Warner Bros. "pretty excited" by REX MUNDI script; now this Johnny Depp project needs a director

Two years ago, Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil purchased the rights to REX MUNDI, Arvid Nelson’s series of graphic novels about an alternate history in which the Catholic Church still reigns supreme because Martin Luther was assassinated before the Reformation could take place. Nelson’s story takes place in the 1930s, “in a world where the Inquisition still runs rampant, Europe is ruled by monarchs, but magic manages to exist.” Johnny Depp would play Dr. Julien Sauniere, who embarks on a dangerous investigation involving the disappearance of a medieval scroll. Murders ensue (of course), as Sauniere has to contend with secrets and conspiracies.

The challenge of producing a screenplay went to Jim Uhls, the screenwriter of FIGHT CLUB, who needed to change some details of REX MUNDI’s plot due to the long shadow of THE DA VINCI CODE. Arvid Nelson’s story also involved a search for the Holy Grail and a descendant of Jesus, and although it pre-dates THE DA VINCI CODE, the latter tale is so well-known now that REX MUNDI needed to make some changes.

Jennifer Vineyard of MTV spoke to one of REX MUNDI’s producers, Radical Publishing’s Barry Levine, about the film’s progress. “The second draft is now coming in from Jim,” Levine told MTV, “and Warner Bros. is pretty excited about it. They came up with a couple of names for directors, so now we just need Johnny to look at the list. It all begins and ends with Johnny,” Levine said. “He’s got to be happy with the script, and he gave his notes, so we’ll see what happens next.”

Johnny Depp was drawn to REX MUNDI because “Johnny has an interest in the Templar Knights,” Levine explained. “He loves that kind of research [. . .]. He’s not so much a comics guy as a story guy. If it’s a good story, it doesn’t matter.”

The Zone thanks Emma and Gilbert’s Girl for reports on REX MUNDI; you can read more about the project on the News & Views forum. –Part-Time Poet

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