Here’s a no-brainer piece of casting: Johnny Depp could play beloved children’s literature writer/illustrator Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodor Geisel) in a new live-action biopic about the imaginative artist.
Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Illumination Entertainment – a studio also involved with next year’s computer-animated Seuss adaptation, The Lorax – are teaming up to produce the project, which is being scripted by Keith Bunin (HBO’s In Treatment). The search for a director is presumably already underway.
Risky Business has confirmed that the Dr. Seuss flick is being fashioned as a potential starring vehicle for Depp. It’s certainly a role right up the A-lister’s alley, seeing how he’s previously played such real-life “eccentric” artists such as filmmaker Ed Wood, Peter Pan playwright/author Sir James M. Barrie, and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson twice, if you include The Rum Diary, which hits theaters in a few weeks. That’s not to mention the whole slew of oddball characters and unconventional figures that Depp has spent virtually his entire career playing.
Point being: the author of universally-adored (and often surreal) children’s stories like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “The Cat in the Hat”, and “Green Eggs and Ham” is definitely the kind of peculiar person who needs to be brought to life by someone with loads of charisma and an unorthodox manner about them. Who better than Depp to play such a role… right?
Well, on the one hand, a lot of people are already tired of Depp seemingly being either hired on (or pursued) to play every quirky character in a mainstream Hollywood production – and even to portray characters who are less on the overly-expressive side (a la RoboCop). Plus, while Depp is easily one of the most versatile actors out there, some of his more recent performances have arguably felt a bit too familiar, or just kind of tired (see: his turn as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). So those who criticize Depp for being overexposed and overused of late have a valid point.
On the other hand: Dr. Seuss, as mentioned before, is a fellow who Depp could easily bring to vivid life – especially if a creative filmmaker is also hired on to make the biopic as stylistically unusual as one of the author’s stories. Not to mention, Theodor Geisel is a real person – and not just another pale-faced weirdo partially imagined by Tim Burton – so a biographic film about the artist could allow Depp the chance to create a fully-realized onscreen persona… rather than deliver another performance where it feels like he’s just constantly mugging at the camera.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of the Dr. Seuss biopic. In the meantime, feel free to let us know if you’re all for Depp playing the title character – or if you’d like to see someone else take a shot at it.