Articles from January 2009

Johnny Depp's THE RUM DIARY to begin filming the last week of March

Good news–filming of The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp, will begin two months from now in Puerto Rico! The UK’s Prodweek reports that the Bruce Robinson film will start shooting on March 31, 2009, while Screen Daily reports a start date of March 29th: “Johnny Depp will star in this long-gestating adaptation of the adventure drama by Hunter S. Thompson which finally begins principal photography in Puerto Rico on March 29. Withnail And I’s Robinson adapted the screenplay and will direct the late maverick journalist’s novel about a reporter in the Caribbean who tries to improve his life while all around him seem hell-bent on self-destruction.” Either date sounds great to us!

The Zone thanks Emma for the news; you can read more about The Rum Diary on the Zone’s News & Views forum. We send our congratulations and best wishes to all the members of The Rum Diary’s company. –Part-Time Poet

More details on the cast of Gore Verbinski's RANGO, starring Johnny Depp

More details about the voice cast of Gore Verbinski’s animated film Rango (starring Johnny Depp as the title character) are arriving in the media: a Variety article announcing the signing of Isla Fisher mentions several other notable cast members, including Alfred Molina (well-known to Depp fans for his role as the Comte in Chocolat), Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ned Beatty. reports that Patrika Darbo will also be voicing a role in Rango. The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for bringing us the news; you can read more about Rango on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Isla Fisher joins the cast of Gore Verbinski's RANGO, starring Johnny Depp

Isla Fisher has joined Johnny Depp and Abigail Breslin in the cast of Gore Verbinski’s animated feature film Rango, the story of “a household pet who goes on a fantastic adventure.” Fisher, who is currently promoting Confessions of a Shopaholic, told MTV Movie News that she will “voice a lizard that Depp’s character encounters on his travels.” Other cast members include Ian Abercrombie and Hemky Madera.

Fisher also talked to MTV about the filmmaking process for Rango. “The entire movie is being acted out live but, rather than serve as a base for motion capture or rotoscoping, the live version will be used to aide the animators in capturing the characters’ movements and facial features,” reports MTV Movie News. “While it’s not uncommon for a camera to be present in a recording booth for just that reason, Fisher seemed to imply that Verbinski’s approach is much more elaborate, something the director has hinted will allow an unprecedented on-screen focus on the actors.” Sounds fascinating!

The Zone thanks Marijose for sharing the news; you can read more about Rango on the Zone’s News & Views forum. Rango is scheduled for release in 2011. –Part-Time Poet

"Imagination" was the watchword on Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND set, says Anne Hathaway

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Anne Hathaway described the working conditions for her most recent film role–playing the White Queen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. “Tim’s currency is imagination,” she explained. “You only had to be as imaginative on the set every day as you possibly could. That was the only requirement and that was a spectacular requirement.”

Hathaway, who is appearing in a Burton film for the first time, enjoyed watching her co-stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter at work. “It was so nice seeing Helena stretch herself and go to the outer limits of her imagination and watch Johnny do the same thing,” Hathaway said. “When creating my character, I wound up thinking to myself, ‘How would Johnny do this? How would he make this line funny?’ “

Alice in Wonderland will arrive in theaters in March 2010. “I think the film is going to be spectacular,” Hathaway told the Herald Sun. “I don’t think there is any film like it.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Anne Hathaway interview; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin joins Johnny Depp in RANGO

Abigail Breslin will star opposite Johnny Depp in Gore Verbinski’s upcoming animated feature Rango, Tatiana Siegel of Variety reports today. Rango is the story of a household pet (species at this time unknown) “who goes on an adventure to discover his true self.” Abigail Breslin is best known for her role as Olive Hoover in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine, for which she received an Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actress) and won a SAG Award (Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture–their top honor) and a Critic’s Choice Award (Best Young Actress). She also starred with Jodie Foster in Nim’s Island (2008) and played the title role in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008).

The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news; you can read more on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

"A lovely cast to work with"–Stephen Graham talks about PUBLIC ENEMIES

In a recent interview with Alexander Pashby of, British actor Stephen Graham talked about his experience playing the trigger-happy gangster Baby Face Nelson in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies.Public Enemies was a crazy, crazy thing actually,” Graham told the journalist. As an example, he described his audition process: “Me and Hannah [Stephen Graham’s wife] were in the house and I got asked to put myself on tape to play Baby Face Nelson, so I got out me little plastic golf club and Hannah just read a couple of lines off. I had to pretend to rob a bank, and I turned round to her and was like, ‘Are you sure this is working?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, it looks great.’ I said, ‘I feel ridiculous!’ I’ve got a plastic golf club and I’m telling people to sit down and put their hands up. There’s no one there. There’s just me and thin air. We sent it off and never heard nothing for about three weeks, and then all of a sudden me manager in the States phoned me up and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ I said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘You’ve got the part. They want you to fly out in a couple of weeks.'”

Graham had nothing but praise for director Michael Mann and his fellow cast members. “[I]t was great to work with Michael Mann,” Graham said. “Such an enthusiastic . . . you know, it’s kind of like he’s 15, he’s such a little livewire bopping round the set. He’s got some great ideas and you feel like you’re really collaborating with him. And what a lovely cast to work with,” Graham added. “Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Two fantastic actors of our generation.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Stephen Graham interview on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To read the full interview, which deals with several other films as well as Public Enemies, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

New York's Museum of Modern Art to honor Tim Burton with a career retrospective

Wonderful news–the Museum of Modern Art in New York City will honor director Tim Burton with a major exhibition of his work. Congratulations! Mark your calendars and plan a trip to Manhattan: the exhibit is scheduled to open on November 22, 2009 and continue through April 26, 2010. Here is the Museum of Modern Art’s announcement:

“This major career retrospective on filmmaker Tim Burton (American, b. 1958) consists of a gallery exhibition and a film series. The exhibition considers Burton’s career as a director, producer, writer, and animator of live-action and animated films, along with his work as a fiction writer and illustrator, following the evolution of his creative practices and the current of his visual imagination from his earliest childhood drawing through his mature work. Taking inspiration from sources in pop culture, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as a spiritual experience, influencing a generation of young artists working in film, video, and graphics.

“The gallery exhibition focuses on work generated during the process of conception, development, and production of his films, and will cover Burton’s realized and unrealized projects. It will include works on paper and sculpted in various mediums, as well as work in digital and moving-image formats such as concept art, production designs, drawn and painted animation art, 3-D models, puppets and maquettes, script treatments, storyboards, screen tests, other audio-visual components, and examples of his work as a graphic artist for non-film projects. Burton’s films include Vincent (1982), Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Nightmare Before Christmas (as producer) (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Corpse Bride (2005), and Sweeney Todd (2007); writing and Web projects include The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (1997) and Stainboy (2000).” Of course, while this exhibition is in progress, Tim Burton’s latest film, Alice in Wonderland, is scheduled for release (on March 5, 2010 in North America).

The Zone thanks Mrs. Nobody for sharing the news; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To check the Museum of Modern Art website, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp campaigns with the Environmental Justice Foundation to stop illegal pirate fishing

The actor who created the silver screen’s most iconic pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, has now taken a stand against piracy–pirate fishing, that is. Johnny Depp has written a letter in support of the Environmental Justice Foundation’s “Save the Sea” campaign to help stop illegal pirate fishing. “Our seas and the people that depend upon them are facing a critical threat,” Johnny writes. “Pirate fishing operations are plundering fish stocks the world over, which in turn undermine all attempts at their sustainable management, already under pressure from widespread misdirection.

“The devastating impact of this illegal form of fishing is felt not only by our marine ecosystems, but also by the millions of people living in some of the world’s poorest countries who rely on healthy fish stocks as an essential source of both food and employment.

“Just so you know, this is not a problem without cure, but we have to act now if we are to protect our marine-life’s biodiversity and food security for future generations. It is more important than you, or any of us, can at this moment even begin to understand.

“That is why I support the work of the Environmental Justice Foundation to raise awareness and provide ‘real-world’ solutions to the issue. Their efforts to engage in effective action to protect both people and planet will help to bring an end to pirate fishing, once and for all.”

The Zone applauds Johnny Depp for raising our consciousness about this important issue. To read more about the Environmental Justice Foundation and their campaign to Save the Sea, and to learn what we can do to help, CLICK HERE. Many thanks to Cindy for breaking the story; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

THE RUM DIARY, starring Johnny Depp, searches for its leading lady

Pre-production on The Rum Diary is heating up: a casting notice has just gone out for the film’s female lead, Chenault. Here’s the story line as given on the casting notice: “1960: Divorced alcoholic and struggling novelist PAUL KEMP [Johnny Depp] decides to kick around San Juan until his ship comes in, working as a journalist for a daily newspaper that’s on its last legs, drinking gallons of rum and experimenting with LSD. With his new friend BOB SALA by his side, he becomes entangled in a corrupt hotel development scheme with a slick PR consultant named SANDERSON, and falls in love with Sanderson’s unattainable girlfriend, CHENAULT. . . “

As for Chenault herself, here’s the official description of the role: “A beautiful, 25 year old, translucent vision from Connecticut, with a killer smile and a wry, enigmatic personality, she wears barely-there sarongs, sunbathes nude, and oozes sexuality in everything she does. She enchants and mesmerizes Kemp from the moment they meet: while both escaping a tedious, high-end party. Chenault is dating and possibly engaged to Sanderson, but clearly feels an attraction to Kemp. She’s a daredevil who loves to dance and drive fast. She gets into big trouble with a lust-crazed, violent crowd during Carnival in St. Thomas. .. LEAD. This role contains nudity.” Actresses, call your agents!

The Rum Diary is based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson. The film will be produced by GK Films and Infinitum Nihil, and will be directed by Bruce Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay. Shooting is scheduled to begin in March.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the casting notice; you can read more about The Rum Diary on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp presents Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes

Receiving a very warm welcome from the audience, Johnny Depp took the stage at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards tonight to present the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical–an honor due him as last year’s winner of the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical for his role as Sweeney Todd. (Ah, tradition.) Johnny’s appearance was short but sweet: he announced the nominees and then graciously gave the Golden Globe to Sally Hawkins of Happy-Go-Lucky,

who was overwhelmed with emotion at her win and dissolved in tears several times during her acceptance speech. To see a larger version of our photo of JD at the microphone, CLICK HERE, and to see a screencap of JD with winner Sally Hawkins, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for the screencaps–that’s quick work, FAN! You can read more about the Golden Globes on the Zone’s Pit forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Johnny Depp to appear as a presenter at the Golden Globes on Sunday night!

Here’s a story we’ve been waiting for: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association confirms that Johnny Depp will present an award at this year’s Golden Globe Awards. The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards will take place at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday night, January 11, and will be telecast live on NBC from 8-11 p.m. Eastern time. Johnny Depp won the Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical last year for his role as Sweeney Todd in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (which won Best Picture, Comedy or Musical), but due to the writers’ strike, the HFPA held a dull news conference to announce the winners rather than the usual awards ceremony. A celebration is long overdue, and we will be delighted to see JD arrive at the podium as a Golden Globe winner.

The Zone thanks Cindy for breaking the news; you can read more about this year’s Golden Globes on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

"Dillinger became a criminal almost by accident"–Johnny Depp talks about his role in PUBLIC ENEMIES

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp shooting Public Enemies in Columbus, Wisconsin in the very first days of filming last March–and we mean “shooting” quite literally, as the Thompson submachine gun (called a tommygun) is the quintessential Dillinger prop. In a current interview with Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly, Johnny talks about how Dillinger became Public Enemy #1 and how it felt to play the man with the tommygun.

EW: So what details of this character did you try to latch onto?

JD: The interesting thing is, John Dillinger really became a criminal almost by accident. The two main ingredients for his initial incarceration were ignorance and youth. There are moments in life when those two walk hand in hand in a very tight grip. When he went inside, the world was one thing, and when he came out, it was Technicolor. Women dressed differently. It was a different planet. Prison at that time was college for criminals. He went in and basically learned how to rob banks. By all accounts, he wasn’t the best student initially, but he got the hang of it.

EW: What was your favorite scene to shoot?

JD: Well, let’s just say, how often do you get to stand on the running board of an old 1932 Buick blasting a 50-round clip from a Thompson submachine gun? When do you get to do that without getting into trouble for it? And with Michael [Mann, the director], you get to do it again and again and again.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Entertainment Weekly interview; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

BREAKING NEWS–Casting begins for THE RUM DIARY, starring Johnny Depp

Happy news–the feature film of The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp, has now begun casting; according to Heather Langone of BlogStage, Denise Chamian is the casting director. Hopefully we will hear some announcements soon. Bruce Robinson will be directing The Rum Diary and has adapted the screenplay from the novel by Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films will produce. The Rum Diary is scheduled to begin production in March.

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

Oprah Noodlemantra's Book Club begins discussion of THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS today!

Please join Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas, the moderators of Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club, for ONBC’s discussion of Gordon Dahlquist’s The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters beginning today! Amazon describes Dahlquist’s novel, a fantastic mystery/adventure set in Victorian London, as “a tale that combines swashbuckling adventure, a big dose of science fiction and burgeoning romance,” while the Dallas Morning News calls it “sweeping, highly original and absorbing.” Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum-Nihil, purchased the rights to The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and is developing it into a film with Warner Bros. Jayson Rothwell has been hired to write the screenplay. Given the extraordinarily imaginative subject matter–some reviewers classify Glass Books as science fiction, others as mystery–this is sure to be a very lively discussion. Stop by the ONBC forum to get acquainted with The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, and start 2009 with a touch of magic and romance. –Part-Time Poet

Johnny Depp (as John Dillinger) on the cover of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY!

Entertainment Weekly devotes the cover of their January 9, 2009 issue–the one that features “The New Year’s Must-See Movies”–to a photo of Johnny Depp in his role as John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s upcoming Public Enemies, due to arrive in North American theaters on July 1, 2009. To see a larger version of the cover, CLICK HERE. EW reporter Chris Nashawaty also conducts a brief interview with Johnny Depp in this issue. Here are a few highlights:

EW: How did this movie come about?

JD: It came at the time of the writers’ strike. A wave of fear gripped the industry. And out of nowhere this script arrived with a note: “Michael Mann would like to talk to you about playing Dillinger.”

EW: What was your reaction to hearing that?

JD: Well, certainly intrigued. Intrigued by both Dillinger and Michael Mann. It’s always interesting to get in the ring with a director and explore their process and see what does it for him.

EW: And what does it for him?

JD: The details of the details of the details. [Laughs] They should invent a word to describe it, because it’s not just details, it teeters on microscopic obsession with every molecule of the moment. Which is admirable, you know? You got to salute that.

The Zone salutes Emma for providing the interview and Theresa for the EW cover. You can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

"I think he was a real-life Robin Hood"–Johnny Depp talks to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY about John Dillinger

Michael Mann’s Public Enemies leads the pack of “12 Big Movies Coming in 2009” featured in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (cover date January 9, 2009). EW talked to Johnny Depp, who plays daring Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger, about his approach to the role. ”Dillinger was one of those guys, like Charlie Chaplin and Evel Knievel, that I was fascinated with at a young age,” JD told the magazine. He explained that his grandfather “ran moonshine” in Kentucky during Prohibition. ”And because of my grandfather, the character was pretty easy for me to connect to. In a way, this movie was a salute to him.”

EW thinks that Public Enemies should resonate with audiences who have just lived through the worst year for the U.S. economy since 1931. “[T]he film’s themes couldn’t be more timely,” notes EW. “Dillinger was sticking up banks at a time when people weren’t exactly rooting for the banks. As a result, he became something larger than life–a rock star with a tommy gun.” And what does Johnny Depp think of the character he plays? ”Some people might disagree, but I think he was a real-life Robin Hood,” JD said. “I mean, the guy wasn’t completely altruistic, but he went out of his way not to kill anybody. He definitely gave a lot of that money away. I love the guy.”

The Zone thanks RumLover for sharing the link to EW’s online gallery; you can read more of their story on Public Enemies HERE. For a spirited discussion of the Entertainment Weekly story, see the Zone’s News & Views forum, and to see a larger version of the Peter Mountain photo at left, CLICK HERE. –Part-Time Poet

Announcing a new photo gallery for the Zone: the first Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert!

The Zone is celebrating the arrival of 2009 by adding a new photo gallery to the Deppartment, our collection of Johnny Depp photos that are not related to his movie roles. Our newest addition features a selection of photos from the 2007 Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert, when Johnny Depp reunited with his bandmates from The Kids to play a live two-hour set at Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, Florida. The date was January 28, 2007, shortly before JD reported to Pinewood Studios for the filming of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Many thanks to all the generous Zoners who shared their photos and descriptions of this event. To see the new gallery, click on the Gallery Showcase button next to the Picture of the Week. –Part-Time Poet