Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski get animated

Johnny Depp
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Disappointed as you may have been by the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski clearly had good chemistry. And given that Depp often works with his favorite directors repeatedly (Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam), it's not too big of a surprise that he'll be working with Verbinski again on a new feature. What is quite a surprise is that the team is embarking on an epic $150 million animated feature and turning away from Disney.

The film will be about the chameleon Rango, voiced by Depp, who finds himself thrown out of his aquarium and forced to see the larger world in a journey of self-discovery. According to the L.A. Times, Verbinski had been working on the project for a number years and, despite what would be assumed a good relationship with the Disney since they bankrolled his last three pictures, never had any intention of pitching it to them due to concerns about ownership.  Under their deal with Paramount, Verbinski and Depp have shares for all intellectual property related to the film.  

"Rango is an oddly charismatic character that is perfectly suited for Johnny Depp's extraordinary abilities," Verbinski said in the film's press release. "The techniques we are employing will allow us to capture and translate every aspect of Johnny's performance, using it to drive the computer-generated character in a way that has yet to be seen in an animated feature. This is not a disembodied voice: Johnny Depp is Rango. We are creating something that will resonate with a broad audience and stick in the minds of kids all across the globe. The characters and circumstances are feeling buoyant and rich in humor and attitude, yet with a surprising emotional depth. I am tremendously excited about the support and enthusiasm we have received at Paramount."

The film is planned for a March 2011 release and is being written by John Logan (Gladiator, Sweeney Todd). 

Related links:
News: Gore Verbinski directing Bioshock film
Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Review: Sweeney Todd

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