Johnny Depp

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 GV

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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fic

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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John C. Reilly

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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Emily VanCamp

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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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

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

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

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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looperpsychos02

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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TommyLeeLoveStory

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

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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published: 01.28.2015
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