Warner Bros. has halted production on Johnny Depp’s remake of The Thin Man. The adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel - which would have seen Depp reteam with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall - was expected to start shooting in November. However, it now it looks like Marshall will be moving on to direct Into The Woods, leaving the thriller in production limbo.
No reason has been given for the delay on The Thin Man, which wasn’t officially given the green-light - although the reported $100 million budget for the period thriller may have caused the studio to have second thoughts. Depp has been one of the biggest box office draws over the last decade; but his last few non-Jack Sparrow roles have failed to make a dent at the US box office. Dark Shadows has grossed an anaemic $75 million domestically (although it has banked over $200 million worldwide), while last year’s The Rum Diary grossed just $23 million globally. Even Depp’s 2010 team-up with Angelina Jolie - The Tourist - failed to ignite audience interest, grossing $67 million at the US box office, although it did score big on the international scene where it banked an additional $210 million.
Depp is currently working on the troubled The Lone Ranger, a film which was originally delayed when Disney wanted to bring its budget down from $275 million to a more manageable $215 million. However, recent reports indicate that the cost of the film is rising towards its original figure, something which is worrying Disney brass due to the untested material, and the fact that Depp is playing side-kick Tonto and not the titular Ranger. Looks like they might need a loan arranger rather than a Lone Ranger (zing!).
Warner Bro. has denied to Deadline that there is a problem with the film, although it is believed that Depp wants to take some time between projects – something which sounds perfectly reasonable given his split from long-term partner Vanessa Paradis. In recent times, the studio has been wary of green-lighting big-budget films which might be a financial risk at the box office, with the studio scrapping Arthur & Lancelot and Akira when they couldn’t be made for a reasonable figure.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Bros. waits until next year to see how The Lone Ranger does at the box office before they give it the green-light. However, expect a much slimmer budget - if The Thin Man does indeed go before cameras.