Articles from March 2011

DARK SHADOWS casting news!

Tim Burton’s new adaptation of Dark Shadows will begin filming in May, with a very impressive cast that includes Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins, Eva Green as witch Angelique Bouchard, Michelle Pfeiffer as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Helena Bonham Carter is Dr. Julia Hoffman, Jackie Earle Haley as the con artist Loomis, and Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, the governess of the Collins estate. Several Hollywood sources now report that Michael Sheen, who voiced the White Rabbit in Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, may be cast as Roger Collins, the brother of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard; young actor Gulliver McGrath has already won the role of David Collins, Roger’s son.

Another young performer joining the Dark Shadows cast is Chloe Moretz, who is in talks to play Carolyn, the daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. The much-in-demand Ms. Moretz starred in Kick-Ass and recently completed Hugo Cabret for Martin Scorsese.

Thomas McDonell will play the young Barnabas Collins; to judge his resemblance to Johnny Depp circa 1993, CLICK HERE. McDonnell can be seen as Jesse Richter in the upcoming Prom for Disney Channel, setting unrealistic prom-date expectations for tween girls all over America.

The Zone thanks Theresa and FANtasticJD for the casting updates. You can read much more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

THE RUM DIARY, starring Johnny Depp, arrives in theaters on October 28th!

Bruce Robinson’s film of The Rum Diary, based on an early novel by Hunter S. Thompson and starring Johnny Depp in the role of Paul Kemp, will arrive in North American movie theaters on October 28, 2011. The much-anticipated film, which shot in Puerto Rico, also stars Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi.

The Rum Diary is a GK Films, Infinitum Nihil and Film Engine production produced by Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, Anthony Rhulen, Robert Kravis, Tim Headington and Graham King. It will be released by FilmDistrict, the distribution arm of GK Films.

Producer Graham King, co-founder of FilmDistrict, told the press, “Hunter S. Thompson became close with Johnny Depp during the filming of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and showed Depp the unpublished manuscript for The Rum Diary. I am extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter’s legacy.”

The Rum Diary is a special project for all of us here, as it is a true collaboration between both of our entities,” said Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict and President of GK Films. “[Johnny] Depp gives an extraordinary performance in this remarkable adaptation.”

The Zone thanks SeaGoddessCalypso and FANtasticJD for sharing the news; you can read more about The Rum Diary‘s release on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

RANGO crosses the $100 million mark at the North American box office; tops $200 million worldwide!

Congratulations to director Gore Verbinski and the talented voice cast of Rango — Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, and Bill Nighy; on its 4th weekend of release, Rango earned $9,772,822 at the North American box office, bringing its domestic total to $106,335,987! The animated Western adventure has earned nearly as much overseas, with a foreign box office total of $95,204,035, for a worldwide total of $201,540,022. Well done!

According to Box Office Mojo, Rango passed the $100 million mark domestically on Saturday, March 26th, in its 23rd day of release, becoming the first film of 2011 to reach that milestone. The Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Just Go with It reached $100 million on Sunday, March 27th, in its 45th day of release.

The Zone thanks tocnavforjd, FANtasticJD, and moviemom for sharing box office totals; you can read much more about Rango on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp’s remake of THE THIN MAN gets a writer

Last October, Johnny Depp announced his desire to play Dashiell Hammett’s sleuth Nick Charles in a remake of the classic mystery, The Thin Man, a project that would re-team him with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director, Rob Marshall. Warner Bros. immediately put the project into development. Now the studio has hired Jerry Stahl to write the screenplay, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Stahl has a fondness for the era; his novel I, Fatty, about the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, was optioned by Infinitum Nihil. Not coincidentally, Infinitum Nihil will also be producing The Thin Man, along with Kevin McCormick of Langley Park. McCormick previously worked with Johnny as a producer on Warner Bros. releases Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sweeney Todd.

The original film of The Thin Man is a classic; it teamed William Powell and Myrna Loy as former private detective Nick Charles and his clever, witty, and extremely wealthy wife Nora, who were drawn into a search for a missing inventor. The original film proved so popular it spawned several sequels that combined mystery, eccentric characters, and great repartee.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about The Thin Man on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

“I only have great things to say about him”–Penelope Cruz discusses Johnny Depp on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE

A radiant Penelope Cruz appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; the Oscar-winning actress revealed that she has a karaoke machine in her home and likes to sing Eminem (who knew?). She also lavished compliments on her Pirates co-star, Johnny Depp. “We worked together ten years ago [on Blow] and we had a great experience on that movie, and I couldn’t wait to work with him again, because he’s really one of the most kind and genuine people that I have ever met, and he became a good friend,” she told Kimmel. “And he’s so funny! I guess people know how funny he is [. . . ] He has one of the greatest senses of humor, and he’s really clever and really smart, but really kind, generous–I only have great things to say about him.”

When asked if there was anything she didn’t like about him, Ms. Cruz, all smiles, did mention the infamous fart machine that tends to show up on Depp sets. “When I met him ten years ago, he had a plastic one, and now, ten years later, he has one with a remote control,” she confided. It’s good to know there have been advances in fart machine technology. “He fooled me once, when we were doing Blow, when I was doing a very dramatic closeup, and he kept making that sound with the machine [. . .]. I hope they’re not thinking it’s me! And Johnny was there with a straight face . . . . Now he was doing it to Jerry Bruckheimer, and to Rob Marshall, the director, and he was saying to Rob, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep shooting — I’m really sick’ . . . . I love working with him,” she finished.

The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for sharing the story. Video clips of Penelope Cruz’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live are available on Jimmy Kimmel’s You Tube page.

Johnny Depp to appear on Ricky Gervais’ new British sitcom

Once again proving that he is gracious and has a sense of humor, Johnny Depp has agreed to make a guest appearance on Ricky Gervais’s upcoming BBC2 sitcom Life’s Too Short, despite being on the receiving end of many of Gervais’s caustic punchlines during this year’s Golden Globes broadcast. Gervais himself confirmed Johnny’s appearance with an entry on his blog, according to the Hollywood Reporter, although he denied reports that Jerry Seinfeld would also make a guest appearance on Life’s Too Short. “The Depp bit is true. The Seinfeld isn’t,” Gervais wrote.

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news; you can read more about this story on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp in Los Angeles on March 23rd–new photos!

While pre-production activity for Dark Shadows heats up at Pinewood Studios outside London, Johnny Depp remains in Los Angeles, where he was photographed on Wednesday, March 23rd. Johnny is wearing a plaid overcoat, his Viper Room beanie, blue sunglasses, and (in one photo) a familiar coral-and-black scarf; he is carrying his Infinitum Nihil coffee mug as he chats with his bodyguards. To see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE, and to see a different photo, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Christopher, Hiroko, and Kitaika (of for sharing the photos. We always enjoy seeing Johnny out-and-about.

THE TOURIST, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, released on DVD and Blu-ray

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp as bemused traveler Frank Tupelo and Angelina Jolie as woman-of-mystery Elise Ward, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 today. The romantic thriller has earned $268 million at the box office to date. The DVD includes a commentary track from the director, a 90-second outtake reel, and half-a-dozen features on various production aspects of the film, including the challenges of shooting on the water in Venice.

DVD Talk writes, “A throwback of sorts to an era of star-driven cinema, The Tourist doesn’t have to supply much of an effort to keep eyes glued to the screen. With Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie securely fastened in the starring roles, [. . .] most of the attention is placed on the leads. Ordered to carry the film with their inherent smolder, [. . .] both actors commit low-key, but comforting work as the tangled duo, with Jolie turning on the glamour high beams to communicate Elise’s command over all men, cutting through the scenery like cherry-lipped royalty, making Depp’s performance of astonished reactions amusing for its realism.”

The Zone thanks Linda M for the news; you can read a discussion of the DVD’s features and Zoner’s reactions to home viewing of The Tourist on the Pit General Discussion forum.

RANGO takes second at the box office, approaches $100 million

Gore Verbinski’s clever little green chameleon, voiced by Johnny Depp, is galloping toward bona fide blockbuster status — the animated feature Rango grossed an estimated $15.3 million in its third weekend of release, making its cumulative domestic box office total $92.6 million. And Rango is earning its money the old-fashioned way; unlike most family-friendly films in the past year, Rango, shot in glorious 2D, does not benefit from the higher ticket prices associated with 3D films.

The new release Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, won the weekend with $19 million (or roughly half of what Rango earned on its debut weekend). Two other new releases, the legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer and the sci-fi comedy Paul, grossed $13.4 million and $13.1 million, respectively, which placed them behind Rango and Aaron Eckhart’s Battle: Los Angeles in the weekend totals.

Overseas, Rango earned $20 million in 54 markets, bringing its foreign box office to a robust $73 million. Total worldwide box office to date is $165.6 million; well done!

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for the box office report; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum.


Shiver me timbers! There’s a new trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sailing this way! It begins with Penelope Cruz’s Angelica asking Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow if he has ever seen the Fountain of Youth — you can watch all the exciting developments here:

The Zone thanks Emma and Christopher for sharing the new trailer. You can read much more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum and the Porch General Discussion forum.

“The script is very powerful and funny”–Eva Green talks about DARK SHADOWS

Eva Green, who will co-star with Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s new film of Dark Shadows, recently spoke to MTV Movie Blog about her role as Angelique. “She is this sexy witch, very powerful in town, she’s very cool. She has many faces.” Pressed to choose whether the tone of Dark Shadows would be more like Sleepy Hollow or Burton’s last film, Alice in Wonderland, Green suggested that Dark Shadows will be different from either one. “It’s something that he’s never done, I think,” she told MTV. “It’s much more focused on the actors. It could almost be a play.”

Green confided that although she and Tim Burton met three times about the project, she never actually had to audition for the role of Angelique. “We talked a lot about the role. But I didn’t have to read. It was a miracle.” Nor has she discussed Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp, who will play the iconic vampire Barnabas Collins. Green told MTV that she expects rehearsals to begin next month.

“The script is very powerful and funny,” Green promised. “[Angelique’s] relationship with Barnabas, that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf relationship, very love-hate — it’s very funny.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the interview; you can read more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The video interview of Eva Green is available HERE at MTV.


With the release date of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides only about two months away, we’re starting to see the release of new promotional material to whet our appetites for the film . . . and my goodness, the beautiful posters just released by Disney are doing a very good job of that! The first poster features Captain Jack Sparrow in a tropical island setting, looking dynamic and ready for adventure; you can see the poster HERE. The second poster is a beauty shot of Captain Jack, no doubt destined to decorate bedrooms, dorm rooms, and office spaces around the globe; you can see the poster HERE.

In On Stranger Tides, Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself on an unexpected journey to find the fabled Fountain of Youth when a woman from his past, Angelica (played by Penelope Cruz) forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship captained by the much-feared pirate Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane).

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD and Emma for sharing the new posters; you can read more about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

New video preview of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES–watch it here!

Here’s a treat from Disney–an extended preview of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz–and featuring zombies, cutthroats, mermaids, and, according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, “one of the most evil characters we’ve ever given you,” the pirate Blackbeard. You can watch the preview here:

Many thanks to Erin Kirkpatrick for sharing the video with the Zone! You can read much more about all things piratical on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides arrives in movie theaters on May 20th. Can’t wait!

Disney releases new banner for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES

With the worldwide release of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides only two months away, Disney has released a new banner for the film. It features Captain Jack Sparrow (yes, we have heard of him) with both arms fully extended and a pistol in each hand. You can see the banner HERE.

If the pirate skull-wearing-a-bandana in the right corner of the banner looks a bit different to you, you’re right! The skull has undergone some transformations for the newest POTC voyage, including (according to Disney) the addition of a mysterious “X” scar on the left side of the face; new beads in the dangling charm; a pearl in the gold front tooth; blond streaks in the hair; skeletons hanging from the last trinket on the beaded dreadlock; a hidden Mickey on the left dreadlock, and swimming mermaids engraved on the hand guard of the right sword. Such details are, of course, best observed when standing in front of a giant poster in a theater near you.

The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for the news; special thanks to Erin Kirkpatrick for sending a large version of the banner. You can read more about On Stranger Tides on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp in Los Angeles on March 11th–new photos!

A clean-shaven Johnny Depp was photographed walking down a street in Los Angeles on Friday, March 11th; to see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE. Those who recall Johnny Depp’s triumphant trip through the Midwest in 2008 while shooting Public Enemies will recognize his British tan leather jacket, familiar from so many photographs; his Infinitum Nihil coffee mug is likewise an old friend. The chambray shirt and white pants are new favorites, seen most recently on Johnny’s trip to Japan last week for the premiere of The Tourist; he wore them to the photocall. To see a full-length view of Johnny walking down the street, CLICK HERE and HERE, and to see another close-up, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photographs; it’s always wonderful to see Johnny out in public. You can read a discussion about the pictures on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

“We became this really bad theater troupe”–Johnny Depp on filming RANGO

In a recent interview with Access Hollywood’s Maria Menounos, Johnny Depp spoke about the unusual process director Gore Verbinski used to record the actors’ voice for his new animated film (and current box office champion) Rango.

MARIA MENOUNOS: In Rango, you guys actually acted out your scenes. Instead of just going into the voice-over booth and doing the voice, you acted it out. Did that help you?

JOHNNY DEPP: It definitely helps. It definitely does. I didn’t want to admit that, initially (laughing) . . . but it definitely helps. Yeah, because it’s like, in a weird way, it’s like all these amazing characters that Gore brought together, we became this really bad theater troupe. So it was like doing the worst regional theater you could possibly be doing, because you’re wandering through, trying to pretend that you’re a lizard or some kind of hedgehog, or whatever it was, on this soundstage, with minimal props, minimal sets.

But ultimately, what it does is, it takes you beyond the idea of motion capture, which becomes sort of emotion capture, and they were able to get, you know, body language and reactions behind the eyes that normally they would have had to sort of make up. So . . . I think it worked really well. Really well.

MARIA MENOUNOS: I saw a little Jack Sparrow there, with all the little poses that the little lizard guy would do. It was cute.

JOHNNY DEPP: (laughing) Yeah, Jack won’t leave me. He won’t leave me alone.

The Zone thanks AnaMaria and Theresa for sharing the Access Hollywood video. You can read much more about Rango on the Zone’s News & Views forum and Porch General Discussion forum.

The Los Angeles Times lobbies for an Oscar for Johnny Depp–for RANGO!

In a fascinating column in today’s Los Angeles Times Awards Tracker blog, Tom O’Neil makes a strong case that Johnny Depp deserves an Oscar nod for his vocal performance in Rango. The only problem is, there is no such category . . . yet. “Rango is such a financial and critical success that it may be an Oscar contender for best animated feature next year, but Depp himself can’t be nominated,” O’Neil writes. Unlike the Emmys, which have presented awards for voice-over performances since 1992, the Oscars don’t have a separate category to honor the contributions of actors to animated films. “Isn’t it time the Academy Awards created one?” O’Neil asks. Yes, indeed!

O’Neil makes an excellent case for creating an Oscar for Best Voice-over Performance in an Animated Film. “Animation is one of the most successful genres of filmmaking,” he points out. And Oscar viewers often complain “that there are too many technical awards and not enough performance ones. Of the two dozen competitive categories, only four Oscars go to actors and actresses.” One more acting award would be welcomed by viewers, performers, and studios, and would recognize the outstanding work done by actors in animated films.

“It’s time for the academy to realize the potential of this untapped goldmine,” concludes O’Neil. “Leading off the first lead voice-over race could be Johnny Depp.”

We heartily agree! It’s time for the Academy Awards to catch up with their younger sibling, the Emmys, and honor the contribution of actors to animation. The recognition is long overdue.

You can read Tom O’Neil’s article HERE. For a discussion of the subject and all things Rango, see the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

“Very excited to film DARK SHADOWS”–an interview with Johnny Depp

In a recent video interview with Collider, journalist Hunter Daniels asked Johnny Depp about his next project, Dark Shadows, which will be directed by Tim Burton. “What is your version of Dark Shadows going to be like,” Daniels asked, “and are you excited to film it?”

JOHNNY DEPP: Very excited to film it. You know, it’s something Tim and I have talked about for a number of years, because we were both fans as kids. You know, you run home at three o’clock in the afternoon to go watch this gothic soap opera on television, with vampires and everything . . . . So . . . let’s see . . . our version . . . it’s something very interesting that’s coming from the screenplay and from the talks that Tim and I have had, which is it retains that sort of bizarre distance that everyone has with one another in terms of the characters. Maybe Barnabas in this version is maybe a little more . . . maybe he waxes a little more poetic now and again, but it’s definitely in keeping with the original. The original series.

In other Dark Shadows news, Helena Bonham Carter has confirmed to the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye that, as rumored, she will play the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, “a psychiatrist with expertise in blood research who, attracted by strange occurrences at an old estate, becomes friendly with the Collins family, led by Barnabas (Johnny Depp), who happens to be a vampire.”

“I thought it would be easier to keep it in the family,” Helena told the reporter. “Tim’s directing, and it’s all the people he collaborates with: Johnny and everyone. It keeps us together as a family. Otherwise, he’s off doing that, and I’m off doing something else, and the kiddies have to go backwards and forwards. It’s only a small part and it will be fun.”

The Zone thanks Theresa and Emma for sharing the interviews; you can read more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

RANGO tops the weekend box office! Congratulations!

“Boosted by a great Saturday, Paramount’s quirky toon Rango opened to an estimated $38 million from 3,917 theaters to score the top opening of the year for a non-holiday weekend,” writes Pamela McLintock of the Hollywood Reporter. Brandon Gray of BoxOfficeMojo notes that Rango approximately doubled the opening weekend gross of Johnny’s previous foray into animation, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride ($19.1 million). Since Rango was filmed in 2D — a rarity for family features now — that box office total is not inflated by 3D ticket prices, either. “To a more modest degree, director Gore Verbinski and Depp may have done for animated Westerns what they did for pirate movies with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise,” Gray writes. “Bolstered by a paucity of family fare, Rango stood out with its distinctive look and sensibility, and the Depp branding helped make its quirks a selling point.”

In addition to its domestic box office, Rango grossed more than $16 million in overseas markets this weekend. The Hollywood Reporter notes, “With its old west theme, Rango played incredibly well in Hispanic markets like Mexico and Argentina, as well as in the Southwest and Western United States. [. . .] Rango easily posted the best debut of an otherwise lackluster year.”

The Zone thanks Emma, SnoopyDances, and Theresa for box-office updates; you can read more about Rango on the Zone’s News & Views forum. Zoners share their personal reviews of the film, and we share the reviews of critics, on our Porch General Discussion forum.

Gore Verbinski’s RANGO, starring Johnny Depp, opens in theaters today!

Gore Verbinski’s first animated feature Rango rides into 3,917 North American movie theaters today, and Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures hope that the green chameleon will jumpstart the sluggish 2011 box office. Since Rango was filmed “in glorious 2D,” as Roger Ebert says in his review, its family-friendly ticket prices will lack the extra boost that 3D tickets bring to opening weekends. But Rango does have an impressive voice cast, led by Johnny Depp as the wannabe Western hero, and featuring Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, and Bill Nighy. Rango also has the most impressive set of rave reviews of any movie this year. For example:

“It is only the first week of March and we are still getting over last year’s award season. But with the release of Gore Verbinski’s Rango, the race for 2011’s Best Animated Feature may have just begun. And may have just ended.” — Erik Childress, eFilmCritic

“In a world choked with animated films — the good, the bad and the ugly — it’s hard to be either original or great. Yet director Gore Verbinski has done both — and without 3-D.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

“The dusty cards of the Old West are reshuffled into a winning hand in Rango, a madly clever animated sagebrush saga with style and wit to burn.” — Todd McCarthy, the Hollywood Reporter

Rango has all the marks of a classic animated film in that you completely forget you’re watching animated talking animals, but anyone disappointed by True Grit will get everything out of this they might hope from a Coen brothers Western.” — Edward Douglas, ComingSoon

“A movie made by outlaw insiders, Rango is the rarest of studio releases: one that stubbornly resists limits. Which is not to say you need cult tastes to enjoy its irreverence. In a vocal performance of extraordinary range, Depp offers something for everyone [. . .]. [E]ach shot is a visual marvel. Really, the animation is so gorgeously rendered, it puts every 3-D effort in recent memory to shame.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

Rango is some kind of a miracle: An animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical, and (gasp!) filmed in glorious 2-D. Its brilliant colors and startling characters spring from the screen and remind us how very, very tired we are of simpleminded little characters bouncing around dimly in 3-D.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Congratulations to Gore Verbinski and his exceptionally talented cast and crew! The Zone thanks Emma, FANtasticJD, DianaJ, Shadowydog, and In-too-Depp for sharing reviews; you can read a wonderful collection, as well as in-person reactions from Zoners who have seen Rango, on the Porch General Discussion forum.