It sometimes feels as though there's an endless supply of Johnny Depp vehicles - set to feature the actor playing (what else?) a quirky protagonist - that are either stuck in development or very slowly moving forward. That includes a remake of The Thin Man, a Dr. Seuss biopic, Edgar Wright's Night Stalker reboot, and the gestating Mortdecai (based on the novels written by the late Kyril Bonfiglioli).
Mortdecai is a cinematic adaptation of Bonfiglioli's last book, titled "The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery," which is the fourth installment in the satire writer's crime-comedy series about Charlie Mortdecai (it was left unfinished by the author, but completed by Craig Brown and published post-humously). The novel deals with the continuing misadventures of Mr. Mortdecai, a well-to-do art dealer and rogue who keeps on getting mixed up in bizarre cases of crime and espionage. Along the way, Mortdecai encounters a peanut's gallery of peculiar strangers: cryptic monks, weird spies, international terrorists and odd MI5 agents, among others (not to mention, Mortdecai's troublesome wife).
Depp has been loosely attached to Mortdecai for a while, going back to when it began early development at Warner Bros.; that is, before the project failed to gain traction and was picked up by Lionsgate instead. The Wrap is reporting that Depp is now looking to lock down Mortdecai as his next starring vehicle, so he can fit the project in-between his next two Disney projects: Into the Woods - where Depp will play a supporting role as the Big Bad Wolf - and Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which needs to begin shooting by Summer 2014 (to make a July 2015 release date).
Disney is on-course to lose a bundle on the studio's $250 million Lone Ranger reboot (starring Depp as the oddball Comanche warrior Tonto), but that does not mean that having the actor's name is no longer bankable. Recently, when Depp has played a character who is not named Jack Sparrow - or starred in a film that was not directed by either Tim Burton or Gore Verbinski - the box office returns have tended to be under-whelming (see: The Tourist, Rum Diary). Nevetheless, the Mortdecai character feels like the sort of offbeat hero that Depp would not only be a solid choice to bring to life onscreen, but also one who moviegoers would turn out to see in reasonably-large numbers.
Mortdecai is based on an adapted script written by Eric Aronson, whose sole screenwriting credit to date - the little-known comedy On the Line - make its hard to gauge whether he's a good/bad choice to transform Bonfiglioli's literature into golden script work. Similarly, the project's director David Koepp is well-renowned for his screenwriting accomplishments (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, etc.), but his previous directorial efforts - which include Secret Window (starring Depp) and the Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller Premium Rush - leave something to be desired.
Share your thoughts and feelings about the proposed Mortdecai adaptation - with Depp starring and Koepp directing - in the comments section of this article.
We'll keep you posted on development and casting announcements for Mortdecai as more information becomes available.
You can see Depp on the big screen in The Lone Ranger (now in theaters). He will return next year, in Dark Knight trilogy cinematographer Wally Pfister's sci-fi directorial debut Transcendence (which opens on April 18th, 2014).
Source: The Wrap