As if Johnny Depp wasn’t cartoonish enough in Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, the actor is re-teaming with the director for the animated film Rango. Depp will give voice to a household pet, I’m guessing a dog, who goes on a crazy adventure full of fun and self-discovery. I may be reading between the lines here, but I believe Rango will be the first animated dog to come out of the closet.

Rango has a home at Paramount Pictures, not exactly the first studio that comes to mind when you think of animated classics. Yes, they produced South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut and Beavis and Butthead Do America, but those both came from existing animated sources. For the last original animated films from Paramount you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find the one-two punch of Bebe’s Kids and Cool World. They can only go up from there. The movie is written by John Logan, who previously wrote Gladiator, The Aviator, and Bats.

Per Variety, Verbinski will work with Industrial Light & Magic on Rango, but it’s not clear if that means ILM will be animating the entire movie. Verbinski does say that ILM’s animation techniques “will allow us to capture and translate every aspect of Johnny’s performance, using it to drive the computer-generated character in a way that has yet to be seen in an animated feature.” So ILM may just be tasked with creating a drunken, slurring, and wobbly CGI dog into someone else’s animated world.

Rango is scheduled for release in March 2011.

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