Transcendence (header)

It really says something about Johnny Depp‘s career that his role in Transcendence as a megalomaniacal digital god (or something) is the least weird he’s looked in a while. The role doesn’t require him to don gold teeth, or vampire fangs, or ten pounds of white makeup and a bird on his head. Instead, as director Wally Pfister puts it, Transcendence has him with “just a pair of glasses on and a pretty normal haircut.”

But don’t let that fool you: Transcendence sounds like a trip. The script, by Jack Paglen, centers on an AI researcher (Depp) who uploads his own consciousness into the computer when his life falls into danger. Rebecca HallMorgan Freeman, and Cillian Murphy also star, and you can see all of them in two new images after the jump.

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While hints about Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence haven’t been all that hard to come by, actual, confirmed facts have. Neither Pfister nor Warner Bros. has said much about the plot at all, even though the sci-fi drama has been the subject of much interest ever since it was first announced.

But today, a new official synopsis has arrived that not only verifies much of what we’ve heard before, but offers new clues about where the plotline is headed. Hit the jump to find out just what stars Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Bettany will be doing in the movie.

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Alice in Wonderland

Briefly: Wow, that was fast. Mere weeks after first hearing about Jon Favreau‘s live-action 3D remake of The Jungle Book, Disney has given the film a release date. It’ll open October 9, 2015, making it the first film to claim a date in that month. But that’s not all. Disney also announced the follow up to the billion dollar hit Alice in Wonderland will come out a year later. Alice in Wonderland 2, starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska, opens May 27, 2016. James Bobin (The Muppets) will direct.

Also, Ron Howard‘s sea-bound film, Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth, will be released March 13, 2015. [ERC]

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Briefly: Johnny Depp‘s last couple years haven’t been so hot when it comes to broad success. He’s had some measure of financial success, and critical acclaim, but rarely for the same project. The Pirates franchise and stuff like The Tourist hasn’t done much to burnish Depp’s star, and smaller films like The Rum Diary haven’t found much of an audience. Rango is among the rare highlights of the last couple years for the actor.

Now he’s in production on Mortdecai, based on the first of three connected novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. In addition to Depp, the cast features Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn. In addition to the last couple names, a press release announcing the start of production notes that Guy Burnet, Michael Byrne, Michael Culkin, Jonny Pasvolsky, Ulrich Thomsen, and Paul Whitehouse have also signed on.

David Koepp is directing from a script written by Eric Aronson. The film sounds like a bit of a throwback — based on story outline alone, this might be scratching the same itch Depp had when he was trying to put a new version of The Thin Man into action a couple years back. The story is described as: “Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.”

Into the Woods logo

When most people think of Walt Disney films, they think of two genres: the animated musical and the live-action family film. Beauty and the Beast or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Snow White or Swiss Family Robinson. What’s slightly more rare of late is a blend of the two, the live-action musical, as we’ve seen in films like Mary Poppins, Newsies, Enchanted or The Muppets. These come out much less frequently.

Next year, however, Disney will be releasing two live-action musicals: Muppets Most Wanted and one that’s likely to be their most elaborate and star-studded live action musical to date, Into The Woods.

Directed by Rob Marshall and based on the Tony Award-winning broadway show with music by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods just began production aimed at a Christmas 2014 release. Below, read the full press release including the list of confirmed cast members, such as Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski and Tracy Ullman. Read More »

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Just as Disney moves one film into the crowded summer of 2015, another has been taken out. Pirates of the Caribbean 5, originally scheduled for release July 15, 2015, has been delayed. The move comes a day after Marvel’s Ant-Man moved into the same month.

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have been tapped to direct the film, which is rumored to be called Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. No new release date has been set, but the summer of 2016 seems likely. Read More »

Joel Edgerton to Replace Johnny Depp in ‘Shantaram’

Joel Edgerton

It’s been a good week for projects stuck in development hell. Yesterday, James Gray’s The Lost City of Z got a new lease on life as Benedict Cumberbatch entered talks to star. Today, the even longer-gestating Shantaram looks like it could spring back to life, with Joel Edgerton in the lead role.

Based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram centers on an escaped Australian convict named Lin who moves to Bombay and reinvents himself as a doctor. He eventually gets involved with the local mafia, and uses the dark skills he develops with them in the guerilla war against invading Russians in Afghanistan. Even more remarkable than the plotline itself is the fact that it’s based on Roberts’ own life. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

Briefly: Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp are prepping the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, with Kon Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg taking the helm. Jeff Nathanson is scripting, and while we don’t know any story details at this point, now we’ve got a title. The series will finally get around to using a classic pirate phrase, as the film is reportedly titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

The info comes via This Is Infamous, which got the title in an interview with the directors. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will shoot in early 2014, and is set for release on July 15, 2015. There has been talk that Disney will limit Bruckheimer’s autonomy on this chapter, but it remains to be seen how that will affect the film, if indeed it will at all.

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