Articles from November 2010

Johnny Depp on cover of January 2011 VANITY FAIR; interview by Patti Smith, photos by Annie Leibovitz

Here’s an early holiday treat — Johnny Depp is featured on the cover of the new edition of Vanity Fair (issue date January 2011). The stunning photographs (featuring a sultry, piratical JD) are by Annie Leibovitz; you can see a larger version of the Vanity Fair cover HERE. Check out that skull-and-crossbones tattoo! For a beautiful profile shot, CLICK HERE. The interview is by longtime Depp friend, music legend, and poet Patti Smith, who calls her feature “The Crowded Mind of Johnny Depp.” According to Vanity Fair, Smith asks JD about the filming of his two most recent movies, The Tourist and Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides; his famous co-star, Angelina Jolie; the relentless paparazzi; and — from one musician to another — “the music career he almost had.” Says Johnny, “Going into acting was an odd deviation from a particular road that I was on in my late teens, early 20s, because I had no desire, no interest, really, in it at all. I was a musician and I was a guitarist, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

The Zone thanks Theresa, Emma, and AnaMaria for articles and photos; you can read more about the Vanity Fair article on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

The Vanity Fair website currently features a gorgeous retrospective of Johnny Depp’s many appearances in their magazine; you can find it HERE.

Gore Verbinski to direct THE LONE RANGER, with Johnny Depp as Tonto

The rumors are now official: Walt Disney Pictures has confirmed that Gore Verbinski will direct Jerry Bruckheimer’s new version of the Western classic, The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp, who has Cherokee ancestry, will play Tonto; the role of the masked Ranger has not yet been cast. Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) wrote the script. The Lone Ranger will reunite the producer, director, and star of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, and At World’s End. Verbinski has also directed JD in the animated film Rango, scheduled to arrive in theaters on March 4, 2011.

The Zone thanks SnoopyDances for breaking the news. You can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.


Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has tweeted that Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides has officially wrapped. Congratulations to Mr. Bruckheimer, director Rob Marshall, Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and all the cast and crew! Well done! Mr. Bruckheimer promises that the trailer for On Stranger Tides will be released on December 17th; presumably that is a date for its theatrical release. Look for the trailer to run with showings of Tron:Legacy (also in 3D), which arrives on that date.

Yahoo!Movies has issued a statement claiming that they will show the trailer premiere for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on December 13 at 4pm ET/1pm PT. We’ll be watching for it!

The Zone thanks Emma for the news; you can read much more about On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“An everyman approached by an enchantress”–Johnny Depp talks about his role in THE TOURIST

Entertainment Tonight aired behind-the-scenes footage from the set of The Tourist during their November 17th broadcast that included an interview with Johnny Depp about his newest role. Long known for playing quirky, outside-the-mainstream individuals, Johnny here takes on a different kind of character, someone he describes as an “everyman.” Frank, the American tourist, is “definitely an everyman who is approached by this enchantress, this unbelievably beautiful, interesting, cultured vixen, and is taken on the ride of his life,” Johnny says. “What would you do? How far would you go? How much danger would you allow yourself to be in, just for the possibility of whatever poetry might commence between you and that woman?”

Angelina Jolie describes her character, Elise, as “a bit of a mystery” but “very much a lady. She’s one of those women that lives in a world of quiet luxury and elegance.” Elise draws Frank into a whirlwind romance “that soon becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse,” says ET’s Mark Steines.

Angelina tells ET that working with Johnny was “a dream of mine. [. . .] There’s something very likable about him. He’s a nice person, and I think that kindness and that fun comes across in anything he does. But this is more of a traditional leading man [role] for him, so it’s been kind of fun to get to watch him play that traditional leading man, but he is bringing a real charm to it.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Entertainment Tonight story. You can read much more about The Tourist on the Zone’s News & View forum.

The Tourist opens December 10th.

TV ALERT–ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT goes behind the scenes of THE TOURIST on Wednesday, November 17th!

Set your DVRS and tune in to Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday, November 17th as ET airs exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of The Tourist in Venice last spring! “The only show on the set and behind-the-scenes for the first film from two of America’s biggest box office stars,” ET promises, and their teaser for the feature includes a snippet of an interview with Johnny Depp in which he makes this comment about his celebrated co-star: “She’s kind of a walking poem, Angelina.” Entertainment Tonight is syndicated, so check to find the time and channel in your area (U.S. only, sorry). CLICK HERE, scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “ET on TV Show Finder,” and enter your zip code to find your local broadcast.

The photo above shows Johnny in the ET interview; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks AnaMaria for sharing the screencap, and Emma and Rum Lover for breaking the news.

Serendipity strikes: How THE TOURIST found its winning chemistry

Assembling a winning team, as any coach can tell you, requires a bit of magic that cannot be predicted nor defined; it requires chemistry. In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty explains how The Tourist went from a possibility to a completed film in less than a year because of that winning chemistry. In Nashawaty’s account, each key player recruited the next to The Tourist‘s team: Angelina Jolie brought director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck aboard because she so admired his film, The Lives of Others; she presented The Tourist as “a suave cat-and-mouse thriller, like a modern-day To Catch a Thief or Charade.” But the script still had weaknesses: “I found myself apologizing that it wasn’t The Lives of Others [. . . .] It doesn’t have that importance or depth. And he talked about how something that’s a pleasure to watch can be just as important.” According to Nashawaty, Henckel von Donnersmarck left the meeting “knowing he would not only direct the film but rewrite it, too.”

The pair then persuaded producer Graham King of GK Films to join the project, but they were still missing an A-list leading man. “As luck would have it, King mentioned to them he had a dinner date with Johnny Depp the following week,” writes Nashawaty. What seredipity! During that dinner, King asked Johnny, “Before you do Pirates 4, are you interested in going to work?” Johnny was intrigued by the possibilities: “When I read the script, I thought, ‘Hmmm, there’s quite a bit missing here [. . .]. We need to dissect this [. . .] and see what we can throw in there.” According to EW, “Depp liked the idea of inhabiting an Everyman character like the Midwestern math teacher he plays in the film — a regular Joe who goes to Europe for an adventure and finds one on a train after meeting a stunning mystery woman who’s being tailed by the police and a gang of Russian goons.”

There was just one problem: “The Tourist would have to be rewritten, shot, and wrapped in the next five months so Depp could jet off to Hawaii and slather on Captain Jack’s mascara,” says EW. “If they’d stopped and thought about it, King says they probably would’ve talked themselves out of making the movie. But he also knew that sometimes it’s best not to think.” Fortunately for us, they didn’t let the logistics deter them.

The Tourist opens December 10th.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Entertainment Weekly article; you can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

THE TOURIST on the cover of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Holiday Movie Preview!

Entertainment Weekly has given us an early holiday present — their Holiday Movie Preview issue features a beautiful photo of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie from The Tourist on the cover (issue date November 29, 2010). “[I]n this week’s Holiday Movie Preview issue, the two A-listers talk exclusively to EW about their new Venice-set romantic thriller (a throwback to glamorous Euro capers like To Catch a Thief and Charade), the struggles they faced getting the pricey movie to the screen, and, of course, a blow-by-blow account of when they finally got together for the first time,” reports EW. Sounds great!

To see a larger version of the Entertainment Weekly cover, CLICK HERE. To see the photo without all that distracting print on it, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Theresa for breaking the news and AnaMaria for the photo; you can read much more about The Tourist, and the EW Holiday Movie Preview issue, on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp and ALICE IN WONDERLAND earn People’s Choice Award nominations!

Johnny Depp has once again been nominated as Favorite Movie Actor in the People’s Choice Awards–congratulations! You can vote for Johnny’s performance as The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland HERE. Other nominated actors include Leonardi DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner.

Congratulations to Tim Burton and the full cast and crew of Alice in Wonderland, which has been nominated as Favorite Movie (other nominees are Inception, Iron Man2, Toy Story 3, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and Favorite Drama Movie (other nominees are Dear John, Inception, The Social Network, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse). Click on the link above to vote in all categories. The People’s Choice Award website urges you to “Vote as often as you like and encourage your friends to vote, too,” so please do! It is not necessary to vote in all categories.

The People’s Choice Awards will air on CBS on Wednesday evening, January 5, 2011.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the good news. You can read more about The People’s Choice Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck talks about directing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in THE TOURIST

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won a Best Foreign Film Oscar for his first feature, The Lives of Others, a dark, German-language political thriller that he wrote, directed and produced; the project took him five years to complete. For his second film, Henckel von Donnersmarck chose the romantic thriller The Tourist, with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in the leading roles; the film began shooting in February and will be in theaters in December. “I thought this would be a good way for me to explore something completely different, the lighter, more romantic side that I feel is somewhere in me too,” Henckel von Donnersmarck explained to Gina McIntyre of the Los Angeles Times. “I thought it would be a liberating experience to see it can be done in 11 months, and also I thought that if I did another dark thriller, then I’d be that guy.”

Versatility is a quality that Henckel von Donnersmarck appreciates. He didn’t want The Tourist to be “just a thriller,” he told McIntyre; “I find that a little limiting.” His actors “were game for breaking out of the boundaries of a traditional genre film,” reports McIntyre, “bringing a spry, seductive energy to the suspense and action.” Henckel von Donnersmarck said that “it was exciting to watch the interplay between Jolie and Depp during filming” because the actors have such radically different approaches to their craft, “with Depp’s, as one might expect, tending to be somewhat more off the cuff and improvisational than Jolie’s,” writes McIntyre.

Improvisational might be an understatement. Laughing, the director said of Johnny, “I learned quickly that no matter what stage directions I wrote into the script, he doesn’t even read them. [. . .] He will always do something phenomenally unexpected. Angelina, she’s someone who prepares so very much and will in a way surprise you with her level of preparedness. It was interesting throwing those two styles together.”

The Zone thanks Student 1991 and Joni for the Los Angeles Times interview; you can read more on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum and the News & Views forum.

THE TOURIST world premiere–December 6th in New York City!

The much-anticipated world premiere of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s thriller The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, will take place on Monday evening, December 6, 2010, in New York City. The premiere will be at the Ziegfeld Theater, which is located at 141 West 54th Street in Manhattan. Red carpet arrivals are scheduled for 6:15 p.m., but the crowd will start assembling much earlier than that. We hope New Yorkers are blessed with warmer weather for The Tourist premiere than they had for the Sweeney Todd premiere (December 3, 2007), when Johnny’s fans risked frostbite to cheer him on.

The press junket for The Tourist will take place a few days earlier and an ocean away: Wednesday, December 1st and Thursday, December 2nd, in Paris. The Zone thanks Emma and Clara for press junket and premiere news; you can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

DARK SHADOWS, with Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins, to begin filming in April 2011

Dark Shadows, director Tim Burton’s take on the 1960s gothic soap opera, starring Johnny Depp in the iconic role of vampire Barnabas Collins, has been slated to begin production in January 2011 but today was pushed back to April, according to “Warner Bros has been trying for several years to get to the starting line on this movie adaptation of the TV series that ran on ABC from 1966-1971,” says Deadline, but production was postponed first to allow Burton to complete post-production work on his Alice in Wonderland, and then by a script rewrite, as Seth Grahame-Smith took over from John August. Grahame-Smith is the bestselling author of Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

The April start date for Dark Shadows “seems to complicate Depp’s ability to co-star with Tom Hanks in director Kathryn Bigelow’s Triple Frontier. She has been courting Johnny for the drama that she will direct in February for Paramount Pictures,” reports Deadline. “The picture (also known as Sleeping Dogs) about Latin American organized crime is scripted by Mark Boal, Bigelow’s accomplice on the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker. Depp liked the role — and the idea of teaming with Hanks — but his participation was subject to working out scheduling issues.” We hope both films show up on Johnny’s schedule–what a delicious contrast!

The Zone thanks Theresa for the Dark Shadows update; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Another casting rumor–Johnny Depp sought for SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

According to Jeff Sneider at TheWrap, Johnny Depp “has been offered the male lead in Universal’s upcoming tentpole Snow White and the Huntsman.” Producer Joe Roth worked with Johnny on the blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, and might be looking to capture more of that billion-dollar box-office magic. This won’t be your grandmother’s Snow White, however; described as a “revisionist take on the classic fairy tale,” the script by Evan Daugherty “features an expanded role for the Huntsman.” In the original story, the Huntsman is the evil queen’s hit man, but he lets Snow White go free in the woods rather than killing her. In Daugherty’s script, Sneider reports, the Huntsman is “chained to Snow White for part of the live-action movie as the duo make their escape from a pair of bounty hunters. The Huntsman then serves as a mentor who teaches the teenage Snow White how to fight against her evil step-mother, Ravenna. And don’t worry — a handsome prince is still the love interest.” So Snow White and the Huntsman don’t live happily ever after. Good to know . . . .

Universal wants to start production on Snow White and the Huntsman in January 2011, with British commercials director Rupert Sanders at the helm; Snow White will be Sanders’s first feature film. The studio has announced plans to release the film on Dec. 21, 2012. The holiday release “proves that it’s a high priority for Universal,” notes Sneider.

Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times reports that no fewer than three new versions of the Snow White fairy tale are on the horizon: Universal’s revisionist Snow White and the Huntsman; a more-true-to-the-Brothers-Grimm version to be directed by Tarsem Singh for “the upstart distributor Relativity,” with a start date in March 2011; and a new Disney version “with the dwarfs reimagined as Kung Fu-practicing Shaolin monks.” [No, we’re not making that up. You can find the Los Angeles Times story HERE.] The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the Snow White story and FANtasticJD for sharing the Los Angeles Times article; you can read much more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“Lots of casting rumors in the past few days that Johnny Depp is being ‘offered’ the role of the Huntsman,” notes Zeitchik, “but really, what role isn’t he offered?” Good point: we await word that Johnny Depp has been offered the roles of all seven Kung Fu-practicing Shaolin monks in the Disney version. Snow White and the Seven Depps, anyone?

Happy 7th Birthday to Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club!

The Johnny Depp Zone is delighted to celebrate the 7th birthday of Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club, the first such group ever founded to read works associated with or recommended by Johnny Depp. The first book ONBC read was Stephen King’s novella Secret Window, Secret Garden (also known as Two Past Midnight) — King’s work was chosen for ONBC’s debut because Johnny Depp had just finished filming his role as Mort Rainey in David Koepp’s adaptation of Secret Window. Liz posed ONBC’s first question about Secret Window, Secret Garden at two past midnight on November 1, 2003, and she and DeppintheHeartofTexas have been delighting and challenging us ever since!

ONBC is currently discussing Simone de Beauvoir’s memoir of her relationship with Nelson Algren, A Transatlantic Love Affair, which Johnny Depp is considering as a future film project for himself and Vanessa Paradis. ONBC will follow A Transatlantic Love Affair with Daniel Depp’s second novel about private detective David Spandau, Babylon Nights. To see a display of the books ONBC has read over its seven years, CLICK HERE. That’s a very impressive list!

We congratulate Liz and DITHOT and thank them for their outstanding leadership and hard work for the past six years. Well done! We can’t wait to see what ONBC will read in the coming year — it’s always a fascinating journey.