One of Johnny Depp’s earliest major movie roles was as the titular character of Edward Scissorhands: a wild-haired, pale-faced loner with a frightening physical deformity. Since then, Depp has walked the long catwalk of crazy appearances in movies – from his many variations on the theme of pale-and-dark-haired in Tim Burton’s films to the dreadlocked scoundrel Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Depp was most recently seen in this summer’s catastrophic dud The Lone Ranger, in which he wore a rather bizarre headdress with a crow mounted on top. His various get-ups are always at least mildly entertaining, but Depp’s upcoming role in The Dark Knight cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, Transcendence, will see him stripped of excessive make-up and accessories in favor of a more cerebral look.

For those who have forgotten what Depp actually looks like without strange hair, a painted face and/or colored contact lenses, Entertainment Weekly has two official stills from Transcendence that show the actor looking disarmingly conventional with only a modest goatee, short brown hair and a nice pair of glasses. Of course, he’s also a genius computer scientist whose brain gets uploaded into a supercomputer, but that’s about as normal as Johnny Depp gets.

As seen in the second image, Transcendence also co-stars Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3) as Evelyn, the wife of Depp’s character, along with Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises). Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, who is transferred into a supercomputer of his own design after being attacked by anti-technology activists, and subsequently becomes obsessed with an insane (or frighteningly sane) quest for omniscience. Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind) also stars in the film as Will’s best friend and fellow researcher, Max Waters.

It would be something of a waste of Depp’s star power to have him reduced to a voice-only role (à la HAL 9000) for the majority of the film. Instead it seems that he appears to the other characters on a series of screens, and perhaps he also has his own little virtual world to run around in. As an educated guess, the glowing panels around the other characters are either incredibly high-tech data storage devices into which Caster is pouring the collective sum of the world’s knowledge, or just a very stylish lighting fixture.

Pfister is a long-time partner of director Christopher Nolan and his skills as a cinematographer have earned him four Oscar nominations and one win (for Inception). For Transcendence he has entrusted cinematography duties to Jess Hall (Hot Fuzz), and it will be interesting to see whether his past experience translates into directorial skill.

Transcendence opens in regular and IMAX theaters on April 18th, 2014.

Source: Entertainment Weekly