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For the first time since 2004's Secret Window, director David Koepp and star Johnny Depp are getting ready to work together on a new project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor is now in negotiations to star in Mortdecai, an in-development crime caper. The film is based on the book "The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery" by Kyril Bonfiglioli, which is being adapted by Eric Aronson (one of the screenwriters behind the Lance Bass/Joey Fatone romantic comedy/box office disaster On The Line).
Depp is set to play an art dealer/rogue named Charles Mortdecai who "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." According to the trade, the globe-trotting adventure will have Mortdecai facing off against angry Russians, MI5, his wife and an international terrorist. Bonfiglioli, an English author, was himself an art dealer before he became an writer, and published a trilogy of Mortdecai novels back in the 1970s. These titles included "Don't Point That Thing At Me" (1972), "Something Nasty In The Woodshed" (1976) and After You With The Pistol" (1979). The stories were collected as an anthology in 1991. The project was actually set up at Warner Bros. earlier this year before being put into turnaround. Lionsgate is now backing the project, and the plan is for Depp to work the movie into his schedule right before he starts working on Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which means cameras could start rolling before the end of the year.
Koepp has had a long career has a director, last making the Joseph Gordon-Levitt bike messenger action movie Premium Rush, but is really best known for penning some of the biggest blockbusters of the last 20 years. His credits as a screenwriter include Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. His next writing credit is the upcoming Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan reboot and he is currently working on the script for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel. His other directorial credits include the 1999 thriller Stir of Echos with Kevin Bacon and the 2008 comedy Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais.
Depp is coming off of one of the biggest disappointments of his career, with Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger not making nearly enough money at the box office to excuse its $250 million budget. It shouldn't take long for him to bounce back, as he currently working with Oscar winning cinematographer and first time director Wall Pfister on the sci-fi thriller Transcendence and will once again be working with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall on the Broadway musical adaptation Into The Woods. Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which is being directed by Kon Tiki filmmakers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, is scheduled to start filming soon in preparation for a July 10, 2015 release date.