Articles from November 2011

Gore Verbinski’s new LONE RANGER film is “built around Tonto”

In a recent interview with MTV News, director Gore Verbinski spoke about his resurrected version of The Lone Ranger, now due to begin shooting in New Mexico in February. With the budget squabble with Disney safely behind him, Verbinski expressed pleasure about Lone Ranger‘s new release date of May 31, 2013. “I feel great. [. . . T]he whole thing is pushed into a more reasonable time of year, so now we have to go make the movie. There’s been a lot of talk. Hopefully in a year and a half, we’ll have something we can talk about.”

MTV reports that Verbinski has been “hard at work on the screenplay for two years” and that the central character, this time around, is not the Ranger. “It’s all built around Tonto,” the director declared. “You’ve heard the Lone Ranger’s story; you just haven’t heard it told from this guy, and he was there.”

Verbinski’s description of the script dovetails with comments Johnny has made about playing Tonto. “I like the character,” Johnny told MTV during a previous interview. “I think I have interesting plans for the character, and I think the film itself could be very entertaining and very funny. But also I like the idea of having the opportunity to make fun of the idea of the Indian as the sidekick — which has always been [the case] throughout the history of Hollywood.”

Johnny would like to rewrite that bit of Hollywood history, and take the portrayal of Tonto in a new direction. “The Native American has always been a second-class, third-class, fourth-class, fifth-class citizen, and I don’t see Tonto that way at all,” Johnny said. “So it’s an opportunity for me to salute Native Americans.”

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the MTV interview; you can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Eva Green calls DARK SHADOWS “the most beautiful shoot of my life”

French actress Eva Green, who plays the passionate and vengeful witch Angelique in Tim Burton’s new version of Dark Shadows, told L’Express in a recent interview that she was thrilled to have the chance to work with Burton. “Tim Burton is a filmmaker and a painter that I worship. I visited, I don’t know how many times, his exhibition at the MoMA, New York City. . . . When he called me, I was so delighted.”

Still, Ms. Green found her first few days on the set rather intimidating. As soon as she got the role of Angelique, “I started to put a lot of pressure on myself,” she admitted. “I am always anxious before shooting — this time, I was petrified. The first two weeks were really difficult. I was fazed by Johnny Depp, and, most of all, by Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays my rival in the movie.”

But her director soon found a way to put her at ease. “Tim believed in me and he did everything to make me feel comfortable,” she told L’Express. “Finally, it was the most beautiful shoot of my life.”

Dark Shadows arrives in theaters next May. You can read more about the film, and the L’Express interview with Eva Green, on the Dark Shadows thread on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

New Johnny Depp interview with Douglas Brinkley featured in ASPEN PEAK magazine

Johnny Depp graces the current cover of Aspen Peak magazine, which includes a wonderful feature article called “Johnny Depp’s Rum Diary Promise.” The author, Douglas Brinkley, is a renowned historian and writer, currently a professor at Rice University and literary executor of Hunter S. Thompson’s estate, and a longtime friend of Hunter and (of course) Johnny. “Making The Rum Diary was my fulfillment of a promise I had made to Hunter,” Johnny told Brinkley. “I had found the novel before it was published at Owl Farm. Hunter had it in his basement archive -— The War Room -— just lying around. I was floored by the elegant prose. I couldn’t believe he wrote it when he was only 22! And together we decided to make a motion picture out of Rum. From the start it was collaborative. Now I’ve fulfilled the deal.”

Brinkley sees Bruce Robinson’s film of The Rum Diary as “perfectly” capturing the distinct HST “voice made of ink and rage.” Brinkley writes, “Even though The Rum Diary‘s characters are seedy, marginal, booze-soaked, depraved, and disheveled, they all have heart.” Johnny Depp agrees. During the filming, “Hunter’s spirit was with us every minute. We visited all of his old haunts. We put a picture of Hunter on a chair along with a bottle of Chivas Regal. We channeled him.”

Brinkley notes that Johnny might not be done playing “the Hunterfigure;” he suggests that eventually Johnny might make films of either The Curse of Lono or Hell’s Angels because, says Brinkley, “You can put the Hunterfigure into any situation and have instant comedy.” Certainly Johnny’s affection for Hunter and his writing is undimmed: “I never tire of him. If I feel blue I think about him and smile.”

The Zone thanks Emma and Theresa for sharing the Douglas Brinkley article. You can read more about it on the Zone’s News & Views forum. To see a larger version of the Aspen Peak cover, CLICK HERE.

“I’ve been very lucky”–Johnny Depp reflects on his success

As Zoners in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, we thought it would be appropriate to look back at Johnny Depp’s interview with Larry King last month . . . specifically at the moments when Mr. King asked Johnny if he “enjoyed the fruits” of his success in films. We are all thankful for Johnny’s work and the joy it has brought us for the past twenty years, but here is what the man himself had to say about his acting career:

JOHNNY DEPP: I’ve been very, very lucky, you know, in a sense that, you know, I mean, how ironic is it that [. . .] —

LARRY KING: You were pumping gas.

JOHNNY DEPP: I was pumping gas, most definitely. Printing T-shirts and selling ink pens, and, you know, anything and everything. Yes. And then the fact that you have a 20-year career of failures and then you do a pirate movie and that buys you an island is pretty — the irony of that is pretty good.

LARRY KING: Do you think about the times when things weren’t so good a lot?

JOHNNY DEPP: Yes, yes. Oh, yes. You know, there was a guy who I worked with many years ago. And we were talking about success and money and all that stuff. And he told me this one thing. He said, you know, money doesn’t change anybody. Money reveals them [. . .] . Same thing with success.

And I believe that [. . .] wholeheartedly. I think I’ve been revealed. I don’t think — I haven’t changed — I’m still exactly the guy that used to pump gas, you know. I’m still the guy that was a mechanic [. . .]. I just happen to have a weird — weirder job at the moment, you know?

Many thanks to Emma for the transcript of the Larry King interview; you can read more about Johnny’s interview with Larry King on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp “feels his costumes more than looks at them”–costume designer Colleen Atwood talks about DARK SHADOWS

In a recent interview with MTV News, Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood described what it’s like to create costumes for Johnny Depp; Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows marks the eighth time they have worked together. “There’s a lot of trust there for both of us, so it’s a nice process,” Atwood said. “Johnny’s very open about what things are in the process, but he really lets people present things to him. He never really pushes at all. Sometimes he doesn’t even look in the mirror in his fittings. It’s so funny. It’s pretty amazing. People would be surprised, because I think they have this image of Johnny, because he’s so stylish always, but he really feels his costumes more than looks at them, and the movement and the feeling in them is really important.”

Regarding the special problems involved in designing costumes for the vampire Barnabas Collins, who cannot be exposed to sunlight, Atwood said, “He plays a vampire who wouldn’t normally go out in the daytime, but we wanted him to be able to have outings, so I did two or three different hat shapes and we tried them once he got his hair and makeup on. I also found these amazing hundred-year-old sunglasses, but they were too small … so I took them and had them copied. And the color of the sunglasses and the color of the hat and his costume coat, which was a really dark green, is one of our favorite combos we’ve come up with in our work together.”

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

Johnny Depp in Los Angeles on November 22–new photos!

The peripatetic Johnny Depp is on the move again . . . after being photographed in New York City on Friday, buying a new guitar, he was spotted on the street in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The photo at left shows Johnny, wearing his familiar blue and brown jacket, taupe fedora and blue sunglasses, approaching a vehicle in sunny LA; to see a larger version, CLICK HERE, and to see a different photo of Johnny walking down the street, CLICK HERE. The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photos.

Vote for Johnny Depp in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Actor of the Year Poll!

Another sign that awards season is upon us: the polls at Entertainment Weekly are now open, so you can vote for your favorites for their annual Entertainers of the Year issue. Delightful news — Johnny Depp has been nominated for Favorite Movie Actor of the Year! Other nominated actors include Jason Bateman, George Clooney, Chris Evans, Zach Galifianakis, Ryan Gosling, Chris Hemsworth, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, and Alan Rickman. You can cast a vote for Johnny HERE. But be quick about it, because the Entertainment Weekly polls close on Wednesday, November 23 at 11:59 p.m.!

The EW Entertainers of the Year issue will be on newsstands on December 9th. The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the news.

Johnny Depp buys guitar in New York City–new photos!

It can be a challenge to track down the whereabouts of Johnny Depp when he’s not filming or promoting a film, but we know where he was on Friday, November 18th — he was in New York City! Johnny was photographed at Matt Umanov Guitars in Manhattan’s West Village, where he purchased a new acoustic guitar to add to his impressive collection. For a larger version of the photo of Johnny at left, CLICK HERE. You can see other photos of Johnny holding and playing a guitar HERE and HERE. For a photo of Johnny leaving the guitar store, with Jerry Judge leading the way, CLICK HERE; one of Johnny’s assistants emerged carrying a black guitar case, presumably holding the new purchase. You can see Johnny walking down the street HERE.

The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photos. Enjoy your new guitar, Johnny!

Hi-yo, Silver! THE LONE RANGER is back in production and looking for extras in New Mexico

Good news for our friends in the Land of Enchantment, otherwise known as New Mexico: crews have resumed construction on sets for the new Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer version of The Lone Ranger , and a casting call has been issued for extras. According to ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, the search is on for actors, “specifically a 9 to 11-year-old Native American boy for a speaking part — for the upcoming production called Silver Bullet. The casting call is also seeking extras, particularly Native American males or females of all ages who can ride a horse.” Since it is common practice to issue a casting call for a major motion picture under a false title, and since the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets were an essential part of his mythology, it’s not too difficult to guess which film is being cast.

If you are Native American and an experienced rider, or the proud parent or guardian of a talented young Native American boy, call 505-368-2490 to schedule an audition.

The Lone Ranger, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Ranger, is scheduled to begin filming in February.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the story; you can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Rob Marshall says THE THIN MAN, starring Johnny Depp, will be “a reimagination,” not “a remake”

In a recent interview with Jennifer Vineyard of, director Rob Marshall discussed his plans to film The Thin Man with Johnny Depp as urbane, witty sleuth Nick Charles. Since the original The Thin Man, which starred William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, received Oscar nominations in 1934 for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay, those are big (gum)shoes to fill. Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Shattered Glass) is writing the screenplay, which Marshall says will be not a remake of the 1934 classic, but rather “a reimagination.” Ray is “the first writer who’s actually writing a draft,” Marshall said; although both Jerry Stahl and David Koepp had been announced as writers for the project, “we hadn’t really started with either of them, with Jerry or David. Neither had written a word. Billy is the first writer who’s actually writing a draft.”

The “reimagination” of The Thin Man will keep its “incredible [. . .] iconic characters” intact, Marshall assures us, as well as its original setting. “We’ll be setting it in the ’30s, because it is of that world. It’s an era that we have a great affinity for. So we’re going to be able to inhabit a world that we really, truly love … .”

The key role of Nora Charles has yet to be cast, but whoever plays Nora needs to have “humor and an effortlessness,” as well as “elegance. That’s not something that’s easy to find!” Marshall said. And of course, Nora will need to have great chemistry with Nick. “It’s about this relationship. The core of all these wonderful thrillers is always that great relationship with each other. That’s what drew us to it, and what drew Johnny to it.”

Marshall plans to shoot The Thin Man next year, with a targeted 2013 release. We can’t wait!

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Rob Marshall interview; you can read more about his plans for The Thin Man on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp nominated for People’s Choice Awards–vote now!

Awards season is fast approaching, and one sure sign of the season is the opportunity to vote for Johnny Depp in the People’s Choice Awards. Johnny has once again been nominated as Favorite Movie Actor; his fellow nominees are Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Jackman, Robert Pattinson, and Ryan Reynolds. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has been nominated as Favorite Movie, along with Bridesmaids, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Help, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The delightful actors of On Stranger Tides have been nominated as Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast: the other nominated ensembles are Bridesmaids; The Hangover Part II; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; and X-Men: First Class.

Johnny’s outstanding work as the title character in Gore Verbinski’s animated Western Rango has also been recognized with a People’s Choice nomination for Favorite Animated Movie Voice. Other nominees include Anne Hathaway as Jewel in Rio; Jack Black as Po in Kung Fu Panda 2; Katy Perry as Smurfette in The Smurfs; and Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen in Cars 2.

You can cast your vote on the People’s Choice Awards website HERE. You can also vote via Facebook, Twitter, or mobile app; find the details for your voting platform of choice HERE.

Voting is currently open and will close for Johnny’s categories on Dec. 6, 2011. Winners will be revealed during the live broadcast of the People’s Choice Awards 2012 on CBS on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012.

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

Congratulations, Johnny! And congratulations to the cast of On Stranger Tides and all who worked on On Stranger Tides and Rango.

Johnny Depp at the Paris premiere of THE RUM DIARY–new photos!

The photo at left shows Johnny Depp posing near a poster for The Rum Diary at the Paris premiere of the film on Tuesday, November 8th; to see a larger version of the picture, CLICK HERE. Johnny took a more casual approach for this premiere, appearing in a brown shirt with rolled-up shirtsleeves and a navy pinstriped vest. For other views of Johnny at the premiere, CLICK HERE, HERE, and HERE. Joining Johnny at the premiere were co-star Amber Heard, who plays Chenault, and director Bruce Robinson. To see a photo of Johnny with Amber, CLICK HERE, and to see a picture of Johnny, Amber, and Bruce, CLICK HERE.

The Zone thanks Aida, HonestGirl and Theresa for sharing photos; you can read more about promotion for The Rum Diary, including all the premieres, on the Zone’s News & Views forum. Zoner reaction to the new pictures is on the Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp returns to Paris–new photos!

Johnny Depp waved to well-wishers as he left the Plaza Athenee hotel in Paris today; he is in Paris for the French premiere of The Rum Diary tomorrow, and was scheduled to tape a television appearance on Le Grand Journal Canal+ today. To see a larger version of the picture of Johnny waving, with security chief Jerry Judge over Johnny’s shoulder, CLICK HERE. You can see photos of Johnny emerging from the Plaza Athenee HERE, HERE, and HERE. Johnny flashes a winning smile to the crowd as he enters his SUV HERE.

The Zone thanks Aida and HonestGirl for sharing the photos. You can read more about The Rum Diary‘s French premiere on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The premiere is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, at Gaumont Champs-Elysées – Marignan.

Johnny Depp on UK’s THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW–new video!

Johnny Depp joined Ricky Gervais and actress Carey Mulligan on The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 on Friday night, and took part in a wide-ranging and witty conversation with the host and his fellow guests. Here’s a clip of Johnny talking about his first meeting with Hunter Thompson:

U.S. Zoners can watch this episode of The Graham Norton Show on BBC America on Saturday, November 12th at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. Clips are also available on YouTube.

Many thanks to Aida and Theresa for the video; you can read more about Johnny’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show and other promotional activities in the UK on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp speaks to students at the Oxford Union–new photos!

Johnny Depp and Bruce Robinson took their road show to the hallowed halls of Oxford on Saturday night, as they screened The Rum Diary and spoke to an audience of 500 students at the Oxford Union. Demand was so intense that Union president Izzy Westbury had to resort to a ballot system to award the tickets for the Depp-Robinson Q&A; she told the BBC that “she was putting all the applications in a spreadsheet and then ‘pressing the random button.'” Tweets and blog posts from students report that Johnny was charming, witty, and entertaining; @TheWandererMag sent this tweet: “Just been to see Johnny Depp speak at the Oxford Union; a great charismatic speaker.”

To see a larger version of the portrait of Johnny at the Oxford Union, CLICK HERE, and to see pictures of the panel discussion, CLICK HERE and HERE. Many thanks to @JoolsAshton for sharing a personal photo of Johnny outside the Union in a throng of well-wishers; you can see it HERE. Visit Tam’s OX eh MORON blog to see a great set of photos taken at the event HERE.

Many thanks to Emma for sharing articles, pictures, and tweets, and to Theresa for pictures. You can read much more about Johnny’s visit to Oxford on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp at London premiere of THE RUM DIARY–new photos!

Johnny Depp saluted fans who waited for his arrival on the red carpet for the London premiere of The Rum Diary on November 3rd — the weather was less than ideal, but the reception for Johnny, director Bruce Robinson, and co-star Amber Heard, was warm and enthusiastic. Johnny looked dapper in a navy three-piece suit and a navy shirt; to see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE, and to see a more formal portrait of Johnny, CLICK HERE. He assured reporters of his pride in the film, which took more than ten years to reach the screen: “It comes from the brain of Hunter S. Thompson at the helm of Bruce Robinson,” Johnny said. “It’s everything and more that I wanted it to be, and Hunter wanted it to be.”

You can see Johnny walking the red carpet with security chief Jerry Judge in the background HERE, and lending support to Amber Heard in her stunningly high stilettos HERE. Johnny, Amber, and Bruce Robinson share a laugh on the red carpet HERE.

Of course Johnny found time to greet well-wishers and sign autographs . . . you can see a charming photo of him signing for a very young admirer HERE.

The Zone thanks Evockha, Aida, HonestGirl and Theresa for sharing photos of the London premiere; you can read more about the event on the Zone’s News & Views forum and read Zoner’s accounts of their meetings with Johnny on the Porch General Discussion forum. The Rum Diary opens in the UK on November 11th.

Happy 8th Birthday to Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club!

The Johnny Depp Zone is delighted to celebrate the 8th 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!

Our birthday card, showing Johnny rocking out with Keith Richards at the Rum Diary premiere afterparty in Manhattan a few nights ago, pays tribute to ONBC’s current book discussion, Keef’s award-winning autobiography Life. It’s a great time to stop by the ONBC forum and sample the discussion, if you aren’t already familiar with the Noodlemantras. Life is the 40th book read and discussed by ONBC during 8 lively years (two favorites returned for encores — The Rum Diary and The Libertine). We look forward to many more!

The Zone congratulates Liz and DITHOT on ONBC’s 8th birthday and thanks them for their dedication, enthusiasm, and outstanding leadership. Day in and day out, you always give us so much to be proud of on the Zone, as you celebrate Johnny Depp in your unique and insightful way. Thanks for helping us to appreciate Johnny, great writing, and life itself, more every day!