Surely you've not forgotten about the lengthy budgetary wrangling that made The Lone Ranger a big story starting back in August, when Disney decided that something like $250 million was too expensive for the western event movie. Well, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were able to bring the budget down, and The Lone Ranger is back on with a new release date, but you don't spend months on hold then jump right back to work without getting some ducks in order. Among those ducks are a bunch of actors, as apparently all the supporting players previously attached to the adventure tale are coming back to the project.
Today, in unsuprising would-be controversy related to pompous, overblown entertainment awards shows, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced that British comedian Ricky Gervais will host next year's ceremony. This will be Gervais's third time wearing a suit and standing in front of many inebriated, sharply dressed rich people at the Globes. Most folks are only thinking about his turn at the last ceremony, during which his sarcasm was apparently harsh enough to elicit sympathy for multimillionaire movie stars and had many viewers crying foul.
Looking at Tim Burton's oeuvre, it's blatantly obvious that the director has a pathological attraction to misfit characters who suit his gothic outsider sensibilities. Whether its any number of characters portrayed by Johnny Depp, the Penguin in Batman Returns, or any character character from his collection The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories, Burton loves a misunderstood outsider, preferably with some physical oddity. It should be no surprise, then, that the director is in early talks with 20th Century Fox to develop Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children. The title alone sounds tailor-made for Burton.
Remember just a few days ago when stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum were engaged in a battle to win more Twitter followers in order to win the unparalleled honor of unveiling the first trailer for 21 Jump Street? Well, that whole thing is over, and Hill won the right to tweet a link to the new red band trailer, which is also extra long, clocking in at more than three minutes. The trailer gets across the basic idea, carried over from the 1980's television series that starred Johnny Depp: full grown cops go undercover as high school students in an attempt to eliminate a drug ring with extreme prejudice. There's also lots of inappropriate behavior, enthusiastic obscenities, and a good portion of action. Though Hill is a proven comedic presence, it's actually Tatum who gets the bigger laughs here, throwing himself into his meatheaded, overzealous character.
Before 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl provided the perfect vessel for his slightly askew charisma, Johnny Depp was generally viewed as a weird actor. He toplined many a movie and was certainly a household name, but his predilection for strange, often daring material marked him as alienating off kilter for mainstream American audiences. In fact, the Edward Scissorhands, Dead Man, and Ed Wood actor was fond of joking that he would never make a profitable movie. Now, though, he's undoubtedly one of the biggest movie stars on the planet; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides grossed more than a billion dollars over the summer, a fear it most assuredly wouldn't have accomplished without Depp's face on every billboard.
One of the very weirdest roles of Depp's pre-Jack Sparrow career was his pitch-perfect take on Raoul Duke, the somewhat-fictionalized narrator of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the Terry Gilliam-directed adaption of Gonzo journalist and American firebrand Hunter S. Thompson's book. Thompson was a real-life friend and mentor to Depp, an avowed reader said to own a formidable literary collection. For literally years, Depp has been trying will into existence The Rum Diary, based on the first novel Thompson ever wrote.
The film finally hits theaters today, six years after the author's death. Dep, who actually paid to have Thompson's ashes blasted from a cannon in accordance with his will, discussed the film during the official press conference, attended by IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick. At a panel with The Rum Diary writer-director Bruce Robinson, Depp discussed once again playing a Thompson surrogate, how he and Robinson tackled the material, and living with Hunter inside him.
Opening in theaters on October 28th is the new Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) film The Rum Diary, based on the novel by author Hunter S. Thompson. The film marks the second time that Depp has played the main character in an adaptation of one of Thompson's books, following his work in '1998s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp and Thompson went on to become very close friends and the movie star was credited with finding the forty-year old unpublished manuscript for "The Rum Diary" hidden in the author's house. After the book was published, the two friends teamed up to turn it into a movie but were unable to do so before Thompson's untimely death in 2005.
Eventually, Depp enlisted Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson to write and direct the movie, even though he had not helmed a film in almost twenty years. In addition to Johnny Depp, the film boasts an impressive cast of actors including Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Amber Heard (Drive Angry), Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar), Michael Rispoli (Kick-Ass), Marshall Bell (Puncture), Amaury Nolasco (Transformers), and Richard Jenkins (The Visitor).
IAR's managing editor Jami Philbrick recently had the chance to sit down with actors Giovanni Ribisi, and Michael Rispoli, as well as director Bruce Robinson to discuss their work on The Rum Diary. The two actors, and the director spoke candidly about the new film, working with Johnny Depp, how he got Robinson to come out of self exile to make the movie, Ribisi's unusual performance, and Rispoli's love for playing the "sidekick."
FilmDistrict has released not one, but two new clips from The Rum Diary, which hits theaters in just one week. The film is an adaptation of the first novel ever written by incendiary Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's onscreen surrogate Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist who finds himself working in Puerto Rico during the 1950's. Depp previously played Thompson doppleganger Raoul Duke in Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Duke plentifully tripped balls and tore ass around Vegas and the surrounding desert in a huge boat of a convertible. These two new Rum Diary clips show the seemingly more level-headed Kemp both tripping balls and driving recklessly through Puerto Rico in a considerably cooler convertible. This time, instead of a bloated Benicio del Toro riding shotgun, it's the lovely Amber Heard.
You might not know him by name, but you would definitely recognize actor Greg Ellis if you saw his face. Ellis has appeared on dozens of popular television shows such as X-Files, Nip/Tuck, Trust Me, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and season three of 24 as biological weapons dealer Michael Amador. He’s also had roles in several successful feature films including the Academy Award-winning Titanic, Beowulf, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek where the actor had the honor of being the new franchise’s first official “red shirt” (a stock character who dies soon after being introduced). But Ellis is best known for his role as Lieutenant Theodore Groves in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, including last summer’s mega-hit Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Ellis first played Groves in the original Pirates movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and while he did not appear in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, he did return to the series for the third chapter, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. But the actor’s largest role in the series came with the most recent edition to the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In the film, Groves is promoted to Lieutenant Commander while working with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) aboard the H.M.S. Providence to find the Fountain of Youth. He aids Barbossa and Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) on their quest to find the Fountain and claims it for the British Empire before ultimately battling Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and the Spaniards.
I recently had a chance to speak with actor Greg Ellis about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The actor spoke candidly with me about the film, his character’s evolution, playing sidekick to Geoffrey Rush’s Barbossa, the differences between working with the film’s director Rob Marshall and former Pirates director Gore Verbinski, his reaction the first time he saw Johnny Depp play Jack Sparrow, playing the first “red shirt” in Star Trek, and the loophole that J.J. Abrams has come up with so that Ellis can possibly appear in Star Trek 2.
Over two months, blockbuster movie fans watched, mouths agape, as a surprisingly public scuffle over the budget of Disney's The Lone Ranger brought the project to a screeching halt. This despite the involvement of Pirates of the Caribbean triumvirate Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The film, which stars Armie Hammer as the titular masked western avenger and Depp as Tonto, saw its budget balloon to reportedly over $250 million, and Disney put preproduction on hold until the number could be brought down to a still expensive $215 million. Just last week, though, Disney announced a new release date for a good-to-go The Lone Ranger, and with the ballyhooed budget fracas, Bruckheimer is speaking openly about the whole thing and the process of bringing the costs down. Read on for his thoughts on sensibly arranging the production and an update on another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.
As an audience, we're grown increasingly jaded regarding visual effects in our modern blockbusters. The sheer number of blockbuster movies with show-stopping visual effects sequences has given us a shorthand, an easy and often unconscious understanding of what works and what doesn't. The arrival of every new huge spectacular movie brings with it the expectation that the figurative bar will be raised, particularly when that would-be blockbuster is the latest installment in a franchise known for its envelope-pushing digital creations.
Such was the case for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in a franchise that has included undead pirates, fish-men, massive maritime battles, and even an ocean goddess. For the first film in the series not directed by Gore Verbinski, the story saw the introduction of zombies, and more importantly, some truly memorably mermaids. Aaron McBride has been crucial to the visual effects on all four Pirates films, serving as the art director on the first three and visual effects art director for On Stranger Tides.
In his time at Industrial Light and Magic, McBride has built up a resume that includes the likes of Minority Report, Iron Man, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. In a roundtable interview with entertainment writers from around the world promoting tomorrow's release of Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, McBride discussed the unique challenges and accomplishments of the sequel. It's an interview that sheds some light on the intricacies involved in creating those visual effects that often flash by in no time at all.