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Entries in Johnny Depp (49)


The Furniture: A Nightmare in Sleepy Hollow

"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Sleepy Hollow is an excellent October movie. It has well-placed jack-o-lanterns. Every frame shivers in the autumn chill. Washington Irving’s Hudson Valley falls under perpetually overcast skies, sapping the harvest season of its color. Rather than admire the changing leaves, Tim Burton emphasizes those aspects of fall that foreshadow the bitterness of winter. 

This harsh climate swept up three Oscar nominations, including a win for production design. It’s a testament to Burton’s fanatically specific vision. Location scouting began in Irving’s New York, but the perfect town wasn’t there. It wasn’t in New England, either, nor even in Old England. After all of that searching, the design team ended up building an entire 18th century village from scratch at Leavesden and Shepperton Studios in the UK.

The final product is an expressionistic, spooky riff on colonial life. The credit goes to production designer Rick Heinrichs, whose collaboration with Burton goes as far back as 1982’s Vincent. The set decorations were by Peter Young, who first worked with the director on Batman. Their version of Sleepy Hollow, New York is a clever blend of historical realism and nightmarish fantasy...

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Cast Begins to Board "Orient Express"

Chris here. Remember what fun we had awhile back fantasy casting Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Murder on the Orient Express remake? Well, now some official names have been added to the cast and it should be just as much of a delight.

The two biggest names come as something of an unexpected Dark Shadows reunion (sorry for the reminder about that Tim Burton misfire): Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp will be the headliners to Branagh's own Poirot. Pfeiffer becomes the natural successor to Lauren Bacall as Mrs. Hubbard, a casting coup that feels both inspired and accurate. With Beat-Up Little Seagull and Darren Aronofsky's next film which is also probably coming in 2017, we'll be grateful to be seeing quite a bit of her. Depp will be playing Ratchett, the victim of the titular murder.

But they weren't the only names signing up, and the others make for quite an exciting assemblage: Daisy Ridley, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Peña, Derek Jacobi, and Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr. are all coming on board. That may sound like a lot of names, but this massive cast still has quite a few roles to fill. Stay tuned!


Jared Leto and the Art of Disavowing Your Film

by Kieran Scarlett

You may have read earlier this week Jared Leto’s claims that he was “tricked" into doing Suicide Squad. These claims of course came in the wake of the film’s poor critical reception and steep box office drop off after its opening weekend. In a nutshell, Leto alleges that he initially believed the film would be much a much more artistic outing than what was on the screen and he feels duped. Now, we could certainly sit here and speculate how (with whole plot details and often times entire scripts being leaked online to the lay public prior to a film’s release) the arguable star of a major motion picture could ever be tricked into thinking the film was X when it’s really Y. But rather than unpacking that dubious version of events and the spinning and "taken out of context" responses there’s something else that needs to be addressed here—the art of shifting the blame for your participation in a critically panned film.

There’s a way to do it tactfully and believably, without the claims seeming like sour grapes. It’s a one-step process. It’s incredibly easy to remember and it will help actors avoid the side-eyes that Jared Leto and his claims are surely receiving. Here it goes...

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Lukewarm Off the Presses: Woolf, Winona, and La Pfeiffer

Things we forgot to talk about but it's never too late.

Do You Love She Loves Me?
Did any of you manage to catch the Broadway livestream of She Loves Me June 30th? It was the first ever of its kind though I've heard no details on how well it performed (i.e. if we'll see more of them). They've extended the availability to rent it until July 10th on Broadway HD

The Hours 2: The Return of Virginia Woof
Okay not really. Basically everybody committed suicide or got old in The Hours. But recently we got word that Virginia Woolf is coming back to the big screen  in the adaptation of the play Vita & Virginia which is about Woolf's friendship and affair with another female writer. The most delightful part of this news may be that the play and its screenplay adaptation were both written by the actress Dame Eileen Atkins who was in The Hours (she worked in the flower shop in the Streep section). No word on casting but allow me to have a brief fantasy about Nicole Kidman reprising her Oscar-winning role before we hear who got the plum gig. 

Winona is Back
Time Magazine recently published a solid interview with Winona Ryder on the eve of yet another comeback. This time via Stranger Things on Netflix. Of interest is a lengthy response when she's asked about the recent allegations against Johnny Depp. It's definitely the most levelheaded response we've read on any celebrity weighing in on the matter. But then we tend to like levelheaded responses and people who realize that they don't know what happened whatever their assumptions. That kind of response is almost impossible to find online from normal folks and it's also increasingly rare with celebrities.

But the best part of the interview was a question about the current nostalgia rage.

I get asked a lot, ‘What does it feel like to be a ’90s icon?’ And I’m like, ‘You think I sit around and think of myself like that?’ You can’t think about yourself in those ways, because who does that?

...I think because I started so young, I secretly wanted to be older all the time.

The interview is good but even better is that Stranger Things is getting really strong advanced buzz... especially for Winona herself who hasn't had anything work out that well for her showbiz-wise in aeons with the exception of that brief dark flash of Noni fever via her bit part in Oscar favorite Black Swan (2010).

Finally in confusing rumor alerts...
I don't normally share rumors (the internet is way too hung up on speculation when dialogue about things that actually exist is way more healthy/substantial) but I can't let this go without a mention. Remember the news that Jennifer Lawrence's Darren Aronofsky picture (working title Day 6) would co-star Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, and Michelle Pfeiffer? The story's logline is:

A couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Most of the speculation on the internet was that Michelle Pfeiffer was playing Jennifer Lawrence's mother which seemed like a leap in logic -- why would they be related given that logline? A new rumor recently sprung up that the film would be titled Mother. Pass the fainting salts could this mean Pfeiffer was the actual lead -- but no, then that rumor was debunked by Paramount. It's all very confusing and typical internet (shut up everyone!) but any news of a Pfeiffer movie actually making it into production without her bolting is thrilling. And we are apparently getting three of them in relatively short succession, which all sound way more promising than that misfire The Family (2013) which was her last time before cameras. Two are already filmed - HBO's Wizard of Lies, and the indie drama Beat-Up Little Seagull (both due later this year though specific dates aren't announced) and Day 6 the following year unless she bolts from the set mid-production.


Tweetweek: Babs, Ali, and Baby Alicia

Weekly tweet roundup for bite-sized amusements or insta-feelings. After the jump... X-Men, Alicia Vikander and goodbyes to Muhammad Ali (RIP) who led such an eventful life and inspired so many that I've lost track of how many documentaries there are about him. Plus that underappreciated Michael Mann biopic.  

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Q&A: Australian Greats, Leading Men, and Camera Muses

It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments. 

INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?

This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar. 

This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?

TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).

I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.

KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?

[more Q&A after the jump]

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Catching Up: Depp's Trump, Ladd's Gripe, Amy's Drama

We've been busy busy with interviews, awards pieces, Silence of the Lambs anniversary, and more so we're way behind on film news. So let's get caught up with news, awardage, and random recommended links...

Pajiba Meryl Streep getting herself into trouble with an African comment when asked about diversity
LongReads Pregnancy in movies with Mad Max Fury Road as starting point
Inverse The Rock gleefully warning fans he'll get naked on HBO's Ballers
Funny or Die! Johnny Depp as Donald Trump. Didn't know they did 50 minute skits!
• Cinematic Corner we need to talk about Harrison Ford in Witness
Library of America Carrie Rickey on The Age of Innocence
• Unseen Films would like you to consider Toni Collette in Glassland 
• Coming Soon Gal Gadot's career before Wonder Woman
• Regal Cinemas cute teaser poster for Finding Dory

• Variety Amy Schumer trying her hand at drama. She's joined the cast of the PTSD movie Thank You For Your Service which stars Miles Teller 
THR Chris Weitz will write the screenplay adaptation of upcoming nonfiction book 21 Years to Midnight which centers on Obergefell v. Hodges, which eventually led to the legalization of same-sex marriage
• AV Club The Bachelors will star JK Simmons as a widower. He and his son (uncast) meet two extraordinary women and their lives are transformed. Julie Delpy will play one of the women. We just hope this isn't yet another movie where women only exist to help the man through their character arc. 
• Tracking Board Goldie Hawn might finally act again... in a new Amy Schumer comedy
• The Film Stage has a lot of info on Claire Denis new project High Life so it's spoilery but the film will star Robert Pattison, Patricia Arquette, and Mia Goth from Nymphomaniac 

• Variety Mustang tops the Lumiere Awards in France (precursor to the Césars)
• THR I apologize that TFE forgot to cover the Goya awards. So much happens every week with awardage this time of year. The big winner was Truman starring Ricardo Darin (Secret in Their Eyes) and Javier Camera (Talk to Her). Best Actress had some international superstar nominees in Penelope Cruz and Juliette Binoche but they lost to Natalia de Molina (Techo y Comida)
• AARP "Movies for Grown-Ups Awards" red carpet. Spotlight took Best Picture. Ridley Scott best director. Acting winners: Lily Tomlin (Grandma), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Diane Ladd (Joy) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies).  And you should know that Diane took the opportunity to speak out against Category Fraud. God bless her! And FYI, Ladd is NOT the Academy member actress I spoke to earlier this year who was angry and vowed to not for anyone pitched in the category. So people are finally if slowly starting to see this for what it is. Now, if only critics and journalists, who have such opinion-making power would stop promoting it in their own awards and write-ups! 

Here is Queen Ladd on the topic.

I've already seen snippy things on line about "she wouldn't have been nominated regardless," but, FACT: We do not know this. Listen up: if we didn't have Category Fraudsters each year people would be discussing the options among real supporting actresses (because people always discuss possibilities when it comes to the Oscars) and who knows who might have gained traction without Vikander and Mara sucking up all the conversation?

• In Contention Brie and Saoirse Ronan honored in Santa Barbara
• Elle Magazine more Brie. Lots more.  
• Pajiba ...Elle Magazine has gone a little crazy with the photoshop, though.

Playbill Aaron Sorkin writing a new adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway
• Gothamist Sikh actor Waris Ahluwalia, from Wes Anderson's movies, was banned from a flight since he wouldn't remove his turban!
• MNPP Great news for Bryan Fuller fans. The Hannibal and Pushing Daisies man will be running the new Star Trek series premiering a year from now.
• Slate reviews Samantha Bees political comedy show Full Frontal. (I was really hoping she's get Jon Stewart's seat when he left The Daily Show.)
Playbill YES! Sutton Foster will be part of the Gilmore Girls reunion. Can they just have her play her character from Bunheads since they take place in the same Sherman-Palladino world?
Theater Mania Stephen King's 5 reasons you should see Misery on stage.