Johnny Depp

Warner Bros.

If nothing else, Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut deserves points for trying to be big science fiction that’s utterly uninterested in robots, laser beams or future dystopian societies populated with spunky teenage girls. Instead, Transcendence wants to tackle ideas as grand as what it means to be human, the destructive (and redemptive) power of love and the ethical limits of technology. But wanting to do something and actually following through on those intentions are two very different things. Will Caster’s (Johnny Depp) research into artificial intelligence is on the cusp of a major breakthrough, but while his wife (Rebecca Hall), his best friend (Paul Bettany) and the subscribers of Wired magazine are excited by the possibilities, not everyone is as happy. The anti-technology movement acts with a decisive, multi-target attack leaving dozens of scientists and keyboard jockeys dead and Will barely clinging to life. The decision is made to “save” his life by uploading his brain to their quantum processor-powered super computer, but once there his unchecked power becomes a threat to all of mankind. Or something.

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Transcendence

The future is a bleak and terrifying place. It’s already been established in countless films that no matter what we do, we’re doomed, so we might as well just embrace it. There’s no hoverboards, okay? You’re not going to be cruising down the street like Marty McFly, drinking your crazy Pepsi in the far-off glamorous land of 2015. It’s far more likely that we’re either going to bow down to our ape overlords after resisting but ultimately giving up because resistance is futile, or witness the rise of the machines. The singularity is coming. The new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence is spelling out exactly what that means for Johnny Depp and his fellow scientists clearer than ever (It’s destruction). The film follows a brilliant scientist only known at this point as Will (Depp), who is working toward building the singularity — a complex computer system advanced far beyond the knowledge of all other technology or mankind. He and his team have already made headway and are presenting their ideas at a TED-like conference when a group of anti-AI terrorists (led by Kate Mara) take on the dual task of his assassination and destroying his research.

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Dr Orpheus - Venture Bros

Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. (as seen looking scholarly above) is a perfect example of Marvel‘s problem with making a Doctor Strange movie. Mostly because his grand silliness is all I can think about when I imagine someone bringing Strange to life on the big screen. Orpheus is a stellar parody which points out that Strange is dated in a way that, say, Iron Man isn’t. A guy in a flying metal suit with a bunch of munitions makes gut-level sense as a hero. Hell, even Thor has a grounding in a real-world mythological structure we’re familiar with, but when you have a guy screaming about Hoggoth and doing magic in a cinematic universe built ostensibly on humans advancing through science, you run into an issue. Specifically, whoever is going to play the character runs into the issue of not looking like Dr. Orpheus. According to Latino Review, that might be Johnny Depp. The rumor is that he’s met with Marvel about the role, and in general it sounds like a good fit for one reason: Jerry Bruckheimer won’t be involved. Yes, it’s another opportunity for Depp to go crazy. John Gholson hit the nail on the head earlier today with this tweet:

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trailer transcendence

You may not recognize Wally Pfister‘s name, but you’ve most definitely seen his work. As cinematographer on all of Christopher Nolan’s films he’s been responsible for some of the most striking images to hit multiplexes and IMAX theaters over the past several years, but now he’s stepping out from behind the camera… so he can step behind it again in the role of director. His directorial debut, Transcendence, is a cautionary tale about scientists reaching for technological extremes and radical reactionaries who fear the eventual obsolescence of mankind. His film was already guaranteed to look incredible, but Pfister has gone ahead and stocked it with fantastic actors too including Rebecca Hall, Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr, and others. Check out the first trailer for Transcendence below.

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news pfister nolan

Apparently, being Christopher Nolan is contagious. The director’s 2010 film Inception was a twisty-turny science fiction epic shrouded in secrecy, and now Nolan is hard at work on the similarly twisty-turny Interstellar that’s similarly shrouded in secrecy. Wally Pfister, Nolan’s longtime cinematographer, has apparently caught the Nolan bug. He too has a science fiction film coming out in 2014- Transcendence- and up until now there’s been very little word on what the film’s actually about. All we’ve had to go on was a brief summary that mentioned how Johnny Depp‘s character will be assassinated, then turned into some kind of artificial intelligence. Now, ScreenCrush has the official synopsis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add a whole lot. Ready? Here it is:

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depp

Watching The Lone Ranger crash and burn last month may really haven taken its toll on Johnny Depp. Or maybe it was something else entirely. Whatever the case, we may soon live in a world where Depp no longer plays quirky characters with even quirkier headgear. We may actually live in a world where Depp no longer plays any characters at all. In an interview with BBC Breakfast, that he may soon depart the world of acting. Depp had this to say: “At a certain point you start thinking and when you add up the amount of dialogue you say per year, for example, you realize you’ve said written words more than you’ve had a chance to say your own words. You start thinking of that as an insane option for a human being. Are there quieter things I wouldn’t mind doing? Yeah. I wouldn’t say I’m dropping out any second, but I would say it’s probably not too far away.” This might seem a little early, but bear in mind that the actor has just turned 50 this past June. His characters may have the same eccentricities that Edward Scissorhands did, but Edward Scissorhands is already 23 years old.

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Depp in Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland made an obscene amount of money back in 2010. Now Johnny Depp, whose last two films were both box-office disappointments- those being The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows- is looking to get some more of that sweet, sweet Alice money. According to Deadline, the actor is in final talks to star in Alice in Wonderland 2. But while Depp may be back, Tim Burton isn’t. James Bobin, director of The Muppets (along with its upcoming sequel) will be taking Burton’s place in the director’s chair.

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depp

What is Casting Couch? It’s the place to go to find out which upcoming movies are going to star which actors. Keep reading to discover the cast of veterans Adam Carolla wants you to help him make a movie with. Given Johnny Depp’s penchant for always sporting flashy accessories and conspicuous facial hair, his next project should prove to be right in his wheelhouse. The Wrap is reporting that he’s all set to star in Mortdecai, which is an adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli‘s comedic crime novel “The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery,” and possibly the launcher of a new franchise for the actor. David Koepp (Premium Rush) will direct the film, which will cast Depp as Charlie Mortdecai, a dashing art dealer who often finds himself caught up in espionage and intrigue. This particular Mortdecai story is one that involves rare paintings and Nazi gold, which most of the best stories often do.

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loneranger09

Despite their best efforts and truly masterfully applied eyeliner, Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp could not get audiences excited to see The Lone Ranger over the Independence Day weekend. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Disney blockbuster is expecting a $150m loss worldwide on top of its bloated budget. The western, based on a 1930s radio program and 1950s TV show, only managed to bring in $48.9m domestically in its five-day opening. Compare that to the $250m production budget and the $175m in marketing, and we’re approaching John Carter levels of disaster. So what went wrong? People love it when Depp dresses up in whimsical costumes and wobbles precariously on moving vehicles. The film even reunited the Pirates of the Caribbean dream team of Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. But let’s not forget that Bruckheimer + Disney does not always equal success. For every Pirates, there’s a Prince of Persia: Sands of Time lurking under the surface.

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bruck

After the massive production of The Lone Ranger, it’s surprising Jerry Bruckheimer didn’t show up to the film’s press day all gray-haired and jaded. The 10-month shooting schedule aside, the film went through pre-production halts, budget issues, and creative battles. That must be stressful for anyone, but it’s probably something Bruckheimer deals with fairly often. From Bad Boys II, Beverly Hills Cop, the Pirates series, to, best of all, Michael Mann’s Thief, Bruckheimer has produced some of the general public’s, and film nerds’, favorite films of the past 20 or so years. Whether The Lone Ranger will stand among Bruckheimer’s biggest hits has yet to be determined, but it’s unquestionably a passion project for the main players involved. I mean, who wouldn’t get passionate about the idea of Johnny Depp playing a Native American who feeds a dead bird? Bruckheimer did, alongside once again joining forces with director Gore Verbinski and making a Western-as-summer-action-blockbuster. In a roundtable interview down in New Mexico, we spoke with Bruckheimer about the difficulty of making a Western today, pesky weather, and working with Verbinski:

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The Lone Ranger 2013

There’s a scene late in Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger in which Rebecca Reid (Ruth Wilson) is bonked on the head by a large piece of coal in the middle of a heart-stopping runaway train sequence. The result of such an action (will her eyes roll back in her head in a dizzy, cartoonish manner? will she be maimed for life by the sharp rock? is there going to be more blood for us to deal with?) seems nothing short of entirely arbitrary. Anything could happen post-coal-bonking, and within the context of The Lone Ranger, that sort of thing isn’t exciting or fun or interesting, it’s distracting and unsettling. It’s also par for the course in a frighteningly (and just plain strangely) uneven attempt at a blockbuster outing. While the criticism that a film is “uneven” is often a meaningless one (don’t all films have their ups and downs? their peaks and valleys?), The Lone Ranger is unavoidably, unabashedly, bizarrely uneven. It’s the only word for it. Tonally, the film seems entirely at war with itself – zinging between cheery hijinks and brutal violence, often within the same scene, and seemingly without any sense of pattern or placement. A PG-13 rating signals that the film is, at the very least, somewhat suitable for tweens, but The Lone Ranger has seemingly sneaked by the MPAA, because it’s one of the bloodiest and most brutal films of its rating in recent memory. A man’s heart is eaten out of his (still beating) […]

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hammer

I was taken aback when greeting a very energized Armie Hammer. Almost immediately I was blinded by his chompers. “Teeth can be this white?” I thought. Yes, they can be. In-person, there’s a movie star quality to Hammer, not only because of his teeth, although they play a big, pearly role. Even at the young age of 26, he has a movie star quality. It’s easy to see why he almost played Batman for George Miller all those years ago. Maybe it’s because of Hammer’s appeal that filmmakers want to give him a beating on screen. With Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger and Tarsem’s Mirror Mirror, Hammer took his fair share of body blows. Not many people would’ve pegged him as the physical comedy type after the success of The Social Network, but here he is, now in a big Disney tentpole spending most of its running time getting knocked to the floor. Which is what can happen to you if you get too close and look directly into those teeth. Fortunately, I had a pair of sunglasses for our talk.

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Silver

Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, a great American hero, born from the sands of the very Wild West he helped settle, hits the big screen at a clip so fast that it can only be declared a gallop. Tall, brave, fierce, fast, and funny, Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger seems poised to reintroduce this legend of stage and screen to a whole new pack of fans, while also delighting an adoring public that’s tracked his every step since the 1930’s. We are talking, of course, about Silver. (Who did you think we were talking about? Oh. Oh, that’s awkward.) The Lone Ranger’s long and winding trail to the big screen has been, well, long and winding, with all sorts of budgetary concerns threatening to derail the Armie Hammer- and Johnny Depp-starring take on the American epic before and even during its production. While the film was originally meant to have some heavy supernatural elements (werewolves, anyone?), Verbinski’s final product only retains enough weirdo stuff (carnivorous rabbits, talk of “visions,” and even some cannibalistic tendencies) to keep the film’s sense of “nature being out of balance” going, even as the rest of the production’s awkward issues crumble around it. But Silver, the Lone Ranger’s trusty steed, is chief among the film’s mystical undertones – mainly because he’s deemed a “spirit horse” from the moment he arrives, his faith in Hammer’s John Reid brings him back from the dead, and he has a panache for showing up places […]

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William Fichtner Lone Ranger

William Fichtner isn’t an actor afraid to go big. Maybe that comes with the territory of being a character actor, but no one can ever accuse Fichtner of playing it safe. There are many examples, and perhaps some others better than this one, but take a moment to reflect upon the Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito comedy vehicle, What’s the Worst that Can Happen?. Not exactly a comedy classic, but, even if you only vaguely remember that movie, you definitely remember Fichtner’s performance as a flamboyant detective. It’s the kind of performance that breathes life into a scene. The same can be said for Disney’s The Lone Ranger. Bartholomew”Butch” Cavendish is a villain with a mustache itching to be twirled, but, as Fichtner put it, he refused to do any twirling of the sort. That’s right, no twirling of any kind. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to have fun in another Jerry Bruckheimer production, making for his fourth feature with the Hollywood big shot.

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keiraknightley

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news column concerned with movie castings that has word of a new role for Game of Thrones star Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, as well as some controversy surrounding Johnny Depp. The Intimidation Game has had Morten Tyldum attached as its director and Benedict Cumberbatch attached as its star for a while now. But it seems like all of its pre-production ducks must now be getting in a row, because today a report out of THR is suggesting that they’ve started to go forward with the rest of their casting. This Alan Turing biopic, which is set to cover his days breaking codes during the war as well as his days being tried by the government for homosexuality, is reportedly close to signing Keira Knightley as a woman who comes from a conservative background, but who forms a friendship with Turing and sticks by him all the way to his life’s tragic end. This will all, no doubt, be very emotional, so expect lots of opportunities to see her make that face she makes when she’s just about to cry.

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Johnny Depp

While we’re not usually inclined to speculate on the financial desires of Hollywood’s brightest stars, it seems as if today’s report that Johnny Depp has dropped out of Barry Levinson‘s Whitey Bulger biopic, Black Mass, due to financial disagreements leaves us little choice. Deadline had reported that this was a possibility last night, writing then that “the troubles are in making his [Depp's] deal and things aren’t looking great at the moment.” THR now weighs in with the firm news that Depp has exited the biopic, citing budget issues – namely, that the film’s trimmed budget wasn’t going to accommodate Depp’s “usual” $20M fee and that Depp wasn’t going to accommodate a price drop that would have put his paycheck closer to $10M. With Depp attached to the film since February, it raises the question – why now? THR also reports that the film’s sale at Cannes was “on the soft side,” leading to a necessary budget trim that would put the total cost of the film in the $60M range. A “producer source” does, however, dispute the soft angle, “saying the sales were on target and that most territories were sold.” No matter what happened, the film is now out one major (and majorly bankable) star in Depp.

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The Lone Ranger 2013

Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger hits July 3rd, and it seems sort of perfect for the Independence Day weekend. It’s a western on a massive scale with plenty of explosions and bullets to spare, but if the trailers so far haven’t sealed the deal, this last one should do the trick. For one, it downplays how ridiculous Johnny Depp probably is as Tonto and focuses on the action with a percussive ballet in the background that matches every trigger pull cut for cut. Justice is like the hawk. Sometimes it must go hooded:

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Bradley Cooper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a compilation of casting news that has word of a new project for Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as well as a look at Johnny Depp’s upcoming schedule. Read on. Bradley Cooper’s ego has gotten so big ever since he was nominated for an Oscar that he’s now decided he wants to take David Hasselhoff’s place as Germany’s favorite celebrity. According to Deadline, the Silver Linings Playbook actor has signed on to star in an English language adaptation of Kokowaah, which was Germany’s highest grossing film of 2011. The basic story here is that of a successful author and swinging bachelor who suddenly discovers he has an 8-year-old daughter from a brief fling he engaged in years ago. Cooper also has a producing credit on the film, and might even be stepping into the director’s chair to make this his directorial debut, but this is a casting report and not a feed Bradley Cooper’s ego report, so let’s move on.

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Johnny Depp

What is Casting Couch? It’s a thing on the Internet that’s primarily concerned with which actors are going to be in what movies. Today it includes news regarding attractive folk like Colin Farrell and Lily Collins. For the last decade or so, Johnny Depp has largely been occupied with wearing makeup and putting on silly wigs, but once upon a time he used to play actual human beings in movies like Donnie Brasco and whatnot, and while it didn’t afford him the opportunity to use nearly as many crazy voices, things weren’t so bad. Things were so decent, in fact, that Cross Creek Pictures has announced [via ComingSoon] that they’ve cast Depp in another gangster story that’s based on real life events, just for old times’ sake. Depp will be playing infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in director Barry Levinson’s (Toys, Jimmy Hollywood) new film Black Mass. Bulger, for the uninitiated, was a gangster who informed for and was later double-crossed by the FBI. Those cads.

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Garrett Hedlund

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that was compiled today with the help of Daft Punk musical accompaniment. You may not remember much about TRON: Legacy’s story, because other than its glowing lights and its pumping soundtrack, that 2010 sequel to Disney’s cult classic TRON was pretty dull. So, let’s refresh your memory. The movie starred Garrett Hedlund as the son of Jeff Bridges’ character from the first film. He went into the computer world, found his dad, and then there was a big battle. Remember all this? Good, because Next Movie just confirmed that Hedlund will be back for whatever TRON 3 ends up being called. Disney apparently started getting a script together for a third film just last week. This, of course, means that we’ll all now be keeping our eyes open for the real news regarding this new sequel: whether or not Daft Punk is coming back to do another soundtrack.

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
C

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