Articles from January 2012

Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club reads Dashiell Hammett’s THE THIN MAN–tidbits begin today!

Zoners reacted with delight to last spring’s announcement that Johnny Depp would star in a remake of the all-time-great mystery The Thin Man for Warner Bros., to be directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). Oprah Noodlemantra’s Book Club will get us in the mood to sleuth along with Nick and Nora Charles with their first book discussion of 2012, The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett’s famous novel of chicanery and murder. The photo at left shows Johnny Depp with Myrna Loy, the silver screen’s original Nora Charles; that’s part of Liz’s clever promotional artwork for the ONBC discussion. You can see Liz’s poster for The Thin Man HERE.

Background tidbits begin on ONBC today; the discussion gets underway on February 20th. Join our ONBC moderators, Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas, for a lively and penetrating exploration of a true American classic . . . everyone is welcome!

At the SAG Awards, Armie Hammer talks about THE LONE RANGER: “We go out to New Mexico in a couple of days”

Armie Hammer, cast as the Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp’s Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s upcoming reboot of the classic Western, told reporters at the SAG Awards that he will saddle up and don the Ranger’s signature black mask very soon. “We go out to New Mexico in a couple of days,” Hammer told Access Hollywood. “We’re starting all the pre-production stuff.” He repeated that information in an interview with PopSugar, and confided that it was “exciting” to have such a busy schedule (the actor just completed a high-profile role as Prince Charming opposite Julia Roberts in Mirror, Mirror, after playing J. Edgar‘s prince charming, Clyde Tolson, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio). “I have a job after this job,” Hammer said, “which is like, in terms of actor jobs, very rare.”

Hammer told PopSugar that he hasn’t yet had the chance to meet Johnny, but that will happen soon because pre-production work is starting. Asked where they will be shooting, Hammer replied, “Really all over the Southwest [. . . .] I think a lot in [. . .] New Mexico. Anywhere there’s a good barren plain we can abuse.”

The Zone thanks Emma and FANtasticJD for sharing the Armie Hammer interviews; you can read more about The Lone Ranger on the Zone’s News & Views forum. A video clip of Hammer’s interview with PopSugar is available HERE.

Infinitum Nihil and GK Films buy Western screenplay, DESPERATE HOURS

Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, and Graham King’s GK Films have just acquired E. Nicholar Mariana’s Western screenplay Desperate Hours. Named to the prestigious “Black List,” a yearly ranking by industry insiders of screenplays considered most promising commercially and artistically, Desperate Hours is a Western “in the vein of High Noon,” according to Variety. The story revolves around a widowed rancher “who bands together with his neighbors to battle a group of mobsters who have come from the industrialized East looking to overtake the Western town and collect a girl with a mysterious past.” Of course this leads to “an explosive showdown” in the tradition of great Westerns . . . .

Desperate Hours will be produced by Graham King and Tim Headington for GK Films and Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski for Infinitum Nihil. The two companies recently produced Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, and are in post-production on Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows for Warner Bros. According to Variety, Infinitum Nihil and GK Films also share several other projects in development at Warners, including Shantaram, Attica, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates.

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the news; you can read more about Infinitum Nihil’s latest acquisition on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Academy Award nomination is “beyond wildest hopes,” says RANGO writer James Ward Byrkit

In an interview with Michael Cavna of the Washington Post, Rango storyboard artist and writer James Ward Byrkit shared his joy over the film’s Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. “We’re thrilled that what started as a homemade project in Gore’s living room actually made it all the way to this [an Oscar nomination],” Byrkit said. “It’s beyond our wildest hopes that the little lizard who dreamed of having an audience will get to bask in the spotlight for one mad moment. Absolutely amazing.” Byrkit has every right to be proud of his accomplishments: not only is he nominated for an Annie for writing Rango, sharing story credit with John Logan and Gore Verbinski, but he voices half-a-dozen of the film’s characters!

The Zone congratulates the entire Rango team on its well-deserved Oscar nomination; you can read more on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Michael Cavna article is available HERE.

HUGO leads Academy Award contenders with 11 nominations; RANGO nominated for Best Animated Film

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, produced by Scorsese, Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and GK Films, was honored with 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director! Hugo‘s 11 nominations lead this year’s field, followed by Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, with 10 nods. Hugo scored nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorsese), and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Logan), as well as Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Wow!

Gore Verbinski’s Rango, for which Johnny Depp voiced the title character, was nominated for Best Animated Film. Other nominees include A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Puss in Boots.

The Zone congratulates all the nominees; you can find a full list HERE. The 84th Academy Awards ceremony will be televised on ABC on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Many thanks to Gilbert’s Girl for sharing the news; you can read more about the Oscars on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp wins Harris poll as “America’s favorite actor”–congratulations!

For the second year in a row, Johnny Depp has topped the Harris poll as “America’s favorite actor!” The Harris organization has conducted its “favorite actor” poll annually since 1994; Johnny first appeared among the top ten finishers in 2003, the year of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and has placed consistently among the top ten most-beloved actors every year since, with second-place finishes in 2005 and 2009. Outstanding!

According to the Harris poll, America’s favorite actors in 2011 were (in order of finish) Johnny Depp; Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington (tied for 2nd place); Tom Hanks; John Wayne; George Clooney; Sandra Bullock (the only female actor on the list); Harrison Ford; Will Smith; and Adam Sandler.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the news; you can read more about the Harris poll results on the Zone’s News & View forum.

Congratulations, Johnny!

Johnny Depp onstage at 2012 Golden Globe Awards–new photos!

A dapper, light-hearted Johnny Depp got the 2012 Golden Globe Awards off to a charming start tonight as he introduced Best Motion Picture — Drama nominee Hugo, a film his company Infinitum Nihil helped to produce. Johnny also took some good-natured ribbing from Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, who introduced him as a man “who will literally wear anything Tim Burton tells him.” For his Globes appearance, Johnny donned a tuxedo but left his white shirt open at the neck — no tie — and enlivened the traditional black-and-white with a moss green vest. To see a photo of Johnny at the Golden Globes podium, CLICK HERE, and to see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE.

True to form, Gervais didn’t hesitate to ask Johnny if he had yet seen The Tourist, the film Gervais mercilessly skewered during his Golden Globes monologue a year ago. “Uh, no,” Johnny replied, to the audience’s delight — of course that reply is to be expected, since Johnny never watches any of his films. “Oh, boy, he’s fun,” Johnny added as Gervais left the stage. You can see photos of Johnny’s friendly interaction with Gervais HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The Zone thanks Theresa and Evochka for sharing photos; you can read more about Johnny’s appearance at the Golden Globes on the Zone’s Pit General Discussion forum.

The Zone extends our warmest congratulations to Martin Scorsese, winner of the Golden Globe for Best Director for Hugo. Outstanding!

RANGO wins Critics’ Choice Award for Best Animated Feature!

Rango won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Animated Feature — congratulations to Gore Verbinski and all of the artists who worked on the film! In his acceptance speech, Verbinski said, “Thanks for this tonight. It’s a tremendous honor.” He paid tribute to artist Crash McCreery, responsible for the unique look of the inhabitants of Rango‘s desert town, and to the geniuses at ILM who brought the storyboards to life, and to the actor whose imitation of a lizard running on water inspired the idea for the film: Johnny Depp. Rango is Verbinski’s first animated feature; he seems to have gotten the hang of it in a hurry!

The Zone thanks Thespian at Heart for sharing the news, and Theresa for sharing a video clip of Verbinski’s acceptance speech. You can read more about Rango‘s Critics’ Choice win on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

The Zone congratulates the artists who made Rango such a unique delight — artists, animators, actors, and musicians — and salutes Gore Verbinski for keeping faith in his project from inception to completion to awards. Bravo!


The 2012 Forecast issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands January 13, 2012 (cover date January 20), includes Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows among the year’s most-anticipated movies, and features a new image from the film along with the standard synopsis. (You can see the photo as our current Picture of the Week.) The photo depicts Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the present owner of Collinwood Manor. The marvelous ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter as psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman, Eva Green as the witch Angelique Bouchard, Jackie Earle Haley as caretaker Willie Loomis, Jonny Lee Miller as Elizabeth’s brother Roger Collins, Bella Heathcote as governess Victoria Winters, Chloe Moretz as Elizabeth’s daughter Carolyn, Thomas McDonell as the young Barnabas, and newcomer Gulliver McGrath as Roger’s 10-year-old son David.

Dark Shadows arrives in theaters “in glorious 2D” on May 11, 2012. We’ll be waiting!

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for breaking the news; you can read more about Dark Shadows on the Zone’s News & Views forum, and Zone reaction to the new Dark Shadows photo on the Pit General Discussion forum.

Johnny Depp wins two People’s Choice Awards! Congratulations!

Johnny Depp continued his fantastic string of successes at the People’s Choice Awards, winning this year’s award for Favorite Movie Actor! Congratulations! Other nominees for Favorite Movie Actor were Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Jackman, Robert Pattinson, and Ryan Reynolds. Johnny also triumphed in a new category this year: he won Favorite Animated Movie Voice for his work as the title character in Rango. Other nominees were Anne Hathaway for Rio, Jack Black for Kung Fu Panda 2, Katy Perry for The Smurfs, and Owen Wilson for Cars 2. You wouldn’t have known about Johnny’s wins from watching the two-hour awards show on CBS on Wednesday night, however, since Johnny was not present at the ceremony and neither category was mentioned on the air. Rather frustrating for those who voted . . . however, you can see the complete list of winners on the People’s Choice web site HERE.

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

We offer Johnny Depp our sincere congratulations on his victories. Huzzah!

Up next for Rob Marshall? Either THE THIN MAN or Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS

Good things are happening for director Rob Marshall: not only did his most recent feature, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, gross more than $1 billion worldwide, but he has also just signed a two-year deal with Disney, for whom he will direct Stephen Sondheim’s classic Broadway musical Into the Woods. Also on Marshall’s schedule is a remake of the Dashiell Hammett mystery classic The Thin Man for Warner Bros., to star Johnny Depp and the (still uncast) luckiest actress in Hollywood as married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles.

No cast is yet attached to Into the Woods, which intertwines several familiar fairytale characters, including Cinderella, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood, with the story of a baker and his wife’s attempt to have a family. According to the Hollywood Reporter, James Lapine, who co-authored the musical with Sondheim in the 1980s, “is at work on a script, which Marshall expects to feature new songs by Sondheim.” Wow!

Presently Marshall “is at his home base in New York, collaborating extensively on Woods and Thin Man, uncertain which will go first,” writes the Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway.

“Usually the movie tells you. I’ve been working with Billy Ray on Thin Man and he’s writing as we speak,” Marshall said. “We are very close to having a first draft.”

Apparently both The Thin Man and Into the Woods are likely to be filmed before any future installment of Pirates of the Caribbean; Marshall reports that Terry Rossio is currently at work on a new script. However, says Marshall, “You want to make sure you are asking the audience to come back to see an exciting adventure and it has to reach that caliber, and if not there’s no reason to do it.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the interview with Rob Marshall; you can read more on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum. Stephen Galloway’s article is available HERE.

Announcing eight new additions to the Zone’s Interview Archive!

Here’s a special New Year’s gift for Zone readers and Johnny Depp fans everywhere . . . eight new additions to the Johnny Depp Zone Interview Archive! The earliest interviews in this set, by Heather Wadowski for Film Threat and David Grove for Upbeat Magazine, date from 2001 during the promotion for From Hell.

We have also added four interviews from the busy year of 2010: George Hadley-Garcia’s article for The Japan Times (January); Mark Salisbury’s charming visit behind-the-scenes of Alice in Wonderland (February); Cindy Pearlman’s brief but revealing interview with Johnny during the promotion for Alice in Wonderland (February); and the Entertainment Weekly cover story on The Tourist (November).

Finally, we’re getting a start on 2011 interviews (another very busy year!) with Patti Smith’s interview with Johnny for Vanity Fair in January and Martyn Palmer’s excellent profile from The Rum Diary promotion in October. You can find the interviews HERE; just click on the links at the bottom of the page.

The Zone thanks Joni, Theresa, Emma, FANtasticJD and Part-Time Poet for sharing the articles, and Theresa for preparing and coding the interviews for the Archives.

“It comes down to trust”–Gore Verbinski on his film collaborations with Johnny Depp

In a recent interview with Christy Grosz of Variety, Gore Verbinski talked about his working relationship with Johnny Depp . . . a very successful collaboration that includes the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and last year’s critical and commercial hit, Rango. Now, as the pair prepares to hit the dusty trail to film The Lone Ranger, Grosz asked the director to explain “what works well” in their relationship.

“I think it comes down to trust,” Verbinski replied, and gave the genesis of Rango as an example. “We had just started shooting the second Pirates, and I was talking to him about this lizard project, this chameleon with an identity crisis in the West, and he was just like, ‘I’ll do that!’ Never read a script. We didn’t talk much more about it. From time to time, I’d say, ‘Here’s what I’m doing on the lizard project.’ We obviously wouldn’t have gotten the film made if he wasn’t on board,” Verbinski added.

As for Johnny’s improvisatory acting style, the director explained that the process is actually very efficient — there’s very little waste of time or resources. “He’s very much a two- or three-take actor and really knows where the camera is. He isn’t sort of improvising in a way that is unusable when you get into the edit room. (He gives) seemingly wild performances, but they’re actually in a frame, and that’s really wonderful for a director. He’s very in control of his instrument.”

Verbinski also appreciates Johnny’s willingness to take risks. “(Having that) relationship with an actor where he’s willing to throw those eggs against a wall, that’s where the joy comes in,” he told Variety. “We’re both fans of the awkward moment.” Of course . . . because that’s where character is revealed.

The Zone thanks Emma for sharing the Verbinski interview; you can read more on the Porch General Discussion forum.

HUGO and RANGO nominated for Producer’s Guild Awards–congratulations!

The Producers Guild of America has nominated ten films for its top feature film award, the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures — and one of those ten films is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo! Congratulations! We are thrilled to see an Infinitum Nihil production on such a prestigious list, and to see the tremendous creativity and artistry of Hugo recognized by the Producers Guild. Other nominees include The Artist, War Horse, Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants, The Ides of March, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, and Moneyball.

Gore Verbinski’s Rango, which features Johnny Depp as the voice of the title character, received a nomination for the Producer Of The Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures: congratulations! The other nominees in the animation category include The Adventures of Tintin, Cars2, Kung Fu Panda2, and Puss in Boots.

The PGA Awards ceremony, which also includes honors for television and news production, will take place on January 21, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD for sharing the news. You can read more about this year’s awards season on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

Johnny Depp in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve–new photos!

Johnny Depp was photographed on the street in Los Angeles on December 31, 2011, but not in connection with any New Year’s Eve celebration: the beautiful woman he is escorting in these pictures is his mother, Betty Sue. To see a larger version of the photo at left, CLICK HERE, and to see photos of Johnny walking his mother toward a waiting SUV, CLICK HERE and HERE. You can definitely see the family resemblance!

The Zone thanks Evochka for sharing the photos, and we send best wishes for a happy 2012 to the entire Depp family.

Happy New Year to the Johnny Depp Zone!

Welcome to 2012 to Zoners everywhere! The new year promises to bring wonderful moments to those who follow Johnny Depp’s career; we’re looking forward to seeing Johnny play the role of Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s new version of The Lone Ranger, with Armie Hammer as the Ranger, and Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkinson heading the supporting cast. Filming will begin in February; hi-ho, Silver! February will also bring the release of The Rum Diary on Blu-ray and DVD, for your viewing pleasure. And in May we’ll see the theatrical release of the long-anticipated film update of Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny as the iconic vampire Barnabas Collins. And that’s just what the first half of 2012 has waiting in the wings!

Join us for the next stage of the journey . . . we can’t wait to see the surprises that 2012 will bring.

Many thanks to Moonbeam for designing the beautiful 2012 New Year artwork. Best wishes to Johnny Depp, his family and associates, and to all our readers for a healthy and joyous 2012!