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Johnny Depp‘s The Lone Ranger died at the box office last weekend, and looks likely to land as one of his films that finds particularly minor traction in the minds of audiences. In other words, most of the people who’ll remember The Lone Ranger in ten years are those who made and paid for it. Kinda like Secret Window, a decent  film that Depp and David Koepp made together almost a decade a ago (released in 2004) but which has fallen between the cracks of Pirates releases and other big-ticket stuff featuring the actor.

Now Depp and Koepp (which would have been a great name for a vaudeville duo) are getting back together to adapt The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, a crime novel with comedic overtones. The resulting film will likely be called simply Mortdecai, and represents the end of a development effort that Depp has been trying to keep moving for a while. Read More »

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The Lone Ranger

Why is a film in which a magic horse eats scorpions off Armie Hammer’s face so insufferably fractured and dull? Now that I’ve got your attention, consider the unfortunate fate of a film, one eager to subvert Western tradition, which becomes deeply lost in the wilderness between the arthouse and multiplex.

The Lone Ranger, masterminded by the Pirates of the Caribbean team of Gore Verbinski (director) and Jerry Bruckheimer (producer), throws out one weird idea after another — fanged rabbits factor in — almost as distractions for the fact that it wants to batter the very myth of the American west. In all cases, it does so without any significant unifying principle to weave the ideas into a movie of any compelling merit. More interesting to talk about than it is to watch in the moment, The Lone Ranger is still a dud in the end.

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Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll wrote more than one adventure in Wonderland, so the notion of a sequel to Alice in Wonderland is hardly new. But the idea of a film carrying on the approach of Tim Burton’s superficial, action-oriented film from 2010 does sound a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless, Burton’s film made over a billion dollars, propelled in part by a post-Avatar interest in 3D. So a sequel was probably inevitable.

At least it won’t be called Alice in Wonderland 2; right now the working title is Into the Looking Glass. (Presumably to be presented as a subtitle, so we’ll likely be calling the film Alice in Wonderland: Into the Looking Glass.)

Now the film has a likely director in James Bobin. The veteran of Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords directed The Muppets for Disney, and is finishing up The Muppets…Again! for the company. Seems like a big thumbs-up from Disney, which has decided that Bobin is a director who can create what the Mouse House wants. Read More »

Johnny Depp Bails on ‘Black Mass’

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The film Black Mass, which is meant to tell the story of high-profile Massachusettes gangster Whitey Bulger, would have been a Donnie Brasco reunion of sorts, but the idea of Johnny Depp playing Bulger seemed a little weird. Now it isn’t happening.

Black Mass is to be directed by Donnie Brasco producer Barry Levinson, based on Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill’s 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob. But now Depp has pulled out of the project, after sluggish pre-sales at Cannes led producers to ask the actor to reduce his $20m quote.

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Lone Ranger Banner

Disney’s The Lone Ranger is a summer film punctuated with a huge question mark. On the one hand, it’s from director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Johnny Depp, a proven triumvirate of Hollywood magic, and the trailers have certainly shown spectacle on the grandest scale. Then there’s the fact it’s based on a property many of today’s kids have never heard of and set in a genre that rarely resonates with younger, Disney centric audiences. It could either be a hit on the scale of Pirates of the Caribbean or a disappointment like John Carter. The jury is out.

The final trailer certainly helps the first argument, compacting insane effects and funny character beats into a compact 100 seconds. The Lone Ranger opens July 3; check it out below. Read More »

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

With Johnny Depp‘s schedule quickly filling up and a Summer 2015 release date already locked in, Disney is feeling the pressure to hire a director for Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Rob Marshall, who directed the last film, was rumored to return but he’s already working on Into The Woods. That leaves the door open for someone new.

Deadline reports Disney will make a decision very soon and have narrowed it down to three choices, all of which are very pretty unconventional. They are Fredrik Bond (The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman), the team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) and Rupert Sanders (Snow White And the Huntsman). Read More »

Depp Streep

Two titans of Tinseltown could be heading Into The Woods with Oscar-winning director Rob Marshall. Both Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep are in talks to join Disney’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim‘s Tony Award winning musical about a baker, his family, and a witch who places a curse on them. From there the characters take a trip through several classic fairy tales like Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. Think something on the scale of Les Miserables, but with a story like Once Upon A Time.

Streep is in talks to play the witch and Depp’s role is still a mystery, but it would likely be the baker or the narrator. Filming could start in early 2014, which raises some serious questions about the status of Pirates of the Caribbean 5. We’ll discuss below. Read More »

The Lone Ranger

In conjunction with yesterday’s new domestic trailer for Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger, a new international trailer has also hit the web. While this one gets into the plot a little bit — Tonto’s (Johnny Depp) reaction to meeting the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) is a highlight — its focus is really on the action. The obviously expensive, hilariously absurd, and utterly awesome action. Hit the jump to check it out.

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