Johnny Depp

Lionsgate

Watching Mortdecai, I couldn’t help but spend most of my time contemplating what differentiates this from a Wes Anderson movie. After all, the former features Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Goldblum and, most importantly, a motorcycle with sidecar. It also centers on a valuable painting that multiple characters covet, just like Anderson’s latest, the Oscar-contending The Grand Budapest Hotel. Goldblum is in that one and, more interestingly enough, Mortdecai lead Johnny Depp was long-rumored to play the part of Monsieur Gustave H., which was filled instead by Ralph Fiennes (Anderson denied Depp was ever in consideration). Perhaps his early involvement with this similar-sounding movie wound up crossing with the other in conversations around Hollywood. There are many things that do separate Mortdecai from Grand Budapest and others made by Anderson. The heart isn’t there, for one thing. Nor is the meticulous art direction. It reminds me of the viral videos parodying Anderson’s style made by people who clearly don’t get the filmmaker at all. To be fair and frank, when it comes right down to it, Mortdecai is really as much, or probably more, akin to the work of The Farrelly Brothers. There are fart jokes, a lot of gagging and vomiting, plus boners, horny old men, testicular preoccupations and at least two clinical nymphomaniacs (who strangely are never even hinted as being potentially paired up). There’s also some obvious Blake Edwards influence, in that there’s plenty of physical comedy of the sort where the first shot of the movie shows a waitress delivering flaming cocktails, and we can be certain we’ll soon see such drinks knocked clumsily by the hero and catch someone’s clothing on fire. 

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Public Enemies

Johnny Depp‘s latest movie, Mortdecai, is hitting theaters this weekend, and by all accounts it’s horrifically unenjoyable. Which you probably could have guessed. The trailer, the goggly-eyed posters and, hell, even the title with its superfluous T all pointed to self-parody without self-awareness. It shows Depp at his most rubbery, trying so damned hard to make a mustache wink that you could almost see him panting. That’s our consistent vision of the actor now, at least. A caricature who loves putting on funny hats or facial hair and acting absurd despite the silence coming from the crowd. In a way, that persona feels new, with every thinkpiece written about him tilting reverently toward a time in recent history when he wasn’t so desperate and cartoonish. When we loved him. When he was great. So I started wondering how long that’s actually been going on, which led me to question what his last truly great movie was. The process was a little discouraging.

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Walt Disney Pictures

In Stephen Sondheim’s career packed with beloved musicals, none compare to Into the Woods in terms of sheer popularity. It’s one of the most-performed productions on an amateur level and has been revived in different forms on and off Broadway countless times. It’s also dark and subversive, a merciless fairy tale satire that subverts the form through sly sexuality and plenty of horrific moments. This is not, in other words, a great candidate for a big screen adaptation under the Disney banner. There’s an uncomfortable, inherent tension between the corporation that popularized Cinderella and Rapunzel and material that undercuts the mythology. This caused great concern in the run-up to the film’s release, which theater buffs latching on to every possible deviation from the source as well as reported statements Sondheim made implying that the film had been toned down, which he later took back. I’m not an Into the Woods expert. I couldn’t delineate the precise ways Rob Marshall’s film remains faithful to and deviates from its source. I can, however, confirm that the Sondheim spirit is absolutely and unmistakably here, probably in no small part thanks to the fact that book writer James Lapine crafted the screenplay. This is not a case of Marshall expanding a relatively intimate musical to his characteristically grand, stylized canvas. Rather, it’s a filmmaker and, by extension, an entire studio smartly and vividly understanding that genius need only be translated to a different medium, not tampered with.

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Mortdecai Movie

There have been plenty of bumbling crime-fighters throughout the years. Pink Panther, Johnny English, OSS 117, Frank Drebin. All are respected for being ridiculous while still, somehow, saving the day. And now there’s Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai — filling out the cult figure from the 1970s Kyril Bonfiglioli books with far better names than this movie got. (Seriously, would you rather go see Don’t Point That Thing At Me or Mortdecai? Exactly.) The trailer offers a classic comic take on the absurd police figure. Guaranteed Depp’s character gets locked out of a building without his pants. It’s that kind of movie.

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Into the Woods

In the new trailer for Rob Marshall‘s Into the Woods, all is rightly in place. Emily Blunt is beautiful and kind, Chris Pine is a charming prince, Meryl Streep is an absolutely flawless being with supernatural powers, Johnny Depp is exercising his passion for fashion and Anna Kendrick is Anna Kendrick. In order to master a Disney adaptation of this beloved Sondheim musical before the theatre kids angrily descend from the catwalks, sound booths, trap doors, costume labs, right and left wings and that part of the stage where they think nobody in the audience can see them (I’ve done a lot of tech theatre; I know all the good backstage hangouts), a few things need to be nailed down in the trailer. They have to hit that title song, and as those first few “I wish!” moments ring out in the terrible, terrible woods, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a problem. Nice sell, Jack and Little Red. Now the next thing that must work is that The Witch needs to be fearsome, worthy of respect and able to pull off being both fabulous and draped in grey rags at the same time. You guys ever heard of this Meryl Streep? Needless to say, The Witch is everything she needs to be and more, if this trailer is any indication of what’s to come for the rest of the film.

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Johnny Depp

There must be a room in Johnny Depp‘s mansion devoted solely to the silly hats he’s worn in past films (do you think he ventures back in there to re-wear them now and again? Could Depp’s Willy Wonka top hat stack on top of his Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter top hat?). And if that’s the case, he’s got another prized piece of headwear to add to the collection: one crisp grey fedora, sporting two large wolf ears and a tuft of extraneous fur. That one’s courtesy of Into the Woods, the latest silly-hat feature Depp’s got in the works (as well as another Pirates of the Caribbean, another Alice in Wonderland and Mortedcai, which may only be going the silly mustache route for now, but where mustache goes, hat often follows). We’ve seen trailers and images for Into the Woods before, but nothing of Depp’s character, the movie’s version of the Big Bad Wolf (or The Wolf, if you’re into the whole brevity thing). But with a generous assist from Entertainment Weekly, we’ve got a glimpse of Depp, decked out in his formal lupine finest. And it is weird.

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Sony Pictures

Once upon a time, Johnny Depp was a reasonably sane actor with only a few zany hats in his personal collection. Once upon a time, the name “Pirates of the Caribbean” conjured up animatronic seafarers, skeletons guarding plastic treasure and that skipping track playing “yo-ho yo-ho” over and over in a dark tunnel until it was time to leave and get a delicious churro. That all changed in 2003 when Disney realized turning their park rides into movies was a valid business venture (thanks for the Haunted Mansion memories, Eddie Murphy), and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was born. Four movies — and Depp staggering around doing his best Keith Richards impression (and an actual Keith Richards eventually too) — later we can now look forward to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. It’s certainly about time that they used that phrase, isn’t it? It’s the first warning you get while taking your dingy down the river into the tunnels of Disney’s most treacherous ride, and it’s definitely worth heeding. And now, the person likely to be putting that motto into practice for Captain Jack Sparrow in Depp’s fifth go-round as the drunkest, cunningest commander of the high seas, is noted portrayer of villains, Javier Bardem.

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Yoga Hosers

Absolutely terrible title aside, it sure sounds like Kevin Smith‘s next film — no, no, not Tusk, not the one about a guy who tries to turn Justin Long into a walrus, which still sounds like the most demented thing we have to look forward to this year and perhaps ever, but the one after that — could be a whole lot of fun. After all, the film is going to be a family affair and the closest thing that Smith has ever come to a comic book movie. It’s also called Yoga Hosers. Oof. The Hollywood Reporter shares that Smith has enlisted the star power of Johnny Depp for the feature, who will also be bringing along his daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, for a leading role. Convenient, really, considering that Smith has also added his own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, to the cast. Cute! Nepotism-tastic! Somewhere in between! The younger Depp and Smith are actually the true stars of the feature, as the film “centers on 15-year-old yoga nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), who have an after-school job at a Manitoba convenience store called Eh-2-Zed. When an ancient evil rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with a legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Depp) to fight for their lives with, according to the producers, ‘all seven Chakras, one Warrior Pose at a time.’” So, they love yoga and they are going to use it to fight an […]

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Johnny Depp in Mortdecai

Is Johnny Depp a movie star anymore? He is certainly famous, but he doesn’t have the box office clout he used to. The actor consistently does well internationally, but in the States, he hasn’t opened a major release in years, at least one that wasn’t already an established brand. Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, The Tourist, Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary all bombed here. Of course, the quality of those titles aren’t up there with his finer films, so that’s a slight hindrance. Maybe all Depp needs is simply a really good movie to win back moviegoers. Reuniting with writer/director David Koepp is a step in the right direction. The two collaborated on 2004’s Secret Window, which is an especially good Stephen King adaptation. It’s also one of the last times Depp pulled off playing an average joe. For some reason he couldn’t do the same in The Tourist and Transcendence. There’s something very off about those performances. Maybe he’s been playing so many larger-than-life characters lately that an everyman no longer comes naturally to him. Whatever the case, Mortdecai may be a return to form for the actor. Depp is once again playing a heightened character, but the difference this time is he looks genuinely funny as the oblivious art dealer Charles Mortdecai, a man in search of a stolen painting connected to a lost bank account full of Nazi gold. If you want to see Depp playing a “bit of a moron,” watch the teaser trailer for the film below.

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Ed Wood

With the popularity of films like The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and Sharknado (now with a 2 behind it!), it seems that some people tend to like bad movies more than they like good ones. However, long before Tommy Wiseau or James Nguyen were directing films, and before Tara Reid was even born, there was a magical man named Edward D. Wood, Jr. Even with his terrible sense of plot, sequence and cinematic structure, Ed Wood managed to give his own flavor to his films, culminating in the granddaddy of all bad movies: Plan 9 From Outer Space. In 1994, Tim Burton directed Ed Wood, telling the story of the infamous director and how his friendship with horror movie legend Bela Lugosi helped breathe some life into both of their careers. The 2004 DVD release of the film includes a commentary with Burton, edited together with his filmmaking cohorts, which delivers a comprehensive look at the film’s creation. It has been 55 years since the release of Plan 9 From Outer Space, and it’s been 20 years since the release of Ed Wood. Before Burton really hit the skids with movies like Planet of the Apes and Dark Shadows, here’s a brighter (even in black and white), more inspirational time in his career that we can all learn from.

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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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published: 01.26.2015
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published: 01.26.2015
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published: 01.26.2015
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published: 01.26.2015
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