It is an unusual statement to make but it is true – Johnny Depp is going through a blip in his career. The one who is fondly known as Jack Sparrow or Mad Hatter or Edward Scissorhands, is unlikely to be remembered as Tonto or Barnabas Collins or Paul Kemp, which are the last three roles he has played on the big screen (not accounting for the cameos here and there). And the reason is simple, those movies have not held up to the high standards that Depp’s movies generally attain, and in their mediocrity has also lain the comparatively weaker performances of the otherwise incredible Johnny Depp. The movies we are talking of are The Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows and Rum Diary, and so one has to go to the summer of 2011 to find the last hit film that Depp delivered which was the fourth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. So where is Johnny Depp headed now and how is he going to resurrect himself? Will the real Johnny Depp please stand up?
We will get to visit Depp on the big screen pretty soon with the April release of this year, Transcendence. The movie is a sci-fi action thriller, which itself is a genre that Depp does not usually venture in unlike a Tom Cruise or a Will Smith. And maybe that might be the kind of thing that would help Depp. A change from his routine of “being different”. The audience is so accustomed to seeing the craziness of Depp’s character that it has lost a bit of its freshness, just as was the case with Tonto in The Lone Ranger, though the movie had bigger reasons to fail beyond Depp alone. Having said that, Depp is still not ready to play the “normal guy” who is your next door neighbour, just yet. In Transcendence, Depp is playing the character of Dr. Will Caster who is a researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, working on creating a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. Caster is working with zeal in achieving his goal, but things do not go ahead entirely as planned. A few twists and turns which the trailer of the film has revealed make for compelling viewing, and if the entire movie can be as engrossing as the trailer has been, then we may be looking at a winner here. Coming back to the previous point, the role of Dr. Caster does not seem to be “unusual” enough to warranty Depp’s participation, but going on a relatively simpler path may just work for the actor. The film also stars a host of other talented actors, viz. Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, and Cillian Murphy, to lighten the burden from Depp’s shoulders. This is the directorial debut of long-time cinematographer Wally Pfister, and while this may not be a sci-fi in the league of Spielberg movies, it has still got us interested, and hopefully will live upto expectations. If you haven’t watched the trailer, then have a look here and judge for yourself.
Johnny Depp will be seen next right at the end of the year 2014 in the musical fantasy film Into the Woods which is being produced by Walt Disney Pictures. This film is a Broadway musical film adaptation, and Depp seems to be walking back in his old shoes again, of playing something bizarre and different, as he has been cast in the role of The Big Bad Wolf. The film narrates the tale of a conspiring witch who wants to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children’s stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. It is an ensemble cast, which includes the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine amongst many. Into the Woods is not a film being driven by Depp alone, just the way it was with Alice in Wonderland a few years back; though after the latter’s release, Depp’s performance had been much lauded, which is something he would be hoping for in the latest film Into the Woods too. The reduced pressure by not being the central point of focus in a film may just bring the old Depp back again. And Depp has a bit of experience with musicals too from his work in the acclaimed Tim Burton movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Sing away, Johnny!
Johnny Depp is currently shooting for his latest film titled Mortdecai. The story revolves around art dealer Charles Mortdecai who is searching for a stolen painting that’s reportedly linked to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Listed as an action-comedy crime film, this film is being directed by David Keopp who has worked with Depp before in 2004’s Secret Window. But Koepp’s latest directorial flick was the rather average film Premium Rush, and hopefully there is more to offer in Mortdecai. There seems to be, at least in the form of another Johnny Depp avatar. The latest set pics show a new Depp look, with a handlebar moustache that has been curled up; one can imagine that everything about this character would be unique, be his gait or his speech style. The film also stars Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn and Gwyneth Paltrow. While there is no release date attached yet, the principal photography is underway, and an early 2015 release could possibly be on the cards. The story seems to be an adventurous fun-filled one, something written with Depp in mind we can imagine, and now if only everything goes ahead as planned, Depp’s resurrection could well be complete with Mortdecai.
And if everything fails, which is quite a negative sentiment to carry, but if everything does fail, the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie cannot. It simply cannot. The fourth instalment was not loved by many, and yet it grossed more than $1 billion in worldwide revenues, prompting the producers to build another one. The fifth of the series is being called Dead Men Tell No Tales, and that is as good a title as one can get for a Jack Sparrow movie. Oh yeah, Jack Sparrow. He’s going to be back, hopefully in the summer of 2016 as shooting is planned to begin by end of this year, and that rum induced swagger and the crude yapping tongue have been sorely missed. Hopefully, Depp’s career would be well on track by then, so that Jack Sparrow’s return becomes a feather in Depp’s cap rather than his last hope for survival. Then there are the growing rumours of Johnny Depp being sought to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange. The role would perfectly fit Depp, but maybe too perfectly, such that Depp could end up once again playing something “irregular” that we would again come to except as a routine. A Doctor Strange after an encounter with Jack Sparrow, would that not be a bit too much to absorb? These are just rumours for now, and may end as rumours alone, but seeing Depp sometime in the Marvel universe will not be surprising at all.
So still much to look forward to from Johnny Depp, in terms of again different characters as well as interesting sounding movie plots. Let’s just hope that things proceed in Depp’s favour, and his movie choices turn out to be much better than his recent released films. Here’s one for Johnny Depp, the entertainer!