Very sad news–Oscar-winning producer Richard Zanuck dies of heart attack

Beloved producer Richard D. Zanuck died today at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack; Mr. Zanuck was 77. Johnny Depp fans know and love Mr. Zanuck for his fearless championing of the work of Tim Burton: Mr. Zanuck produced Tim’s Planet of the Apes and Big Fish, as well as the Burton-Depp collaborations Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and this year’s Dark Shadows. The son of 20th Century-Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, Richard Zanuck grew up in the movie business and spent his life as a studio executive and, later, an independent producer. While executive VP at Fox, Mr. Zanuck shepherded classics like The Sound of Music, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Patton, and The French Connection to the screen; later, with partner David Brown, Zanuck produced 1973’s Best Picture The Sting, and Steven Spielberg’s first big-screen successes, The Sugarland Express and Jaws.

Zanuck and Brown produced 1989’s Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy; they also were honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1991 and the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. Mr. Zanuck is survived by his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, his sons Harrison and Dean, and nine grandchildren.

The Zone thanks Chenault for sharing the news; you can read more about Richard Zanuck on the Zone’s News & Views forum. We send our condolences to Mr. Zanuck’s family and to the artists who were privileged to work with him over the years. We know how much he will be missed, and we grieve with you.

Surprise! Disney gives a first look at THE LONE RANGER to Comic Con attendees

Disney delighted the Comic Con attendees who packed Hall H for their panel discussion of upcoming attractions on Thursday by ending their presentation with a brief but action-packed glimpse of footage from Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger. Although viewers didn’t get to see much in the way of character development in the footage shown, Entertainment Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican feels safe in reporting that “Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are focusing on a more serious Lone Ranger instead of the jokey version some worried was coming down the tracks. [. . .] Those looking for a darker take on The Lone Ranger will be pleased by the intense tone and focus on action over humor.”

Despite the ballyhoo over the movie’s budget, CinemaBlend’s Katie Rich reports that Disney is getting plenty of visual bang for its buck(s). “[D]irector Gore Verbinski has been famously battling for a bigger budget — which really seems to be paying off, it’s fair to say, from what we saw in that trailer. The movie version of The Lone Ranger is obviously going to be a great deal bigger than the old TV show, and the sets — from a saloon hall to a train station to the incredible expanse of Monument Valley — look worth the expense. If the movie is about the real, rough-and-tumble action of men jumping on trains and chasing each other on horseback, we could be in for an enormous but somewhat old-school kind of action Western.”

There’s no word yet about when the Lone Ranger footage might be available online, but we’ll keep a sharp eye.

The Zone thanks FANtasticJD, ~SB, Maritza1,and Sleepy for sharing news. You can read more about The Lone Ranger, including the Comic Con presentation, on the Zone’s News & Views forum. The Entertainment Weekly article is available HERE and the CinemaBlend article is available HERE.