UPDATE, 12:04 PM: By Warner Bros jumping aboard the high-profile Johnny Depp-Joel Edgerton pic Black Mass, it means the studio won’t be taking on another Whitey Bulger project in its own backyard: the one that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had been developing for a couple of years as a starring vehicle for Damon via their Warners-based Pearl Street Films. I’m hearing that Affleck and Damon were given a day or two advance notice that the studio was putting its eggs in the Black Mass basket, but that news came just a day before the latest rewrite was turned in by Aaron Stockard, who worked with Affleck on The Town and Gone Baby Gone and who rewrote the script by Oscar nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street scribe Terence Winter. There was much enthusiasm, then radio silence, and then…Naturally there are bruised feelings that Warners will have to repair with two of its most valuable players, as this was the first project pitched for Affleck to direct and Damon to star after Pearl Street inked its overall deal there, and I’m told the studio assured the pair it wanted to make their movie.
This is all a part of the big rough and tumble game of studios needing to fill slates, and clearly someone was going to come out first with a Bulger biopic. But there are plenty of reasons to smooth any ruffles here. Affleck is directing and starring in Warner Bros’ Live By Night, an epic period crime drama that he adapted from the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Affleck’s first directorial outing Gone Baby Gone. It’s the follow-up to the Best Picture Oscar winner Argo he made for the studio. He also is playing Batman in Warner Bros’ Batman Vs. Superman. Read More »
Warner Bros has made a slight shift to the release of Wally Pfister‘s debut feature Transcendence, which now will open Friday, April 18, instead of Thursday the 17th. Johnny Depp stars in the sci fi action … Read More »
After a ten-year hiatus, the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Awards are back and were awarded tonight in a black-tie ceremony with 500 in attendance at the Paramount Studios Theater. Fourteen categories were honored in film, television, … Read More »
Johnny Depp stars as an AI professor who uploads his consciousness into the digital ether when his body dies in Transcendence, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, and Morgan Freeman co-star in the sci-fi thriller from a Black List … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, the drama Scott Cooper will direct about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media. Now, they are in early talks with Tom Hardy to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger, who is in prison for tipping Bulger that he was about to be indicted. That led Bulger to go from ruthless Boston crime kingpin to the top of the FBI’s most wanted list. Domestic distribution hasn’t yet been decided and there are some territories that Exclusive is selling at Berlin, a task made easier by these casting developments. Production will begin in May.
Depp was originally expected to play Bulger when Barry Levinson was attached to direct, but the deal fell through over money even though the deal was near $20 million. Deadline revealed last month that talks had rekindled with Depp, and this has now become a blue-chip project, particularly when Crazy Heart and Out Of The Furnace helmer Cooper boarded it. The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Cooper is negotiating to rewrite and direct Black Mass, the drama about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media, with Universal releasing through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio. And guess what? Talks have rekindled for Johnny Depp to possibly play Bulger in the film. You’ll recall he was nearly set last year, but talks fell apart over money.
The subject matter is irresistible. Bulger had risen to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List when he disappeared for a decade before he could be put behind bars. Many felt he could never have gotten that far without the help of John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger and his brother William, the former president of the Massachusetts Senate. Joel Edgerton had been in talks to play the FBI pal. Connolly was tasked with bringing down the Italian mob, and he was aided by Bulger, who burnished his own position as Boston crime kingpin by getting rid of the competition for his Winter Hill gang. Connolly was lauded for his work before things went south for him. He eventually was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for aiding Bulger, who is currently in a Massachusetts state prison for second-degree murder. Read More »
I’m told by Marvel moles there is really nothing to this rumor about Johnny Depp playing Steven Strange in Dr. Strange for Marvel Studios. The story’s being bannered by Variety online, but don’t dress for it. I’m told … Read More »
Lionsgate and Oddlot Entertainment have added Aubrey Plaza, Oliver Platt and Jeff Goldblum to the cast of Mortdecai, joining Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow in the action comedy based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s three-novel anthology. Plaza currently stars on NBC’s Parks … Read More »
Johnny Depp stars as an artificial intelligence researcher who uploads his consciousness into the digital ether when his body dies in Transcendence, the directorial debut of celebrated Christopher Nolan DP Wally Pfister. Consider it a companion pic of sorts to Spike Jonze’s … Read More »
BREAKING: Alice In Wonderland 2 has been set for a May 27, 2016 release, Disney said today, finalizing a spot on the schedule for the sequel to the studio’s massive 2010 hit that made more than $1.025B in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in early talks with Garth Davis to make his narrative feature directing debut on Shantaram, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: For their first sale through their overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV, Chris Miller and Phil Lord have teamed with Johnny Depp to produce Torched, a comedy project that has landed at Fox with a put pilot commitment. The single-camera family comedy hails from Blue Mountain State co-creator/star Chris Romano. It centers on a fast-talking, fun-loving dad, who through his very unique — and sometimes law-breaking — job, strives to give his young son the life he never had. 20th TV, Lord Miller and Depp’s Infinitum are producing, with Romano, Lord, Miller, Depp, Lord Miller President Seth Cohen and Infinitum’s Christi Dembrowski and Norman Todd executive producing. Miller and Lord previously worked with Depp on 21 Jump Street. Read More »
BREAKING: Disney has moved off its summer 2015 release date with Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, and the studio is now looking to slot it for summer 2016. This will create some jockeying from other studios next summer – Pirates had been slated for a July 10 release and other studios steered clear of that date — but I’m told from insiders this is not a case where they are hoisting a distress flag.
Basically, the studio and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have an advanced outline from scribe Jeff Nathanson, who is writing. They have directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg, who did a great job with a modest budget on Kon-Tiki, but who are new to the big scale of a film like Pirates. The studio would have to get into production by February, which would mean prepping off the outline.
The decision was made that it wasn’t worth rushing until they are sure the script is right. Why not take the time to do a proper job with one of Disney’s most important tentpoles? The first four films grossed $3.7 billion, and the last installment, On Stranger Tides, crossed the $1 billion mark. Disney has plenty for summer 2015 anyway. There is a sequel to The Avengers and the first of the next three installments of the Star Wars franchise, directed by JJ Abrams. There is also the Marvel pic Ant-Man, and Inside Out from Pixar. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in talks with Joel Edgerton to star in Shantaram, an adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that is being produced by Inifinitum Nihil partners Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski, and GK Films’ Graham King. Following a couple of stalled attempts to get this movie up and running after the studio paid $2 million for the rights in 2004, Depp himself jump started the process by personally courting Edgerton to play a role Depp once intended to play before the film was derailed by the Writer’s Strike.
Edgerton is being courted for the lead role of a remarkable protagonist who, at the time the book became a sensation in Hollywood, was said to have been modeled after the author in a thinly veiled memoir. He starts as an Australian heroin addict who escapes a maximum-security prison, reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of India and eventually uses gun-running and counterfeiting skills to fight against the invading Russian troops in Afghanistan. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Newsroom actress soon could be added to the cast of the adaptation of Kyril Bonfigloi’s anti-hero art dealer novels. I’ve learned Olivia Munn is in negotiations to join Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow … Read More »
Lone Ranger stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer waited until they hit the UK press circuit to explain why the expensive Disney tent pole flopped big time at the summer box office. “This is the deal with American critics,” said Armie Hammer speaking to Yahoo UK/Ireland. “They’ve been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time. I think that’s probably when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews.” Hammer minced the fewest words of all the Lone Ranger gang throwing jabs at film critics he said “[jumped] on the bandwagon” and “[tried] to slit the jugular of our film.”
Depp toed the same company line, blaming an imaginary American film critics vendetta for why the Gore Verbinski-directed, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Western reimagining failed over the 4th of July weekend and cost Disney an estimated $190M loss just a year after its $200M John Carter write-down. “I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinski] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] and I were going to do The Lone Ranger,” said Depp. “To round it out as a big group, the American press, the journalists or whatever – yeah, I think the reviews were written 7, 8 months probably before we ever released the film.”
Related: Disney Expects To Write Down As Much As $190M For ‘Lone Ranger’ Read More »
Can this stunt help goose The Lone Ranger‘s lackluster box office? Disney and Britain’s Sky are partnering to film a live 3-minute TV ad for the movie featuring stars … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Clearly Johnny Depp‘s reps are in publicity overdrive following a week of bruising bad press when The Lone Ranger bombed and his star status was questioned. The purpose, of course, is to demonstrate that Johnny is very much in … Read More »