Johnny Depp Working On Adaptation Of J.P. Donleavy's 'The Ginger Man'

by Kevin Jagernauth
February 25, 2011 4:47 AM
9 Comments
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Also Wants To Adapt Tom Robbins' 'Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates'



We miss Johnny Depp. Let us clarify that point. We miss the Johnny Depp of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?," "Arizona Dream," "Dead Man" and "Donnie Brasco." We miss the young actor who took chances with ambitious directors and material. And while his early work with Tim Burton in films like "Edward Scissorhands" and "Ed Wood" was great, the actor has settled into a comfortable rut, collecting millions upon millions of dollars in tentpole land. And when he's not working with Burton on whatever his next watered down mess will be, he's busy walking the plank in another "Pirates Of The Caribbean" entry or buying his own personal island with the earnings from the turgid superstar failure "The Tourist." But, there is hope on the horizon. He's got the Bruce Robinson directed "The Rum Diary" coming out later this year and he's long been associated with Kathryn Bigelow's gestating drug world drama "Triple Frontier." And now, during press rounds for the upcoming "Rango," Depp reveals he's developing another project that may find him back his winning ways.

Speaking with Fox (via Cinematical), when asked about the kinds of roles he would like to do before -- if he decides to -- walk away from acting, Depp revealed one project he's developing and another he'd like to do that hearkens back to the Depp we once remembered.

“I'm going to have to play (King) Lear or (Don) Quixote or something. It would have to be something like that. And then just walk away,” Depp said. “But there's still some stuff definitely that I'd like to do out there. There's certain books that I've been in love with for years that I'd love to bring to life – things like Tom Robbins 'Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates,' that's a great, great book. We're in the works now to put 'The Ginger Man' by JP Donleavy up, get that on its feet, so that's a very exciting possibility.”

It's the first we've heard of Depp's interest in the either book -- though Cinematical reveals he's been eyeing it as early as 2006 -- but it's easy to why they've sparked his interest. Robbins' book is an outlandish tale about a CIA employee and pedophile who travels to Peru, encounters a medicine who gives him drugs, wisdom and a curse: if his feet ever touch the ground, he will die instantly. As for Donleavy's tale, it's a bit more grounded by comparison, set in 1950s Dublin and following an American ex-solider who arrives to study law only to end up on a journey of drinking, gambling sex. Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

Feckless, unwashed, charming, penurious Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield, Trinity College Law student, Irish American with an English Accent, maroon in the ould country and dreaming of dollars and ready women, stumbles from the public house to the pawnbrokers, murmuring delusive enticements in the ear of any girl who'll listen, in delirious search of freedom, wealth, and the recognition he feels is his due. Lyrical and ribald, illuminating, poignant and hugely entertaining, The Ginger Man is a work of authentic comic genius.

It's not the first time either that "The Ginger Man" has been eyed for the big screen. Back in 1998, Variety reported that an adaptation was in the works with Jared Harris set to star, but that film never materialized. It was also once made as a television movie for Brit TV way back in 1962.

It will be interesting to see how either project develops, but we hope that Depp continues to pursue. For now, you can next see him as an animated lizard in "Rango" which opens next Friday.

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More: Films, Actors, The Ginger Man

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9 Comments

  • xmyazz | January 29, 2014 5:28 PMReply

    I don't remember where I read it but was The Ginger Man ever a manuscript tossed by John Grisham?
    Johnny Depp can not do a bad movie. Every movie I've seen him in adds a spark of lightness mixed with shyness. He's serous and then he always says something that if said by any other actor would be overlooked yet there is a twinkle in his eye and a Mona Lisa smile that brings laughter to any boring movie.

  • Leah | October 13, 2011 3:30 AMReply

    I truly appreciate both JP Donleavy and Johnny Depp and would love to see JD bring this movie to life!

  • Jean Robie | February 26, 2011 6:59 AMReply

    As much as I love Donleavy and "The Ginger Man," it will never happen. The book is from a different generation--the angry young man generation--which reads, today, as being enormously un-PC.

  • lamiaa | February 26, 2011 4:33 AMReply

    I just wanna see him won the Oscar someday.. because he deserve it ........

  • Randi | February 26, 2011 2:41 AMReply

    The Tourist is at $250+mil worldwide, opened at #1 in China, and opens in Japan next week. Depp and Jolie are super popular in Japan and the movie will make at least $20mil there if not more. Johnny knows what works and what doesn't, unlike you who won't stop calling a film a failure because you don't like it. I like Johnny in everyone of his films.

  • KMP | February 26, 2011 2:28 AMReply

    Just to clarilfy what I wrote about TGM : It was a TV version of TGM "play" - not the book - and it may have been live, I'm pretty sure it was just single broadcast.

  • KMP | February 26, 2011 2:01 AMReply

    I'm a long time fan of Donleavy's "The Ginger Man" and always have my fingers crossed for this project with Depp. But I noticed a few things that aren't accurate: "The Ginger Man" is set in 1947 - not the 1950s. Jared Harris was talked about to play the character Kenneth O'Keefe. And it was never made as a television movie; rather the BBC merely taped a performance of the play..

    I'd love to see this one happen!!!

  • Kimberly | February 25, 2011 8:40 AMReply

    First i like to say how much i love johnny depp. he is truly one of my favorite actors of all time. I feel he should totally do that tim robbins book because that sounds so intresting and it sounds like thats right up johnnys ally if you know what i mean.

  • ndm | February 25, 2011 7:28 AMReply

    I also love Johnny's older works, but at the same time I don't want him to give up Jack Sparrow. That's why JD is my favorite actor out there right now. He can do ANYTHING, and really well. So, back off and let the dude do what ever he wants. He's never going to please everybody all of the time.

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