Articles from December 2011

Helena Bonham Carter named to Queen’s New Year Honour list–congratulations!

Cheers to Helena Bonham Carter, who has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire medal (Cbe) in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s Honours list, which acknowledges the public service of British and Commonwealth citizens in a variety of fields including entertainment, industry and government. Ms. Bonham Carter garnered great acclaim (and multiple awards) for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in last year’s Oscar winner, The King’s Speech. With her customary graciousness, Bonham Carter told the British press that she would accept the honor in memory of her father Raymond, who was left severely disabled after a routine operation went wrong: “I always thought my father deserved a medal for facing 25 years of chronic disability with quiet daily heroism so I am delighted to accept such a wonderful honour in his memory.” Well done!

Moviegoers know Bonham Carter for twenty years of stunning and versatile performances, including her roles as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films, Marla Singer in Fight Club, Kate Croy in The Wings of the Dove, and Lucy Honeychurch in A Room with A View. Zoners particularly cherish her work with Johnny Depp, as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, the Bride in Corpse Bride, and Mrs. Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Her next screen appearance with Johnny will be as Dr. Julia Hoffman in Dark Shadows, due in theaters in May; she is also slated to appear in Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, which begins filming in February.

Another trip into “the unknown”– Gore Verbinski talks about THE LONE RANGER

In a recent interview with Edward Douglas of, director Gore Verbinski discussed his next film project, The Lone Ranger, which will re-team him with his Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango star, Johnny Depp. Verbinski stressed that although his last film, Rango, and The Lone Ranger are both Westerns, they have little but their setting in common: the stories are very different.

ComingSoon: I was kind of surprised when I learned you were doing The Lone Ranger because you’d think you got doing a Western out of your system with this [Rango], but I guess it just made you want to do another Western really soon. Was that your thinking when you took that [The Lone Ranger] or did you just like the character?

Verbinski: Yeah, those things were set in motion a long time ago. I’d worked on that script [Lone Ranger] for about 18 months with Justin Haythe. So it’s different. It’s a Western, but it’s a completely different narrative and I just feel like I’ve got my hands on the steering wheel, finally, in terms of having a story that I really . . . I think you have to be able to answer the question, “Why must you tell this story?” Otherwise, you’re going to be halfway through a movie and want to slit your wrists.

ComingSoon: I think when you made the first Pirates movie, a lot of people were shocked [. . .] by what a big success it became. Do you find it’s very different now when you want to make a Lone Ranger movie? I would think people at the studios would be more trusting now that you have many hits. Or is it even harder to make movies like The Lone Ranger, when you know there’s so much baggage and expectations?

Verbinski: It’s really nice to be the underdog. It’s really nice when people say, “They’re crazy. That’s never going to work. What do they think they’re doing?” That’s a great place to be. There’s something reassuring about (it). You feel like you’re doing your job if you’re making executives nervous. When they’re not nervous anymore then you start to get nervous like you’re doing something wrong or you’re not pushing it far enough [. . .].

ComingSoon: I guess that must come from out of your punk background. I think there must be a little bit of that left in you . . . .

Verbinski: Honestly, it’s just an endless education. So if you can reach for things you don’t know how to do, you wake up in the morning, and there’s more kick in your step and you’re leaning into every day because you’re like, “Wow, I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never done this before.” [. . .] I think it’s just nice to [. . .] get into something unknown.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Gore Verbinski interview; you can read more of the ComingSoon interview on the Porch General Discussion forum.

RANGO is “the best and most entertaining animated film of the year,” says the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy

In a year-end summation of the best and worst in animated films in 2011, Hollywood Reporter film critic Todd McCarthy proclaims, “[T]he best and most entertaining animated film for me this year was Rango. A rambunctious, free-spirited mashup of countless cinematic references, this shows director Gore Verbinski making his escape from years in the Caribbean with the feel of a man liberated, putting a wonderful voice cast at the service of a cleverly madcap John Logan script that pushes into unexpected realms verbally and visually.”

McCarthy had high praise for “the film’s pictorial richness” that “often plays the trick of making you suspect the picture was actually shot with a camera rather than animated, so attentive is it to such cinematic niceties as framing, use of color, light and shadow and minute detail; visually, despite its confinement to 2D, the film is as stimulating and inventive as anything in 3D,” McCarthy writes. “To top it off, in the absence of any significant live-action contribution to the genre, Rango did its bit to keep the Western alive in 2011.” You can read the full article HERE.

What wonderful compliments for Gore and all the talented artists who worked on Rango! Happily, come next February, the director will be “doing his bit to keep the Western alive” in the live-action realm, filming The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. We can’t wait to saddle up!

DARK SHADOWS was “a dream job,” says Michelle Pfeiffer

During promotion for her new film New Year’s Eve, three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Pfeiffer couldn’t resist gushing about her experience filming Dark Shadows last summer. Playing Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in an ensemble that includes Johnny Depp, Eva Green, and Helena Bonham Carter was “like a dream job,” Pfeiffer told MTV’s Kara Warner. “[It is] such a fun cast and we had so much fun.” As for her reunion with her Batman Returns director, for whom she played Catwoman, Pfeiffer said, “I just love working with Tim [Burton], I love watching him direct. [There’s] nobody like him. I loved meeting Helena and getting to know her.” Pfeiffer had such a good time on the set that she wouldn’t mind a return engagement: “I hope it’s successful so that we can do a bunch of them because it was such a fantastic, creative group of people.”

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

THE RUM DIARY arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on February 14, 2012!

Here’s a wonderful Valentine’s Day present for Johnny Depp fans: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that it will release The Rum Diary on Blu-ray and DVD on February 14, 2012! Written and directed by Bruce Robinson, the adaptation of the early Hunter S. Thompson novel stars Johnny Depp as expatriate American journalist Paul Kemp, Amber Heard as the femme fatale Chenault, and Aaron Eckhardt as Sanderson, a real estate baron-in-the-making involved in unsavory development deals in 1960s Puerto Rico.

List price for the standard DVD is $30.99, and the Blu-ray is listed at (gulp!) $35.99. Thrifty movie-lovers can take advantage of Amazon’s pre-order price for the Blu-ray, which is a much more budget-friendly $19.99, a $16.00 savings. Check the link HERE.

The Zone thanks Sleepy and Emma for breaking the news, and SnoopyDances for the Amazon link. You can read more about The Rum Diary release on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Author Gregory David Roberts says that SHANTARAM film is “on track”

One of the most lamented casualties of the 2007 Writer’s Guild strike, for members of the Johnny Depp Zone, was the decision of Warner Bros. to halt production on Shantaram; the film of Gregory David Roberts’ epic novel was to be directed by Mira Nair and to star Johnny Depp as the protagonist Lin. Since Warner Bros. put Shantaram in turnaround, we have heard very little about any possible revival of the project, so it is with cautious optimism (and fingers crossed) that we report a comment posted by the author, Gregory David Roberts, on his Shantaram blog last month.

“As a final note, the movie version of Shantaram, purchased by Johnny Depp, Graham King and Warner Brothers, is still very much on track,” writes Roberts. “As with several other production companies and partners, they are waiting for me to finish this new novel, TMS [The Mountain Shadow, a sequel to Shantaram], so that I can concentrate on the film of Shantaram, and other projects.”

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for finding and sharing Mr. Roberts’ comment; we hope there will be more positive news about Shantaram in the coming year. You can read more about Mr. Roberts’ blog post on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum.

British actor James Frain joins THE LONE RANGER cast!

British actor James Frain, pictured at left, has joined the cast of Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp as Tonto, Armie Hammer as the Ranger, and Helena Bonham Carter as a frontier madam. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Frain will play “a tough foreman overseeing Chinese and Indian rail workers.” Frain’s character will be in the employ of the railroad baron played by Tom Wilkinson, who is rumored to be “the story’s chief villain.”

Frain recently had a recurring role as a vampire on the popular HBO series True Blood, and he portrayed Thomas Cromwell for three seasons of Showtime’s The Tudors. Other recent appearances include a leading role in the NBC series The Cape, and an appearance in Water for Elephants. To see a larger photo of James Frain, CLICK HERE.

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

Golden Globe nominations for HUGO and RANGO! Congratulations!

Nominations for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning, and although there was no nomination for Johnny Depp as an actor — a rarity in recent years — both Hugo (which Johnny helped produce through his company Infinitum Nihil) and Rango were honored. Hugo received nominations for Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Director, Martin Scorsese; and Best Original Score, Howard Shore. Gore Verbinski’s Rango was nominated for Best Animated Film, along with The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Cars2, and Puss in Boots.

The Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday night, January 15, 2012, at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific). Good luck to all the nominees, and congratulations on your achievement!

The Zone thanks Gilbert’s Girl and FantasticJD for breaking the news; you can read more about the Golden Globes on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

HUGO nominated for 11 Critic’s Choice Awards; RANGO nominated for Best Animated Feature

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, produced by Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and GK Films, received a stunning 11 nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for their 17th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Hugo scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Young Actor/Actress (Asa Butterfield), as well as nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects. Wow!

Gore Verbinski’s Rango, for which Johnny Depp voiced the title character, was nominated for Best Animated Feature.

The Zone congratulates all the nominees. The 2012 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at the Hollywood Paladium, and will be broadcast live on VH1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Many thanks to Shadowydog for sharing the news; you can read more about the Critic’s Choice Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

RANGO nominated for nine Annie Awards!

Congratulations to Gore Verbinski and the talented artists who created Rango, which was honored today with nine nominations for the Annie Awards. Presented by the International Animated Film Society, the Annies are considered to be the highest honor bestowed on animated film. Rango was nominated as Best Animated Feature, and Gore Verbinski for Directing in a Feature Production. Other nominations for Rango include:

Animated Effects in an Animated Production — Chase Cooper, Rango
Animated Effects in an Animated Production — Willi Geiger, Rango

Character Design in a Feature Production — Mark “Crash” McCreery, Rango

Storyboarding in a Feature Production — Delia Gosman, Rango
Storyboarding in a Feature Production — Josh Hayes, Rango

Writing in a Feature Production — John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit, Rango

Editing in a Feature Production — Craig Wood, A.C.E., Rango

Congratulations also go to Branko Grujcic, who has been nominated for Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Winners of the Annie Awards will be announced in a ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday, February 4, 2012. Good luck to all the nominees!

The Zone thanks Moviemom for sharing the news; you can read more about the Annie Awards on the Zone’s News & Views forum.