course, but he was definitely up there.” High praise indeed!

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the David Kelly tidbit; you can read more on the Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

Casting news–Crispin Glover and Alan Rickman sign on for Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND

The talent roster for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland keeps getting more and more impressive: Crispin Glover has signed on to play the Knave of Hearts, who is put on trial for stealing the tarts hand-baked by the Queen of Hearts, while Alan Rickman will bring his languid air and silky, sinister voice to the role of the hookah-smoking Caterpillar. Rickman previously played Judge Turpin in Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; this will be Glover’s first appearance in a Tim Burton film. They join Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Matt Lucas (Tweedledum and Tweedledee), and Michael Sheen.

Reporter Simon Reynolds tells Digital Spy that the legendary Christopher Lee, who appeared in Sleepy Hollow and played Willy Wonka’s dentist father in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has “taken an undisclosed role” in Alice in Wonderland, while UK actress Eleanor Tomlinson will appear as Fiona Chataway, “a friend of Alice created specifically for the Burton adaptation,” says Reynolds. The Zone thanks Jasper, Gilbert’s Girl, Emma and Theresa for the latest casting news; you can read more details in the “All Things Alice” thread on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Music news–Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis to perform on his next album, says Glenn Tilbrook

Interviewed in Nottingham prior to a concert, Glenn Tilbrook, who shot to fame as a member of Squeeze in the late 1970s and is currently touring the UK and Ireland as a solo artist backed by the Fluffers, spoke with great enthusiasm about the new album he is preparing. “Over the last two weeks I’ve been mixing my new record and I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” Tilbrook declared. “I was approached by record producer Bob Clearmountain who said he wanted to mix my next record. Not only that but he’s waiving his normal fee. That really is a highlight for me! And it’s got Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis playing on it.” The album, called Pandemonium Ensues, is due for release in February 2009. While we’re waiting, Tilbrook has one-minutes samples of the new songs available on his website HERE.

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

Zac Efron denies rumors that he will appear in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4

With the buzz of publicity around this weekend’s big screen debut of Disney’s High School Musical 3, there has also been plenty of Internet speculation that HSM‘s leading man (and tween idol) Zac Efron was destined to move from one big Disney franchise to an even bigger one–namely, that he would be coming aboard the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. However, in an interview with Ryan Seacrest on Seacrest’s radio show on Wednesday, Efron denied those rumors . . . although rather wistfully; it’s clear that he would love to ship out on the Black Pearl if he ever got the opportunity, but he hasn’t been invited. “Honestly, at this time it’s just a rumor,” Efron told Seacrest. “I wish I was going to be in Pirates of the Caribbean 4, so hopefully that will happen for me.” I guess every young man wants to be a pirate . . . .

The Efron article is on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Anne Hathaway "so excited" to join the cast of Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND: "Everyone is so lovely and creative"

In London for the premiere of her film Rachel Getting Married, Anne Hathaway spoke to the press about her next project, playing the White Queen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. “I haven’t started yet,” the actress explained. “But they’ve started filming, [and]the movie looks so amazing!” Hathaway is delighted to be included in Burton’s ensemble: “I’m such a fan of his, I’m such a fan of Alice in Wonderland, the whole cast and characters that he has, everyone is so lovely and creative. And it’s just, you know, when you go to work with a director like Tim Burton or Johnathan Demme, you’re just being invited to someone else’s sandbox, it’s their rules and you just get to play along with them, so I’m just so excited.”

Hathaway is thrilled to be in a cast with Johnny Depp. When a reporter from People Magazine asked if she was “excited to work with Depp,” Hathaway replied, “Uh, yeah, ya think?” She added, “I hope I don’t faint. I’m wearing a corset which is difficult enough, but then to have to wear a corset and be short-breathed around Johnny Depp? [. . .] It might be my hardest role to date–to keep my cool.”

The 25-year-old actress confided that her friends are bombarding her with requests to visit her on the Alice set. “I have so many people coming out of the woodwork who really have never wanted to visit me on the set before who just want to kind of come and hang out,” she told People. “Everyone just wants to meet Johnny.” Uh, yeah, ya think?

The Zone thanks Emma for the news from London; you can read more on the Alice in Wonderland thread on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Nice hat! Johnny Depp to be inducted into the Headwear Hall of Fame

Yet another well-deserved honor came Johnny Depp’s way this week as he was selected to be one of the first inductees into the newly-inaugurated Headwear Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a project created by industry leaders to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Headwear Association, and its purpose is “to recognize the positive influence of famous hat wearers on headwear fashion.” The first inductees–three men and three women–were chosen by the membership for “their impact on the evolution of hat wearing and fashion,” and they represent both the present day and past trendsetters. The first six inductees of the Headwear Hall of Fame are: Jackie Kennedy, Johnny Depp, Madonna, Princess Diana, Samuel L. Jackson and football coach Vince Lombardi.

To be considered for the Headwear Hall of Fame, nominees had to be known “to wear hats in their personal lives” and not simply as part of their work–for example, portraying a character on television, stage or in a movie. “The Headwear Association chose these trend setters as our first inductees into the Headwear Hall of Fame because they support the proactive and fashionable wearing of hats,” said Bob Broner, president of The Headwear Association. “Whether a star in politics, sports or in the movies, these celebrities have served as unofficial hat ambassadors showcasing popular hats of their time.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read more about the Headwear Hall of Fame on the Pit forum. Winners will be formally inducted into the Headwear Hall of Fame during The Headwear Association’s annual gala dinner on Thursday, March 19, 2009, at Tavern on the Green in New York City. –Part-Time Poet

Cheers all around–SWEENEY TODD, Johnny Depp and Tim Burton win Scream Awards

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street won the 2008 Scream Award (bestowed by Spike TV) for Best Horror Film, and Johnny Depp won Best Actor in a Horror Film for his portrayal of the homicidal barber. Sweeney Todd’s director, Tim Burton, was honored with the Immortal Award for his body of work: according to the awards committee, Tim Burton has “contributed more to the genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror than any other filmmaker of his generation.” Wow! Congratulations!

The photo at left shows Burton, in his customary black, making his acceptance speech after arriving at the ceremony in a hot-air balloon. (He received his award from Winona Ryder; Johnny Depp did not attend the Scream Awards, which were taped on Saturday, October 18 and aired on Tuesday, October 21.) It is unusual for Burton to venture out to awards ceremonies: “I don’t do it very often so it’s not something I’m very used to,” he confessed to Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times last week. “I’m not comfortable in big public situations, but at the same time it’s a very nice thing. It’s a very nice thing to do.”

Still, Burton’s favorite form of recognition remains “the people that come up to you on the streets, the people that say something to you in person, something nice and thoughtful, that’s so much more interesting than connecting with a sort of staged event.” He explains, “[W]hen someone comes up to me on the street and they have one of my drawings as a tattoo on their body, a real tattoo . . . I mean, that’s pretty amazing. That’s happened to me a few times.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for breaking the news; you can read more about the Scream Awards on the News & Views forum. Tim Burton’s interview with the Los Angeles Times is on the Porch forum; thanks to Theresa for posting it. –Part-Time Poet

"I think he's amazing"–Josh Brolin speaks about Johnny Depp

With the release of Oliver Stone’s latest film W, actor Josh Brolin (who plays George W. Bush) had reason to reminisce with The Independent’s Craig McLean about the early days of his career, when he and an actor named Johnny Depp were both under consideration for the role of Officer Tom Hanson in the TV series 21 Jump Street. “Back then,” writes McLean, “waiting for The Call, Brolin remembers that Depp had just returned to the US after filming a small role in a movie about Vietnam. . . . The film was Platoon, the director Oliver Stone, himself a Vietnam veteran. Both film and film-maker would win Oscars.” Brolin was agog: “I was like, ‘Oliver Stone! . . . I can’t imagine working with Oliver Stone! How great would that be?'”

Now, twenty years later, Brolin can answer that question from personal experience. But he retains his admiration for Johnny Depp. “Can you imagine Johnny’s life?” Brolin asked the reporter rhetorically. “I love him, man. I have so much respect for that guy. I think he’s amazing. His choices! He’s it!”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Brolin interview; you can read more of it on the Porch forum, or for the entire interview, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Making ALICE IN WONDERLAND "engaging"–Tim Burton talks to the LA Times about his latest film and Johnny Depp

In an interview with Geoff Boucher published in the Los Angeles Times, Tim Burton describes his vision for his new 3-D film version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “The story is obviously a classic with iconic images and ideas and thoughts. But with all the movie versions, well, I’ve just never seen one that really had any impact to me. It’s always just a series of weird events. Every character is strange and she’s just kind of wandering through all of the encounters as just a sort of observer,” Burton explains. “The goal is to try to make it an engaging movie where you get some of the psychology and kind of bring a freshness but also keep the classic nature of Alice. And, you know, getting to do it in 3-D fits the material quite well. So I’m excited about making it a new version but also have the elements that people expect when they think of the material.”

Writing that Johnny Depp “is an inspired choice to play the Mad Hatter,” Boucher asks Burton if it was easy “to persuade Depp to conjure up yet another enigmatic oddball.” (Notice that it is the reporter, and not Tim Burton himself, who uses the word “oddball”–this has been widely misquoted in the media.) Burton replies, “He [Johnny] loves doing that. That’s never a problem. He doesn’t like to be the same way twice. That’s good, it always keeps it fresh and all. And he likes the material we have here and he gets it. It’s nice to have people involved that are fans of the material.”

Boucher also suggests that Johnny Depp–who will also soon play “an Old West hero, a pirate and a vampire”–“approaches his acting choices the same way a gleeful kid rummages through a trunk of dress-up clothes.” A laughing Burton responds, “It’s true. Yeah we have a big dress-up clothes trunk here. We take it with us wherever we go.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Tim Burton interview; you can read it on the Porch forum. –Part-Time Poet

Oprah Noodlemantra's Book Club begins its discussion of "A Moveable Feast" today!

Liz and DeppInTheHeartOfTexas, the moderators of Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club, cordially invite you to stop by the Zone and join in our discussion of Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920s, A Moveable Feast. Why did ONBC choose this book? Here’s Johnny Depp speaking to reporter Jeff Hayward in an interview conducted in early 2000: “When I was a kid reading Ernest Hemingway’s reminiscences of Paris in the 1920s, I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do. That’s where I want to go.’ Now I’m there and I love it.”

ONBC kicks off its discussion with words Hemingway wrote in the preface to A Moveable Feast: “If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.” So how much of Hemingway’s memoir is fact, and how much fiction–possibly self-serving fiction? You can read the Noodlemantra’s thoughts on the ONBC forum. –Part-Time Poet

New photo–Johnny Depp in Los Angeles on October 13th

That’s Johnny Depp under the newsboy cap, walking down a street in West Hollywood on October 13, 2008, where he was photographed by paparazzi as he entered and left an office building. Johnny wore the British tan leather jacket that was a fixture in his Public Enemies meet-and-greets last spring, jeans, a dark blue t-shirt, and blue sunglasses. He has also shaved his facial hair since we saw him last–no doubt as preparation for his role as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. To see a larger picture, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Mrs Pink for breaking the news, and Bonnie and Theresa for the picture. –Part-Time Poet

Zac Efron tells Entertainment Weekly that he aspires to a career like Johnny Depp's

The current reigning teen idol, High School Musical’s Zac Efron, tells Entertainment Weekly that he would like to leave his high-school heartthrob days behind and chart a career path like Johnny Depp’s or Leonardo DiCaprio’s. EW reporter Christine Spines, who interviewed Efron for the magazine’s cover story, writes, “Efron is plotting his escape from the teen scene by studying the winning playbooks of other young hunks who went legit. ‘I would love to just sit down and talk with Leonardi DiCaprio and Johnny Depp and pick their brains about their early careers,’ Efron says, citing two recent actors who have made the leap from poster boys to Oscar contenders.”

And what does Efron draw from their example? ”They do it because they love it, not because they enjoy being famous,” Efron told EW. “You have to have good foresight and be really careful. If you don’t adapt and learn at a very young age, you can really mess up.” –Part-Time Poet

Casting news–Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter join Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Here’s some delicious casting news: according to the Hollywood Reporter, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter will be joining Mia Wasikowska (as Alice) and Johnny Depp (as the Mad Hatter) in Tim Burton’s 3-D retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Ms. Hathaway will play the White Queen (the nice one) while Ms. Bonham Carter will play the Red Queen (the crazy, homicidal one, who shouts “Off with their heads!”). Hathaway is currently garnering awards buzz for her role in Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married, but also showed a fine flair for comedy in last summer’s Get Smart! Ms. Bonham Carter received a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for her role as Mrs. Lovett in last year’s Golden-Globe winning Best Musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, also directed by Tim Burton.

British actor Michael Sheen, who played former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (opposite Oscar-winner Helen Mirren) in The Queen and will soon be seen as journalist David Frost in Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon, has also joined the Alice in Wonderland cast, says Variety. Sheen’s role has not been announced.

The Zone thanks Theresa and Emma for the casting news. You can read more about Alice in Wonderland on the JDZ News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp featured in this week's ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Johnny Depp swashbuckles his way into a 4th Pirates movie,” blares the headline in the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly, dated October 10, 2008. The feature (by Steve Daly) mainly focuses on the projects announced by Dick Cook at the Disney Showcase last week: the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean film (“Never mind that a new script isn’t ready yet, or that original trilogy director Gore Verbinski is busy developing a major Universal thriller, BioShock” ), and the new version of The Lone Ranger, in which Johnny will play the Native American Tonto–“though once again, there is no finished script, set of costars, or director in place,” EW observes.

We get the point, EW: it will be many months before either of these projects is ready to film. But that can’t be said about JD’s third Disney venture, playing the Mad Hatter for good friend Tim Burton in his “part-live-action, part-motion-capture, part-CG, and mostly 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland.” Now that Burton has concluded his location work in England, production on Alice–due in theaters in March 2010–shifts to the Los Angeles area: “Depp ‘s role will be filmed mainly on West Coast soundstages,” notes EW . . . no doubt a requirement for the “part motion-capture, part-CG, and mostly 3-D” sections of the movie.

After noting the box-office potential of the Disney projects, EW concedes, “It’s amazing that Depp has been able to anchor corporatized blockbusters like these without being seen as a sellout. [. . . E]ven when indirectly hawking products and rides, he maintains his edgy cool.” The Zone thanks Emma for the article text and FANtasticJD for posting scans of EW; you can see both on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp takes a brief trip to Mexico to scout film locations

Johnny Depp switched roles–from actor to producer–and took a quick, low-profile trip to Mexico to investigate possible location sites for a future feature film project. Accompanied by a party of four, Johnny visited Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende (where much of Once upon a Time in Mexico was filmed), and Jalisco. Sarah Delong Hoch, the founder of a local film festival, confirmed to the Mexican press that Johnny Depp was scouting locations in the area, but could give no other details “at the request of producers who want to keep the project confidential.”

There is only one photograph from the trip because Johnny requested that no photographs be taken; a rare request from him. The photo at left does show Johnny (barely visible, wearing the pale blue cap) standing next to security chief Jerry Judge; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Serendipity for the photo and Emma and dbcbdc for translations of Mexican news stories. You can read more about JD’s trip to Mexico on the News & Views and Pit forums, including some lively speculation about exactly which upcoming Infinitum Nihil film might be shot in Mexico. –Part-Time Poet