Disney just can’t get enough of Johnny Depp. At yesterday’s Walt Disney Studios Showcase, an all-day extravaganza of film previews and casting announcements, Disney revealed not one, not two, but three new projects for Depp. Dick Cook, the studio’s chairman and the event’s emcee, labeled the roles the "Depp trifecta." Might as well call it the "Depp monopoly."
First up is Tim Burton’s live-action/CG adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, in which Depp has been tapped to play the part of the Mad Hatter. The movie is scheduled to be released in 2010.
Then, as the USC Trojans marching band played the finale of the William Tell Overture, Depp appeared on the Kodak Theatre stage dressed in his Jack Sparrow outfit and holding the Lone Ranger’s mask. With just a few words of explanation, Cook confirmed it: Depp will star in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment, as well as a Lone Ranger movie in which the actor will play the title character’s sidekick, Tonto.
But the day wasn’t all about Depp. Also stopping by to support their upcoming projects were Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Robin Williams, John Travolta, Sandra Bullock, Dwayne Johnson, Tim Allen, Miley Cyrus, and the cast of High School Musical 3. Plus, there was a major casting announcement involving Oprah Winfrey. All of the juicy details are after the jump.
Let’s split the Disney news into three categories: animated movies,live-action movies, and Jerry Bruckheimer movies (because, really,they’re their own genre anyway).
- Disney screened its November toon, Bolt,in its entirety. Although the film was only 80% complete and containedmany unfinished shots, the audience seemed to eat it up. Playingparticularly well were two supporting characters: Mittens, a snarkystreet cat, and Rhino, a hamster with uninhibited enthusiasm.
- John Lasseter showed a teaser for the next Pixar production, Up.The film, which is scheduled for May 2009, follows 78-year-old Carl(voiced by Ed Asner) as he travels the world in his balloon-poweredflying house. The movie gives off a definite Hayao Miyazaki vibe, andit’s bound to be compared to Howl’s Moving Castle, which also featured an elderly protagonist and a transportable house. Up will be Pixar’s first 3-D feature.
- Oprah Winfrey will voice Eudora, the mother of the main character in The Princess and the Frog(December 2009), which marks Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation.Set in New Orleans, the movie will feature six songs written by RandyNewman.
- Director Robert Zemeckis and star Jim Carrey were on hand to vouch for A Christmas Carol (November2009), which is being filmed with Zemeckis’ favorite toy, performancecapture, thereby enabling Carrey to play Scrooge at five different agesand all three of the Ghosts of Christmas.
- The release of Pixar’s Cars 2 has been moved up a year to Summer 2011.
- And, yes, Toy Story 3 is coming. It’ll be in 3-D and will focus on how the toys adjust to life after their owner, Andy, leaves home for college.
- Director Kenny Ortega and the cast of High School Musical 3: Senior Year presentedsome razzle-dazzle footage from the October movie. Strangely, Ortegadid all the talking while his hot, young stars stood silently by hisside.
- When presenting the Robin Williams and John Travolta buddy film, Old Dogs, Dick Cook swore the title didn’t refer to the ex-Miramax presidents Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
- John Travolta (again), Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy talked about Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride. Things got awkward when Travolta and Lawrence admitted they hadn’t read the film’s script yet.
- Sandra Bullock plugged the romantic comedy The Proposal; Dwayne Johnson charmed his way through a presentation of the remake, Race to Witch Mountain; and George Lopez described Beverly Hills Chihuahua as the "Citizen Canine" of dog movies (get it?).
- And Hannah Montana: The Movie isa reality. Miley Cyrus performed asong from the movie, and it’s going to take more than a tablespoon ofgingko biloba for me to remember anything else about the song.
Jerry Bruckheimer Movies
- Bruckheimer and Nicolas Cage announced a trio of collaborations. First was (no surprise) National Treasure 3. Then out of left field came The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, a live-action adaptation of the famous Mickey Mouse segment in Fantasia. Cage will play a New York sorcerer who, you guessed it, has to find an apprentice. Finally, there’s G-Force,which is about a team of genetically enhanced guinea pigs that has tosave the world. When it came time to describe the movie, it waspainfully obvious that Bruckheimer was reading off a teleprompter.
- We got an early look at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,which featured a ripped Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead. It seems the moviewill stick fairly close to the plot of the video games, and time travelwill play a significant role.
Finally, we saw the Comic-Con footage of TRON 2, which is going by the impossible-to-pronounce TR2N.I didn’t know which category to place the movie because it looks almostentirely CG-animated, but a live-action Jeff Bridges shows up at theend. The scene contained a nifty update of the "chicken race" from theoriginal TRON, and it felt simultaneously futuristic and retro.
PopWatchers, which of these upcoming movies are you most looking forward to?