In the Pipeline

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Johnny Depp will team with highly-regarded director Wes Anderson for Anderson’s next film project, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Grand Budapest Hotel will be produced by Anderson along with Scott Rudin and Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales. There are no plot details available about the movie or the type of role Johnny will play, though Anderson told CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg that “he wrote the script with a friend who has never been involved with the film industry before (his previous co-writers include Owen Wilson, Noah Baumbach, and Roman Coppola).” Anderson has directed and co-written Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, the animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox, and this year’s arthouse hit Moonrise Kingdom.

The Grand Budapest Hotel will mark the first time Johnny has worked with Wes Anderson. Johnny is the first cast member to commit to the project, but Anderson is rumored to be seeking Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Angela Lansbury for the ensemble.

The Thin Man

Johnny Depp will star as sophisticated sleuth Nick Charles in a new version of the Dashiell Hammett mystery classic The Thin Man for Warner Bros. The project will reunite Johnny with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall . . . and will return Marshall to the late Prohibition period he brought so vividly to life in his Oscar-winning Best Picture Chicago. Marshall and John DeLuca also join the project as producers, with their Lucamar Productions partnering with Johnny’s Infinitum Nihil and Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park Pictures. “John [DeLuca] and I are overjoyed at the idea of working with Johnny again, especially on such a classy and classic project,” Marshall said. “We are also thrilled to be partnering this time with such wonderful producers as Christi Dembrowski [for Infinitum Nihil] and Kevin McCormick, and we are looking forward to working with Warner Bros. to create a reinvention of a beloved story.”

The original version of The Thin Man — now a classic listed on the National Film Registry — first graced the screen in 1934 with William Powell playing Nick Charles and Myrna Loy as Nora, his socialite wife and partner in crime-solving and repartee. The Thin Man was an enormous critical and popular success, receiving Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Several sequels followed: After the Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), and Song of the Thin Man (1947). All of the films featured the original team of William Powell, Myrna Loy, and their clever terrier Asta.

Billy Ray, who scripted the 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games, is writing the screenplay, which Marshall says is not a remake of the 1934 classic, but rather “a reimagination.” Ray is “the first writer who’s actually writing a draft,” Marshall said; although both Jerry Stahl and David Koepp had been previously announced as writers for the project, “we hadn’t really started with either of them, with Jerry or David. Neither had written a word. Billy is the first writer who’s actually writing a draft.”

Marshall promises that the “reimagination” of The Thin Man will keep its “incredible [. . .] iconic characters” intact, as well as its original setting. “We’ll be setting it in the ’30s, because it is of that world. It’s an era that we have a great affinity for. So we’re going to be able to inhabit a world that we really, truly love ….”

The key role of Nora Charles has yet to be cast: Emma Stone, Emily Blunt, Kristen Wiig, Eva Green, Amy Adams, Carey Mulligan, Rachel Weisz, and Isla Fisher are rumored to be on Marshall’s short list. Whoever plays Nora needs to have “humor and an effortlessness,” as well as “elegance. That’s not something that’s easy to find!” Marshall told Jennifer Vineyard of And of course, Nora will need to have great chemistry with Nick. “It’s about this relationship. The core of all these wonderful thrillers is always that great relationship with each other. That’s what drew us to it, and what drew Johnny to it.”

While The Thin Man was originally scheduled to begin filming in the autumn of 2012, the Warner Bros. production has now been postponed to allow Rob Marshall to film Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods for Disney.

The Night Stalker

Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, is teaming up with Disney to produce a big-screen version of the TV series The Night Stalker. The ‘70s cult favorite chronicled the bizarre adventures of a sardonic tabloid reporter, Carl Kolchak (played by Darren McGavin), whose investigations invariably involved the paranormal and supernatural — vampires, zombies, werewolves and aliens. In addition to his other-worldly enemies, Kolchak constantly had to struggle with local police and newspaper editors who refused to believe his claims. The television series was produced by Dan Curtis, who also produced Depp favorite Dark Shadows, and featured Curtis’s trademark blend of horror, suspense, and dark comedy.

Edgar Wright will direct The Night Stalker for Disney, with Johnny playing Carl Kolchak. Wright previously directed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the cult hit Shaun of the Dead, which makes him a fine candidate to capture The Night Stalker‘s unusual blend of cynical wit, noir and horror. D.V. DeVincentis is writing the screenplay; he is best known for co-writing Gross Pointe Blank and High Fidelity.

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