[UPDATE: Wes Anderson is denying that Depp will star in Grand Budapest Hotel.]
Johnny Depp has joined creative forces with such eccentric visual storytellers as Tim Burton, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam, and John Waters, over the course of his career. The only curiosity, really, is that it's taken this long for the actor to team with one of the definitive modern "outsider" auteurs in showbiz, Wes Anderson.
Depp has secured a deal to appear in Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which will serve as the filmmaker's followup to Moonrise Kingdom (and is expected to be Depp's next project, once he finishes work on Lone Ranger).
Deadline has the scoop on Depp signing on for Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. The A-lister is also attached to a handful of in-development films, including Edgar Wright's The Night Stalker and Rob Marshall's Thin Man. Wright is moving ahead with The World's End (and has Ant-Man waiting at bay), while the Thin Man movie was recently delayed by Warner Bros. Hence, Depp has an opening in his schedule for the latest Anderson production.
Twitch reported last week that Anderson regulars Owen Wilson and Bill Murray have also been approached to appear in Grand Budapest Hotel. Moreover, several familiar faces from the Anderson movie universe could show up, including Edward Norton (Moonrise Kingdom), Adrien Brody (The Darjeeling Limited), Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou).
Last - but certainly not least - the great Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote) is said to be among the thespians who Anderson is courting for his new film.
Anderson has slowly begun to win over cinephiles who were left feeling cold by his previous work, with his last two films (Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom). Depp, by comparison, is coming off a performance in Dark Shadows that was singled out as underwhelming on its own terms - and a pale imitation (no pun) of his previous Burton roles. So, mixing things up seems like a good idea.
The combination of Depp and Anderson could help Grand Budapest Hotel to appeal to those outside the arthouse film circle. It'll certainly be welcomed by people who prefer their Depp indie-flavored, but have had little to sustain themselves in recent years (beyond Depp's leading turn in last year's largely-ignored Rum Diary).
UPDATE: The Huffington Post asked Anderson whether Depp will be appearing in Grand Budapest Hotel, to which the filmmaker answered:
"No. There's a lot of... You know, the Internet has a way of announcing things on its own [laughs]. You will find that even though I'm very aware of the cast that has been announced on its own devices, you'll never find me saying who's in the movie. Or, as far as I know, anybody else. I really don't know where it all comes from. In fact, Johnny is somebody who I would love to work with at some point, but he's not going to be in this movie. But I actually have not put the cast out -- I have not announced the cast. We have quite a great cast."
Expect to hear more about The Grand Budapest Hotel in the foreseeable future.