[Update: According to a new report, the part of the female lead is down to Rooney Mara, Emily Blunt, and Rebecca Hall.]

There’s no getting around the fact that Dark Knight trilogy mastermind Christopher Nolan’s success has impacted the industry, in terms of blockbuster marketing; not to mention, how other tentpole franchises have begun to borrow from his bag of tricks. Similarly, Nolan’s Inception has kept the floodgates open for more original big-budget science-fiction entertainment that incorporates recurring themes and ideas from its director’s collective body of work (see: M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion).

Currently, Nolan’s Oscar-winning director of photography Wally Pfister is getting in on that same game with his directorial debut: Transcendence, an original high-concept sci-fi project scripted by newcomer Jack Paglen and starring Johnny Depp. So far, insiders are comparing the film to titles like Inception and 2001: A Space Odyssey – with Pfister simply (and enigmatically) describing it as “a present-day science fiction film.”

The Wrap has obtained a script summary for Transcendence; however, it may be somewhat outdated, as significant script revisions are reported to still be ongoing. Fortunately, the site managed to catch up with producer Andrew A. Kosove (The Book of Eli, Chernobyl Diaries), who was willing to confirm certain details and even address casting rumors. Needless to say, the rest of this article contains MILD SPOILERS for the film.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Here’s what The Wrap has learned about Transcendence:

  • Depp plays a man whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer (named Will, in the early script summary).
  • The film addresses such ideas as “singularity, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.”
  • Story-wise, Transcendence revolves around a group of scientists attempting to build the first self-aware supercomputer.
  • A group of anti-technology terrorists murder Depp’s character, which inspires his wife (also a scientist) and collaborator to upload his consciousness into their prototype supercomputer. Obviously, the experiment works.
  • Depp and his friend/wife struggle to protect him, once members of an anti-technology organization discover what happened and attempts to destroy the Depp-infused supercomputer.

Kosove confirmed that Depp does indeed transfer (transcend – get it?) his mind to a supercomputer. However, he also said that the script no longer contains a plot point where Depp creates a backup of himself on every computer in the world and begins accessing online indexes (as was included in The Wrap‘s script summary).

Johnny Depp becomes a supercomputer in ‘Transcendence’

Casting for the other two central roles in Transcendence (Depp’s wife and partner) is currently underway. Nonetheless, Kosove told The Wrap that recently-rumored candidate Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) is not in the running for the former role. The same holds true for Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (who’s fresh off filming Jason Reitman’s Labor Day), who will not be available when principal photography gets going; that’s expected to happen sometime in the first half of 2013.

Lastly, the producer admitted that Ewan McGregor (who returns to the big screen in next year’s Jack the Giant Slayer) passed after reading an earlier script draft; moreover, Tom Hardy – a friend of Pfister’s, after working together on Inception and The Dark Knight Rises – was considered, but is simply too busy right now. Nonetheless, you can expect similarly-recognizable stars to eventually sign on for the project, given the high-pedigree of its creative personnel and subject matter.

Screen Rant will keep you up-to-date on pre-production for Transcendence as more information is released.

[Update: According to Deadline, Rooney Mara is still in the running to play the female lead of Transcendence, along with Emily Blunt and Rebecca Hall. Though Blunt might not be able to participate due to her involvement in All You Need Is Kill.]

Source: The Wrap & Deadline