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.