Depp was once believed to be a lock for playing the titular character in Emir Kusturica’s upcoming film The Seven Friends of Pancho Villa and the Woman With Seven Fingers, but delays on the project and too many upcoming obligations on his plate have forced him to step back from the role. This couldn’t have been an easy decision as reportedly he and Kusturica are pretty chummy. But what could be seen as a fairly big blow for the developing feature might not be so big of a deal after all. Blic reports that there are already two possible stars likely to step in and take Depp’s place. More good news abounds due to the fact that they are both accomplished actors, and they are both actually Hispanic to some degree. Maybe Pancho Villa didn’t need to be played by the kid from 21 Jump Street after all?

The first guy rumored to play the role is Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. He’s already sucked up big time trying to land the part at the Kustendorf film festival by saying, “I believe Emir is the only director who can do the Pancho Villa story. Even better than any Mexican director. You know why? Because he is a kind of Pancho Villa in his own right.” Okay. Really? In what respect? And if that killer quote wasn’t enough, Bernal goes on to posit, “I will probably land the leading role because of physical resemblance with Pancho Villa.” Can’t argue with that logic, I guess.

Bernal would seem to be a virtual lock for the role, if not for the sheer awesomeness of the other guy that is being rumored to step in: Benicio Del Toro. Sure, Del Toro is a Puerto Rican and not a Mexican like Bernal, but he’s a heck of a lot closer to a Mexican general than whatever Johnny Depp is. Blic didn’t have any comments from Del Toro on the matter, so I’ll just include a quote from myself instead, “Gael Garcia Bernal is an overacting ham and Benicio Del Toro is an acting God walking amongst us mortals. To not go with Del Toro would be a ridiculous error in judgment.”

Whoever lands the role will be playing opposite Salma Hayek, who is already cast as the female lead. That’s a definite perk. Maybe instead of campaigning for Benicio I should be trying to get the part for myself.

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