Johnny Depp

The Lone Ranger 2013

I can’t get over Johnny Depp doing the whole “Kemosabe” schtick as Tonto. Can’t do it. Maybe with time, it’ll get easier, but it makes almost zero sense that amid a sea of modernized remakes and adaptations, Gore Verbinski and Disney would hold tight to a stereotypical trapping from a different era that didn’t seem to know any better. Why deconstruct Wonderland behind Burton but keep the “Me Wantum Wampum” accent on a character that no one under 60 gives a damn about? It’s a small detail, probably. It just seems extra ridiculous. At any rate, they’ve released a new trailer with a few more scenes, and it’s hard to deny that this thing looks fantastic — employing the kind of lush detail and slow-motion destruction that we’ve come to expect alongside the added bonus of top hats and petty coats. Check it out for yourself:

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Let’s take a trip back in time to the magical year of 2010. If someone with modern eyes were to go back and try to live in these olden times, they’d discover themselves in a topsy-turvy bizarro world where the economy was in the toilet, a charismatic figure by the name of Barack Obama was in the White House, and Terry Gilliam was going to make a movie about Don Quixote starring Robert Duvall and Johnny Depp. A lot has changed since then. Ewan McGregor replaced Johnny Depp in Gilliam’s movie, then Gilliam’s movie got cancelled completely, and the White House…well, I’m not sure who’s living there these days. Who can keep track? Even after all these years though, one thing hasn’t changed: Johnny Depp is still really into the character of Don Quixote. That’s why he’s teaming up with Disney to start developing a new feature film about Miguel de Cervantes’ creation. Deadline has the scoop that the untitled pitch has been shipped out for screenwriting duties to Steve Pink (Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity) and Jeff Morris (The True Memoirs of an International Assassin). Little is known about the project at this point, but it’s said that it’s going to be a modern imagining of the Don Quixote story.

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily movie news column that that wants to make you a star, baby. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe hasn’t said much about his next project. We don’t yet have a title or a plot synopsis for it. But what we do know is that it’s said to be similar in tone to things like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, and it’s got Emma Stone playing a lead role (and it might just be a rewrite of his Deep Tiki script from years ago). So basically, expect something that lines up with Crowe’s best work and stars one of your favorite actresses. Sounds great. The new news regarding the project is that Crowe is reportedly close to finding his male lead. Deadline Hollywood says that he has his eye on Bradley Cooper, and he’s close to making a deal happen. Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a Cameron Crowe movie? Yeah, that should be enough to get the attention of every person of every gender and sexuality ever. Remember how we reported that Christopher Nolan’s regular DP, Wally Pfister, is going to be directing his first movie, it’s going to be called Transcendence, and it’s going to star Johnny Depp? Well, all of that stuff is still true, but the L.A. Times has dug up even more information. Turns out the film is actually going to have three leads, and Pfister is very game to get Christian Bale to sign on as number two of the three. Anyone out there want to see Johnny Depp […]

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wally Pfister is a name that might not be known by everyone, but he’s certainly an artist whose work everyone has seen. Pfister has been working as a camera operator since the late ’80s, and has regularly been getting gigs as a Director of Photography since the early 2000s. He is, however, primarily known as the DP that Christopher Nolan uses on all his features. This is the guy who shot Memento, who got nominated for cinematography Oscars for Batman Begins, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight, and who finally won one for Inception. To say that he knows how to shoot a scene would be a bit of an understatement. But now he’s ready to take a more hands on approach to all of the other aspects of filmmaking, by taking his first crack at directing a feature. His first project, Transcendence, comes from a script by newcomer Jack Paglen and has been developed by Straight Up Films. Any details as to what the film is about are being kept tightly under wraps, but what isn’t being treated like a secret is the big name actor who they’ve snagged to star.

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Boiling Point

Before we even start one might ask, “Does Tim Burton need defending?” Obviously, he does (or else why would I write this?), and he needs it because the Tim Burton of today is not the Tim Burton we know and love. Or is he? Dun dun dun! Virtually everyone you come across will have a soft spot for his early works like Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and Beetlejuice and many hold a great respect for his work on Ed Wood and Big Fish. But after a series of perceived missteps, it’s as though Burton’s stock with more movie-savvy people has dropped, even as he’s garnered some serious monetary success.

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Some of you may already know me by my Twitter handle: @thefilmcynic. It’s a name I’ve gone by for nearly a decade (so, before current social media outlets), because I’m very cynical about the film industry and try to keep my expectations low. I’m also very cynical about the Academy Awards and awards season in general, because we devote so much focus on them — with a wide spectrum of positive and negative angles — and they’re really a bunch of malarkey (much like the V.P. debate, which has inspired my newfound obsession with that word). So, the higher ups at FSR have asked me to write a cynical column devoted to the Oscars. The first one is inspired by the films Seven Psychopaths, Looper and Lincoln and their celebrated performances. As someone who has studied acting (I’m not very good at it), I’ve long taken issue with the way people look at film performances, because there are just so many different kinds. But there are two real distinct types that we tend to recognize while watching and writing about movies that aren’t acknowledged by the Academy: realistic and artificial. The former has been a big favorite since method acting came into play, though it doesn’t necessarily apply to that style nor does that style necessarily always mean realism. The latter could be more expressive and therefore goes back to the dawn of cinema and its silent performances or could even be more stiff, if that’s what’s intended. Directors who […]

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The Lone Ranger 2013

Casting Johnny Depp as a Native American was always going to be a strange idea. Even with him claiming his great-grandmother was part Cherokee or Creek, it’s tough to point to the decision and claim that it was motivated by a sense of the role and not by, say, Depp’s incredible bankability as one of the last remaining movie stars. Still, it’s nice to see that the first teaser footage from Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger – which stars Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the masked avenger of the title – shows off just a hint of Depp’s wondrously stereotypical, “Me Wantum Wampum” accent for the flick. It’s one of those situations where perhaps a racial depiction from the 1930s wasn’t the best thing to keep in a movie for 2013. However, laughable white washing aside, the epic scale and gun metal patina makes the project look visually stunning. Since the film sees theaters in May of next year, expect to learn more about Hammer and Depp’s characters, but for now, enjoy a solid look at the adventurous tone:

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Drinking Games

Fans of the original Dark Shadows television series may not have been wild about the Tim Burton big-screen adaptation of the story, but those who like Burton’s many collaborations with Johnny Depp should be interested. Depp plays the legendary Barnabas Collins, who was turned into a vampire by a scorned witch. After returning home to his family home of Collinwood after being asleep for almost 200 years, he faces a new world of 1972 and his old adversary… in color! This vampire comedy hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, so you can check it out for better or for worse. At least you’ll be seeing it in the appropriately-themed month of October, rather than when it hit theaters in May.

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Acting is like anything in that success doesn’t come quickly. It’s why we can go back and watch old clips of Brad Pitt whoring for Pringles or Tina Fey talking about the interest rate at Mutual Savings Bank. You have to start somewhere, right? Same goes for motion pictures – for most actors, your first role is going to be some mediocre piece like Return To Horror High or Revenge Of The Creature – but every once in a while an actor or actress starts off at a high point. Here are such high points, awesome first films that you’d be proud to be a part of even if you never did another film ever again.

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Notoriously meticulous director Wes Anderson seems to be speeding up his usual development process – which generally produces a new film every three years – and putting together the pieces for his next project. Hot on the heels of his successful, pubescent kids dancing in their underwear movie, Moonrise Kingdom, comes The Grand Budapest Hotel, an Anderson-penned script that is said to feature an ensemble cast, but is a mystery as far as character breakdowns or synopsis are concerned. News of the new Anderson project broke a little over a week ago, when Twitch reported they’d heard the director had begun casting on a new film, and that he was in various stages of negotiations with Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Angela Lansbury. A list of names that talented and notable may sound like wishful thinking, but a report from Deadline Clute now confirms that at least some of it is true. Not only did they get their hands on the title of the film, but they’re also reporting that Depp has been wrapped up and is officially set to star.

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There hasn’t exactly been a fire under the tails of most fans of W.S. Van Dyke‘s classic take on Dashiell Hammett‘s The Thin Man to see a new version of the film starring Johnny Depp, and apparently that attitude has carried over to the actual production. Deadline Bay Ridge reports that they’ve heard tell that Warner Bros. is “pumping the brakes” on the remake, which is set to star Depp, be directed by Rob Marshall (raspberry-blowing noise here), and come with a script by David Koepp. The outlet reports that the production is being put on pause for a number of no-duh factors, including their protracted and so far fruitless search to find a Nora Charles to Depp’s Nick Charles, a budget that apparently has gone over $100m, Depp’s preference for taking some time between films, and the big one – the film hasn’t been greenlit yet (the one fact that WB confirmed to the outlet).

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The troubled production history of Gore Verbinski’s upcoming Johnny Depp- and Armie Hammer-starring The Lone Ranger is far too lengthy to fully recap yet again. Suffice to say, Verbinski wants to spend way too much money on the film, he and Disney have gone back and forth on a budget numerous times, and the whole project has almost been killed already due to the disagreements. But eventually concessions were made (including the cutting of an expensive sequence involving a train), and eventually the two sides were able to come to an agreement on a budget of $215m. Back in February we finally got word that production on the film had actually started. It looked like things had finally fallen in place for Disney’s latest crack at making a successful live action feature film, and everything was going to be okay. But that was in February. Now there are reports coming from THR that claim the film is behind schedule and once again over budget. How behind schedule is the movie? Somewhere between days and weeks. And how much have they gone over budget? Reports say that expenses may have swelled to $250m, which was the figure that Disney balked at originally.

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Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp My Valentine

Harvey Weinstein. This guy. He’s crazy like a fox, and not all of his moves can be understood ahead of time, which is why he often prevails. In the case of the music video for Paul McCartney‘s “My Valentine,” it’s unclear who he’ll prevail over, but the producing titan has requested that theaters in New York and Los Angeles play the black and white work (which features Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman signing the lyrics to the song (before Depp takes a sweet acoustic solo)) before screenings of The Intouchables. There is no connection between the two projects (at least not one that could be made without Kevin Bacon), so it all seems sort of bizarre. The Intouchables is the latest Olivier Nakache film which tells the comically dramatic story of a wealthy quadriplegic man hiring a poor man from the projects to take care of him (Review here). Oh, no. Does Weinstein think quadriplegic people and deaf people are the same? Hopefully not. At any rate, here’s the video if you’d like to prep for the movie that it has nothing to do with:

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s the end result of a long work day, a half dozen mini doughnuts, a glass of cheap Canadian whisky, Robert Fure, and a keyboard. Suck on it, suckers! This week’s movie news after Drinking is brought to you by Revel Stoke spiced whisky (We should not get paid for this because I’m not drinking this again. Or no we should still get paid, but I’m not drinking this again). But basically the deal is I get kind of drunk and then try to type up a whole bunch of movie news before my arms stop working. If you’re wondering why I’m typing all this nonsense, it’s because we need a certain amount of buffer before we move into the news to put a proper text break in here. But totally keep reading because Will Smith NO JOKE SLAPS A RUSSIAN IN THE FACE IN THE FIRST STORY. (OH LOOK AT ME I’M FRILMCRIT HULK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL CAPITALS)

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Boiling Point

The Avengers is kind of a major success. What, you hadn’t heard? Of course you did. Avengers box office is on the tips of tongues, internet screens, newspapers, and even within the pages of Time Magazine. You don’t make a billion dollars that quickly without garnering a lot of attention. With attention comes discussion. People always want to be included in the discussion, it helps get a little bit of that attention directed their way. If at this point you feel the need to point out the hypocrisy of this entire thing, go for it. What do I care? In attempting to be part of the discussion and gather up some of that sweet, sweet spotlight, everyone has been discussing the Avengers box office results and asking the question we all ask of super hero teams and double rainbows: What does it mean?

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Dark Shadows, the old ABC gothic soap opera, is such natural material for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp that you almost wonder why they bothered. Of all the movies and TV shows to remake, it’s perhaps the most logical choice for the men who brought us Beetlejuice and Captain Jack Sparrow, respectively, not to mention Edward Scissorhands and other offbeat luminaries in their partnership. Lighthearted macabre quirk is the tandem’s specialty and the primary operating mode of their new movie, a visually-pleasing haunted house/vampire comedy. But even if Dark Shadows is a case of safe, smooth sailing for its makers, it’s still far more spirited and thoughtfully made than most summer movie counterparts.

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Aural Fixation - Large

With Dark Shadows set to hit theaters this weekend, Warners hosted a small Q&A this past Tuesday to highlight what will be composer Danny Elfman and director Tim Burton’s fourteenth film together. I am notorious for getting lost on studio lots (I once accidentally wandered into a background shot during the filming of Private Practice while looking for a screening room), but I was pleased (and relieved) when I arrived and realized this event was being held outside making it easy to find (although the long line of Elfman fans flanking the venue was also a pretty clear indicator). It was a nice change of pace to be outside on a warm afternoon and seemed to put everyone in a good mood. While the Q&A was moderated, the goal of the afternoon was primarily to open the floor up to the fans and have them ask the questions. This can be a precarious opportunity when the questions are unfiltered (and sometimes cringe worthy) as anyone who has attended a Q&A can attest to. However this afternoon the questions (save for a few – no, Oingo Boingo will not be getting back together) were incredibly thoughtful and interesting. Elfman noted that doing events like this are something he gladly takes time to do as he loves interacting with fans and this was clear as he took every question seriously and gave each person his undivided attention when answering. The event was also to commemorate the release of Elfman and Burton’s 25th Anniversary […]

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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If you’ve ever seen a Tim Burton movie, you know the guy is probably pretty awkward. At the very least, he’s gotta be soft-spoken, right? Which begs the question, “How interesting can a Tim Burton-only commentary be?” Well, we’re here to answer that very question with this week’s Commentary Commentary. In honor of Dark Shadows, Burton’s latest collaboration with Johnny Depp, we’ve decided to go back and delve into their first pairing, Edward Scissorhands. Burton took the commentary duties by his lonesome here, and I’m sure amid all the fumbling of words and general gracelessness there’s enough to pack in here to hold our interest. At the very least it’ll be an entertaining car wreck. So here, without further ado, is everything we learned about Edward Scissorhands from listening to its director, Tim Burton, speak on it. We didn’t learn Tim Burton is a strange guy. We knew that one already.

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Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter don’t fit the bill of your average summer blockbuster. An adaptation of a slightly obscure soap opera about a vampire? We don’t see those often enough in the summer season. A hard-R actioner featuring one of our greatest presidents shredding vampires to bits? That’s another unheard of type summer tentpole. Although Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names alone can create money out of thin air, Dark Shadows is not the sort of film we often see as a May release, and the same goes for June’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The man partly responsible for these two going-against-the-norm pictures is author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith had to tackle some difficult tasks when it came to making these two projects – like making an accessible Dark Shadows film and adapting his own epic and tonally tricky novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Here’s what Seth Grahame-Smith had to say about writing for the screen, the soap-operatic tone of Dark Shadows, and the straight-faced badassery of Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires:

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