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While Disney decides what to do with Gore Verbinski’s pricey Lone Ranger production, Warner Bros. is moving ahead with a Johnny Depp-led Thin Man reboot with Chicago director Rob Marshall at the helm. And while Jurassic Park scribe David Koepp was hired months ago to take a pass at a screenplay, The Hollywood Reporter now says he has been replaced by Billy Ray.

The writer-director of Shattered Glass and Breach will tackle an adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novels, which featured married couple Nick and Nora Charles as they solved mysteries in their free time. The initial Thin Man, which starred William Powell and Myrna Loy, spawned five sequels and a television series.

THR says Koepp’s vision for the remake “didn’t line up with Marshall’s,” so Ray has the job. Depp is producing what has become a priority picture at the studio, but as with any film attached to Depp, we have to wonder when he’ll shoot. We just mentioned his interest in playing Dr. Seuss for a live-action biopic. Verbinski’s Ranger waits in the wings. And a fifth Pirates remains a possibility, according to rumors.

Ray, meanwhile, has two additional projects on his plate, according to the trade. He’s writing Peter Pan Begins for Columbia (if that anything like Nolan’s dark Batman Begins?), and a Somali pirates drama titled A Captain’s Duty that Tom Hanks has expressed interest in. While I’m thrilled that writers of the caliber of Koepp and Ray are taking shots at Thin Man, I really need to know who Warner will get to play Nora opposite Depp’s boozy Nick. And are there Schnauzers at the ready?
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