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Johnny Depp's Crime Comedy 'Mortdecai' Heads Into Production, Adds Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn to Cast UPDATED

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 21, 2013 at 11:43AM

UPDATE: Principal production has begun in London on action-comedy "Mortdecai," starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor, adapted from the series of three novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli.
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Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp

UPDATE: Principal production has begun in London on action-comedy "Mortdecai," starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor, adapted from the series of three novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. 

Added to the main cast are Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn. Here's an official synopsis:

Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

"Mortdecai" marks the first film under Lionsgate and Will Smith's OddLot multipicture co-financing and distribution deal that was announced last month.

EARLIER: Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor are both in talks to star alongside Johnny Depp in David Koepp's "Mortdecai." The film centers on an unscrupulous art dealer (to be played by Depp) who becomes involved in a search for a stolen painting which could contain the key to a lost trove of Nazi gold.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow

Eric Aronson penned the script, which is adapted from Kyril Bonfiglioli's P.G. Woodhouse-esque comedy crime series of books. The "Mortdecai" film project has been in the works for years with Depp and Koepp ("Premium Rush") attached, but is now gaining momentum at Lionsgate.

Paltrow was last seen in the mighty "Iron Man 3," and has sex-addiction comedy "Thanks for Sharing" coming up. McGregor will be seen this Oscar season in "August: Osage County," alongside Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.

The question of Depp's star power has been in question over the past year, with recent box office bomb "The Lone Ranger" and 2012's underperforming "Dark Shadows." The actor has a big-screen version of Sondheim's "Into the Woods," with Rob Marshall at the helm, in the pipeline, as well as Wally Pfister's directorial debut "Transcendence." 

This article is related to: News, CASTING WATCH, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Johnny Depp, David Koepp


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.