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The production behind the upcoming film Collateral Beauty has hit a significant snag in it's development, as new reports have revealed that star Hugh Jackman is being forced to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts. This would be a significant blow to most films, as things would have to be put on hold while someone else is cast in the key role - but it seems Collateral Beauty already has it all worked out. Apparently, they're in the process of trying to replace Jackman with fellow A-lister Johnny Depp.
This report comes to us from Deadline, which says that Hugh Jackman has been pulled away from the project because of his commitments to the next Wolverine sequel (the comic book movie is scheduled to start filming in Australia before the end of the year). It's noted that Depp isn't exactly locked in just yet, but the producers of the movie are definitely pursuing him and that the project is "more competitive ones in the marketplace right now."
Based on an original screenplay written by Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Collateral Beauty will center on an advertising executive working in New York, but all details beyond that remain very vague. According to previous reports, the character winds up experiencing some kind of terrible loss, which leads his colleagues to attempt an "unconventional" way to get him out of his fun.It seems to be successful, but has some unintended consequences as well. Directed by Me and Earl and the Dying Girl helmer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, the project is also set to star Jason Segal and Rooney Mara - though their roles in the movie remain unclear.
Obviously the producers behind the film are aiming high in trying to get Johnny Depp to be in Collateral Beauty, but the reality is that they may be approaching him at a perfect time. The guy has a full slate of projects coming up - including the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, Mathew Cullen's crime thriller London Fields, and the Alice in Wonderland sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass, but all of those projects have finished shooting. The actor is currently down in Australia shooting Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but that production should wrap up in time for Collateral Beauty. It may just wind up being a matter of whether or not Depp likes the script.
In terms of whether or not the project would be a good fit for Johnny Depp, it's hard to really say without knowing more about the film. If this is a serious drama that really tests the actor's chops, it's probably a great movie for the star - but it could just as easily be another goofy transformation role of the same ilk as the projects that have done their part to poison his career in recent years.
Given the high profile nature of this project, this won't be the last time we hear about it, so stay tuned.