Johnny Depp Confirmed to Lead Wally Pfister's Sci-Fi 'Transcendence'
by Ethan Anderton
February 27, 2013
If there's anyone who was hoping for another Pirates of the Caribbean sequel sometime in the next two to three years, we have some bad news. If you're looking forward to some original, promising projects, then it's time to celebrate. A press release has just announced that Johnny Depp has been confirmed to lead Transcendence, the sci-fi, feature directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister, a frequent collaborator of directing Christoper Nolan, who is also producing the film. Immediately following Transcendence, Depp will shoot Black Mass, the gangster biopic we learned about earlier this month.
For those who might need a refresher, Transcendence follows a husband and wife team who develop a programming code for the first self-aware computer. But when a group of anti-technology terrorists try to assassinate the husband, his wife uploads his brain into a prototype supercomputer. Rather than going horribly wrong, the man starts to respond in computer form and connects him to the Internet to continue to explore this breakthrough. But the terrorists are still in pursuit, trying to destroy the computer. Late last year we heard names like Rooney Mara, Emily Blunt and Rebecca Hall were up for the project, and we'll likely hear more on that front soon since the film will start shooting in April.
As for Black Mass, it's based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, written by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. Jez Butterworth is polishing Mark Mallouk's screenplay which was revamped after Bulger, who was on the FBI's Most Wanted list for over 10 years, was captured in June of 2011. Mallouk's script tells the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. However, after the Feds closed in on their targets, they double crossed Bulger and ultimately prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him. Barry Levinson is directing.
Both of these projects sounds much more enticing than Depp heading back to the high seas as Captain Jack Sparrow, something that had been talked about over the past year. Thankfully, Depp is more concerned with original, non-franchise oriented projects. This will also mark his first time working with Pfister and Levinson as directors. Though Levinson did produce Donnie Brasco, so it seems fitting that they're returning to the world of organized crime again for a different kind of collaboration. Maybe we'll get the kind of Johnny Depp performances and films we haven't seen for a long time. That would be just great.