Johnny Depp to Headline Wally Pfister’s Directorial Debut ‘Transcendence’

Published 2 years ago by

johnny depp transcendence Johnny Depp to Headline Wally Pfisters Directorial Debut Transcendence

Wally Pfister appears to have picked up a trick or two from Christopher Nolan, and not just on the directing side of things. Nolan’s Oscar-winning cinematographer on his Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige, and Inception is moving over to the helmer’s chair on a new project – one which we now know to be titled Transcendence – but other than that, Pfister remains fastidious about not letting any other significant details slip about the film too soon in advance (an approach Nolan very much favors).

Johnny Depp is reported to have entered negotiations to headline Transcendence, which has Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas onboard as executive producers. Shooting is slated to begin next year, with funding provided by Alcon Entertainment (which is also backing Ridley Scott’s gestating Blade Runner sequel).

Pfister (in his statement on the announcement) gave no hints about the role Depp is up for, other than to say “He is a creative and intelligent artist whom I feel will bring great depth to the character and the overall narrative.”  During a recent Q&A at the Ringling College of Art and Design, Pfister referred to Transcendence as “a present-day science fiction film, a fairly big concept. It’s bigger budget — not as big as ‘Batman,’ but not independent.”

He also made some disparaging comments about superhero movies at that talk, specifically in reference to Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography on The Avengers. That story broke last week, hot on the heels of more polite (but still not-exactly-flattering) comments about Marvel movies from Hugo Weaving and Paul Bettany that caused something of a stir around the blogosphere (to say the least).

lone ranger trailer Johnny Depp to Headline Wally Pfisters Directorial Debut Transcendence

Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in ‘The Lone Ranger’

Depp’s next appearance on the big screen will be in Disney’s Lone Ranger, but his schedule thereafter is somewhat open – as his Thin Man remake has been put on hold, those rumors about Depp starring in Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel turned out to be hot air, and Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is chugging along through development slower than expected. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to learn he will next be working alongside Pfister on Transcendence.

The script for Transcendence was written by newcomer Jack Paglen, based on a treatment by former production assistant Annie Marter (Girl, Interrupted, The Door in the Floor). We will let you know when more information has been released about the project in general, be it plot details and/or additional casting.


Source: Alcon Entertainment, Herald Tribune [via The Huffington Post]

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  1. which has Nolan and his wife Emma Thompson

    Emma Thomas, not Emma Thompson. :)

    • My bad, thanks for catching that.

      It’s been corrected.

  2. Pfister is an excellent cinematographer; TRANSCENDENCE “feels”like INCEPTION; Chris Nolan will be all over this movie. Enough said.

  3. I’m worried this might become more fanatic Johnny Depp than fantastic Wally Pfister.

  4. The Hollywood Reporter says “the film is described as in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Inception. The story centers on a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness. Depp will play a husband who gets sucked into the computer, contingent on changes Pfister is making to the script, sources say.”

    Sounds kinda Tron-ish but I figure there’s something incredibly unique about it due to the names attached.

    • also a little bit “Electric Dreams”.

  5. Just out of curiosity, are their any “Avengers” fans offended by Pfister’s harsh criticism of Seamus McGarvey?

    • im both an marvel and dc guy and yeah i agree there are some strange camera moments in the avengers , but i still enjoyed the movie and tdkr, i still feel there was a couple of moments in tdkr i wish there was more screen time for, but thats just me , just felt talia death was a bit rushed and shes a great actress and wished they would do a fourth movie , and again thats my two cents

    • Nah. He was judging it from a critic standpoint, plus he’s a cinematographer. Of course he’s going to have some, and not all unwarranted, gripes.

    • There are enough people who have criticised his camera work on The Dark Knight too(flipping and confusing perspectives etc.).
      Where success is, there is also envy.

      Yea, there might be (and there truly are some) bad camera angles, perspektives and other flaws in both movies (Avengers and TDK) but in the heat of the action sequences and in an overall good movie, a less trained eye doesen’t even recognize them IMO (like mine ;))

  6. I’m really looking forward to this. The premise sounds interesting and Pfister is reaching out to talented people. Not only Depp, but I read somewhere that Christoph Waltz is being contacted for a role. Hopefully this can be a great sci-fi film. I’m rooting for Pfister. Let’s hope he’s as good a director as he is a DP.

  7. This sounds fun and different to me and hoping to see something new from depp in awhile and in a sort of wierd way its a step away from him working with chris nolan and hes producing the film, i been wanting that for awhile, so fingers crossed

  8. All criticism of Pfister’s past work (most of it with Christopher Nolan) should know it is the director and not the cinematographer who calls the shots (literally) on a film and the final take. Too often the director fails to rehearse the camera before going for a single take; sometimes, being so busy with so much, the director unwisely delegate the angle and lens to the cameraman’s discretion. Either way, it’s “a Christopher Nolan film”. If you take the overall credit, the blame goes along with it.