Johnny Depp

After years with The White Stripes (R.I.P.), collaborative projects like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, an ex-wife/bandmate that everyone thinks is his sister, and now a new solo album, Jack White‘s been a busy man. While he’s no stranger to film, he’s never composed a film score until now. According to Disney, they’ve hired the slightly mad musician to score The Lone Ranger, the forthcoming movie from Gore Verbinski. The director has worked most often with Hans Zimmer, but there’s no denying that White has incredible musical talent. As for movies, White worked with Alicia Keys on the Quantum of Solace song “Another Way to Die,” he was featured in It Might Get Loud, and he also appeared on “Rome” – the album from Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi which was inspired by Spaghetti Westerns. It’ll be an interesting experiment to see how his vision and talent transpose to the screen.  

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Actress Emily Blunt has reportedly nabbed the female lead role in one of Tom Cruise‘s next projects, a sci-fi actioner not be confused with his Oblivion/Horizons that went through a long cycle of “short list” casting choices before settling on its two female leads. Fortunately, Doug Liman‘s All You Need is Kill has not subjected the movie news-consuming public to another drawn-out casting process and has just gone ahead and picked a dazzling lead. Variety reports that Blunt and Warner Bros. have ended a “long flirtation” for the part, with the Brit currently in talks for the role. The film is being adapted from a “light novel” of the same name by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, that centers on a new soldier (named Keiji Kiriya) who dies in his first battle – which happens to be against evil aliens who are taking over the Earth. Oddly enough, Keiji’s death is not the end of his life, as he wakes up every morning and relives the battle (and his death) over and over. It’s like a war-set sci-fi Groundhog Day. Blunt will reportedly play “another solider who fights alongside Cruise.” While I have not yet read the film’s highly lauded source material, a brief trip to the book’s Wikipedia page reveals a possible character for Blunt – “Rita Vrataski: A U.S. special forces soldier. Highly decorated and peerless in battle, she is seen as a hero by the entire world. In reality, she was caught in a time loop just like Keiji.” That […]

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It’s a mystery why Tim Burton gets stuck in the black and white world from time to time because he’s one of the few filmmakers who can make primary colors creepy. Apparently the marketing department for Dark Shadows is pretty good at it too. With Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and more popping boldly into the foreground, these posters are a reminder of the idiosyncrasy inherent in some of Burton’s filmmaking: vibrant grays and disturbing, bright colors. Check them out for yourself:

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A movie based on the show 21 Jump Street? Dumb, right? Well, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller acknowledge that right out of the gate. In doing so, they’ve crafted a hilarious and whip-smart comedy with a big heart and mind. The duo didn’t make a series of a action movie references, but an actual action movie. The Jump Street program, which remains the same concept as the original television series, has been resurrected due to a “lack of imagination.” Two of the young-looking cops chosen are Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two wannabe badasses. Schmidt and Jenko were on opposite sides in high school: Schmidt was a juggling club loser who went through an Eminem phase, while Jenko was the popular jock. A few years later, the dynamic has changed. Schmidt and Jenko become buddies to even out each other’s respective athletic or academic weaknesses. When they’re thrown back into high school to crackdown on a drug aptly called “Holy Fucking Shit,” their friendship gets tested.  Schmidt is no longer the outcast, and Jenko quickly realizes acting like an asshole isn’t exactly cool anymore.

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Alice in Wonderland tested my love for Tim Burton, a fandom I am fully aware is unpopular to have online nowadays. His Disney remake was garish, soulless, and calculative, all adjectives Burton’s greatest critics have said of him before. Alice in Wonderland felt like Burton at his most bored and expected, with zero sense of passion on-screen. Yet, with the release of the first trailer of Dark Shadows finally online, it seems as if Burton is having actual fun. Check out the trailer below to see Burton’s take on the material, including Johnny Depp turning down sex with Eva Green. Burton and company have had a tough time expressing the tone of the picture, but this trailer does it nicely: dark, tongue-in-cheek, and silly. Nothing about this screams “box-office smash!”, but that same sentiment could be applied to most of Burton’s hits.

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It’s easy to stick some cool tats on a character and enhance their presence – and we all love cool looking tattoos. It gets better when there is thought put into the tattoos, such as Mickey Rourke’s surprisingly well-researched prison tattoos in Iron Man 2. What’s even better than that is when a tattoo is not only well thought out, but also speaks worlds about that character and the story surrounding them. It’s not always possible in the context of the film – but when it is, it’s nice to see. Here are some of the tattoos I’m talking about.

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Barnabas Collins by Tim Burton

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news, stories, articles, happenings and thingamajigs that is not interested in your excuses, just your unwavering loyalty. We begin tonight with a new look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere’s ability to scan a page of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. It’s quite retro, somewhat chic, a lot emo and… oh, those bangs. Depp truly does have a bit of a Nosferatu thing going on, which is refreshing. At least he doesn’t sparkle.

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While it’s not like no film has ever been shut down in the middle of production, I’m still going to get right on my high horse and tell it plainly – I didn’t believe that Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger was going to get made until a press release telling me that the film has started production hit my inbox this morning. So, hey, look, a movie! The release reports that production has commenced on location in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado” for the Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer-starring film, which means that the cast and crew is probably feeling pretty damn quartered right now. These are the jokes, people! The release does later clarify that the production “will film exteriors and studio work in New Mexico, followed by locations in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.” The film’s production troubles – namely of the budgetary variety – have been well-documented over the past few months, with the film being all but killed back in August, followed by Verbinski’s vow to trim the budget just days later, followed by its apparent resurrection in October, culminating in it being officially officially back on the trail in December. And that’s not even to mention all the casting blather surrounding to the film. But despite all those problems, this Lone Ranger is indeed riding again.

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William Fichtner is a badass. This has always been true, even as the character actor rocked his way through Baygasms and indie hits alike. With Dwight Yoakum out of Gore Verbinski‘s forthcoming Lone Ranger, there was a spot to fill, and the production has improved on its casting with the opportunity. Yoakum is interesting, sure, but no one touches Fichtner’s track record of stellar acting that makes everything he’s in just a bit better than it was before. So while Nathan questioned whether the acting singer’s departure was a bad omen in the link above, it looks like everything’s worked out for the even-better. Now the question is whether he can translate this into the kind of stardom the guy has deserved all along. It’s a massive movie with Johnny Depp pulling in crowds and a proven large-scale filmmaker, and even though he’s been in this position before, Fichtner has always been tucked away into a larger ensemble. Here, he’ll be even better equipped to steal scenes as well as boost (and get boosted) by actors like Tom Wilkinson (who will play a big boss villain). Fichtner’s role, Butch Cavendish, is the leader of a gang and the main villain facing off against Armie Hammer’s Ranger. That’s fertile ground.  At any rate, even if this doesn’t make him a household name, it’s still great to hear him cast in anything. Maybe there’s hope for this strange bird after all. [Deadline Destin]

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Avengers Walking!

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that seeks to dazzle you with facts, figures, commentary and hyperlinks. And hyper-facts, figure-links and perhaps some commentary on figures. But enough about Chris Evans’ abs… We begin this evening with a still from a very intense walking sequence in The Avengers. It’s one of a pair of new photos released yesterday via Marvel.com, featuring Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Chris Evans as Captain America (said to be the central character of Avengers) and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. At least one of these characters appears to be showing off a little more skin than usual.

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Johnny Depp is an entertaining and talented actor, no doubt, but if you’re one of many who wish he’d drop the shtick and take on a normal role for once you should probably just give up that particular pipe dream. He plays quirky and odd, period, and there may be no going back. Which is a shame because he was pretty great in Finding Neverland. But hey, at least he’s managed to find another interesting project. Deadline Matheson is reporting that Disney has signed Edgar Wright to direct an as-yet unwritten re-imagining of The Night Stalker with Johnny Depp as the embattled reporter Kolchak. Darren McGavin brought the intrepid journalist to life in the mid-seventies series as well as the two TV films that preceded it, and Depp’s peculiar peccadilloes make him a solid fit for the character.

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There’s some more bad news for director Gore Verbinski’s seemingly cursed venture The Lone Ranger. This film, that Verbinski is making with Disney, has been in development for quite a while now, and it’s sure seen its share of ups and downs. Though it has a proven successful actor/director duo in Johnny Depp and Mr. Verbinski, and it’s dealing with the sort of  already-established source material that Hollywood feels most comfortable with, this film was also, at one point, coming in with a $250m budget. Five years ago, when the world was in considerably better shape, that might not have been a problem, but in today’s dicey climate, Disney decided that the financial risk was too great, and they ended up shelving the thing. That wasn’t the end of the road, however. Verbinski vowed to do whatever it takes, including making big budget cuts, to get some form of this film onto the big screen. It seemed like a long shot, but eventually it worked, and the once-$250m  movie got the go-ahead to move forward with a new, slightly tweaked script and a new, slightly trimmed budget of more around the $215m mark. When the new go-ahead was announced, it was said that the whole of the cast was still going to be in place, despite the extreme shift in scheduling, and that the film was going to begin shooting in February (which is now). At the time I had my doubts. Could a movie with names like Johnny Depp, […]

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Amidst the pinky-out prestige of awards season sits the manic pixie of The People’s Choice Awards. Perhaps they can easily be dismissed by the cinephile crowd for not being nearly well-rounded or interesting enough, but looking at the nominees and the winners can provide a bird’s eye view into the abyss of mass-entertainment. With over 200 million votes cast, according to a press release, the winners included Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern, Adam Sandler‘s comedy and Bridesmaids. To put that into perspective, that’s a ridiculous amount of people. To really put it into perspective, it’s 7.6 million more people than the entire population of Brazil, and it’s 2/3rds the population of the United States. The giant, faceless wad of “the people” have made these their movie champions of 2011:

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It’s been a long, winding road to get Disney’s new version of The Lone Ranger to the big screen. We went through the whole casting process, we went through a phase where everybody was waiting to see if Gore Verbinski would come on to direct, we were told that Disney had canned the movie due to its budget being out of control, and then there was a whole series of will-they-won’t-they back and forths where Verbinski kept trying to cut money from the budget to save the film and nobody knew whether or not each cut would be enough to do the job. But, finally, after what feels like years of reporting on this movie already, Deadline Tioga is saying that it’s actually set to go in front of cameras in February. The amazing thing is, despite all of the delays and uncertainty, The Lone Ranger still has the original cast it put together in place. Armie Hammer is still going to be the title character, Johnny Depp is still going to be Tonto, and they’ve even now got Tom Wilkinson signed, sealed, and delivered to play the film’s villain, Latham Cole, and Ruth Wilson locked in to play the female lead, Rebecca Reid. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s also a strong supporting cast featuring names like Barry Pepper and Dwight Yoakam that are still on board.

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Culture Warrior

One of the great misconceptions about Hollywood is that it is a liberal institution. Several false assumptions inform this misconception: thinking of “Hollywood” as a monolithic entity in any way besides its shared corporate infrastructure, confusing public endorsements of celebrity politicians by celebrity movie stars as political activism, thinking that left-leaning consumers of movies see Hollywood as representing their political beliefs in any way, selectively reading a limited number of texts (e.g., Green Zone “proves” Hollywood’s liberalism, but every superhero movie ever isn’t proof of its conservatism), and, most importantly, thinking that the most public figures associated with Hollywood (i.e., stars and filmmakers) are Hollywood. This last point I think is one that has continued to be the least considered when such straw man critiques are drawn, because Hollywood here is equated only with its most visible figures who overshadow its intricate but also not-so-shrouded political economy. It’s no mistake that despite the fluctuating numbers of major and minor Hollywood studios in the past 100 years, the most powerful studios, like the biggest banks in the nation, have been referred to as “The Big Five.” And indeed, to the surprise of no one, both Big Fives have had and are continuing a lucrative relationship with one another. Hollywood’s agenda, of course, has always been profit, and the representatives of this ideology are not George Clooney and Matt Damon, but Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal (Chairman/CEO & Co-Chairman, Sony/Columbia), Stephen Blairson (CEO, 20th Century Fox), Brad Grey (Chairman/CEO, Paramount), Ronald Meyer […]

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Alice Cooper has long been considered one of the preeminent denizens of the dark. With his lifelong commitment to horror makeup, heavy metal music, and golf, it couldn’t have happened any other way. So when director Tim Burton needed a music act to appear in his upcoming adaptation of the old, spooky soap Dark Shadows, Cooper seemed like an easy fit. Hero Complex reports that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is set for a cameo in the film where he will be performing his hit song ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy.’ The setup for the scene is that Johnny Depp’s character, wealthy vampire Barnabas Collins, is throwing an elaborate ball at his palatial estate, and he hires Cooper to be the musical entertainment. To bring Collins’s home to life, Burton and his crew have constructed an elaborate series of sets that includes a gothic mansion and a harbor city complete with piers and boats floating in an artificial ocean. Cooper was so impressed with what he saw that, while at a Universal Studios Halloween event, he opined, “They should take that set and make it a haunted house next year.” He also had some kind words to say about Burton, and how he and the director relate to and understand one another very well, “Rock and horror and comedy work together, that’s something I’ve known a long time and people like Rob Zombie know, and Burton knows that too …  I just saw Final Destination 5 and I was […]

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The Rum Diary marks Johnny Depp’s return to Hunter S. Thompson territory, following his cult favorite work in Terry Gilliam’s delirious adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Yet audiences expecting more of the same drug-fueled mania will be disappointed. While it’s filled with offbeat characters and the occasional stylistic quirk, Bruce Robinson’s film offers a straightforward, earnest narrative about a young marble-mouthed author finding his writing voice while fighting capitalist corruption. Set in a volatile Puerto Rico, circa 1960, Thompson’s semi-autobiographical story follows struggling journalist/alter ego Paul Kemp (Depp) as he joins the staff at a local rag run by domineering editor-in-chief Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). It’s a day-to-day portrait of Kemp’s hard living in paradise, set against a backdrop of conflict between the natives hoping to protect their land and the capitalistic cronies interested in transforming the archipelago nation into an overdeveloped tourist spot.

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Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming spy movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is an adaptation of a popular television series from the 60s, has had some trouble finding a leading man. The movie will tell the tale of the teaming of two spies under the banner of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. If Soderbergh’s vision of the material stays true to the TV show’s, then those men will be American secret agent Napoleon Solo and his Russian counterpart Illya Kuryakin. Originally, like in most of Soderbergh’s movies, George Clooney was just going to play the lead role. He had to drop out of the production due to the always looming scheduling conflicts or whatever though, so Soderbergh has been on a mad rush to fill Clooney’s shoes. Since all of the man’s movies that don’t star George Clooney usually star Matt Damon instead, he was the next guy to get a look for the role, but he ended up passing. Then things got desperate, Soderbergh went way out of his wheelhouse and tried to get Johnny Depp to play the part, but he passed as well. That’s a lot of Hollywood’s biggest leading men telling you that they can’t be in your movie. What is a director to do? What Soderbergh seems to be doing is moving on to the next big thing. According to Variety he is in intense negotiations with Bradley Cooper to step in and be his guy. Cooper has been in a good number of films […]

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Frequent fright wig-wearing actor Johnny Depp is teaming up with Infinitum Nihil and Illumination Entertainment to produce a live-action look at the life of author Theodor Geisel. He was an eccentric type, given to talking in rhymes and working under pen names. Geisel started his career drawing advertisements and comic strips, he then later published legendary children’s books like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat.” He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and attended college at Dartmouth. Yikes, that doesn’t sound like a very exciting movie, even if the guy ends up going by a crazy name like Dr. Seuss. The concept gets a little bit more interesting though, with word that Depp is very likely to star in the film, along with his duties producing the project. He already has experience playing real life writers Hunter S. Thompson and J.M. Barrie, so it seems like the role would be right in his wheelhouse. And if scenes of him creating his most famous works are included in the film, complete with trippy visualizations of the things he’s writing about, then who better than Depp to put on ridiculous outfits and bring characters like The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat to life? And don’t say Jim Carrey and Mike Myers. Bad memories, man. [THR]

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I try not to report on set photos very often, and that’s for a of couple reasons. First off, it’s one thing to look at official images that are released by the studio and are ideally meant to create hype for a project without giving much of it away, and it’s another to look at spy photos that, quite frankly, give away a lot more about a movie than I want to know before I’m sitting in the theater to watch the finished product. And also, seeing things out of context, not through the lens of the cinematographer, and without any of that special “movie magic” attached to it, can give you the wrong impression of how a film is going to look and make you go into your actual viewing of the finished film battling unfair prejudices. Case in point are some recent spy pics from the set of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, which made the rounds and gave Internet fans a glimpse at what Johnny Depp would look like as the vampire Barnabas Collins. His face was covered in a thick layer of grease paint, it looked like he had plastic hair, and generally the picture made Dark Shadows look like it was going to be one of the over-the-top cartoon movies that have become a hallmark of Burton’s recent career. That aesthetic doesn’t jibe much with what the original Dark Shadows was, and would have probably been a pretty stupid way to approach the material. Probably if […]

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