Mortdecai trailer

To put it mildly, Johnny Depp is not exactly at a high point in his career. He hasn’t had a solid hit since the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and his last three starring roles were outright flops. But on the bright side, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to redeem himself in the near future.

One of those chances arrives next February in the form of a goofy comedy. Depp plays the title character in Mortdecai, a roguish art dealer racing to recover a stolen painting that could lead to Nazi gold. The first Mortdecai trailer has just been released, and you can watch it after the jump.

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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.”

Gwyneth Paltrow / Ewan McGregor

The Lone Ranger was a low point for Johnny Depp, but the actor’s already brushed himself off and moved on. Wally Pfister’s Transcendence is shooting now, Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods enters production later this year, and he’s got David Koepp’s Mortdecai coming together after that.

The last film on that list got a nice shove forward last month when Depp started closing in on a formal deal after years of development. Now it’s picking up even more big names, as Gwyenth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor enter talks to co-star. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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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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