Michael Mann's PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp, featured in January 2009 Empire Magazine

The January 2009 issue of Empire Magazine offers a five-page feature on Michael Mann’s Public Enemies–the first publicity we’ve seen for this much-anticipated film. The photographs of Johnny Depp (as John Dillinger, at left), Christian Bale (as G-Man Melvin Purvis), and Marion Cotillard (as Billie Frechette) are stunning, and it’s wonderful to hear a few words from the director himself about his work-in-progress. “It’s a big picture, a big drama–big in every regard,” Michael Mann promises. But although Public Enemies is about a brilliant criminal and the dogged lawman who pursues him, it has little else in common with Heat, Mann’s acclaimed film starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. De Niro’s character was “on a completely different trajectory [from Dillinger],” Mann explains. “He thought about the future.” Dillinger and his gang, in the midst of the hopeless Great Depression, had a different outlook. “These guys were fatalistic: history was something that happened to you; there’s a bullet with your name on it.”

Regarding Johnny Depp’s performance as Dillinger, Michael Mann offers only superlatives. “Depp is extraordinary,” the director told Empire. “I believe one of the things that drew him to this character is there’s a certain darkness within him, in his life, that enables him to feel a connection to Dillinger. I mean, the currents within Johnny run very, very deep. I am knocked out by what he’s done in this picture.”

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news, and FANtastic JD, AnaMaria, Dharma_bum, Lucky13 and Theresa for sharing scans and photos from the Empire article. You can read much more on the News & Views forum. Public Enemies arrives in theaters in July 2009. –Part-Time Poet