Johnny Depp's Transcendence Reveals Some Of Its Secrets

Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister has spent years making everyone else’s movies look spectacular, most notably Christopher Nolan’s assorted features inside and out of the Batman universe. He’s transitioning to the director’s chair in 2014 for Transcendence, a mysterious project with Johnny Depp in the lead that we have been tracking with great interest ever since it was first announced. Now, thanks to Warner Bros.’ recent release of official synopses on their anticipated titles, we have a much better idea of what to expect from Pfister’s directorial debut.

Collider ran with plot descriptions of major Warner titles, from Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: There and Back Again. But it was the Transcendence blurb that caught my eye, primarily because, in absence of a trailer, we have no idea what Pfister has been playing around with. Here’s what Warner says Transcendence is going to be about:

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.

First and foremost, I’m thrilled that Depp is challenging himself in a project that exists far outside his two comfort zones: Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Tim Burton collaborations. You have to go all the way back to Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to find an example of Depp stepping into uncomfortable skin to develop a character that isn’t 90% cartoon. Good for Pfister for luring Depp into what sounds like a mind-blowing sci-fi effort.

And then, we’re just excited to see what a composer like Pfister can do. He has studied under the tutelage of Nolan on movies like The Prestige and Inception. He can unravel visual puzzles with the best of them … and Transcendence sounds like it has the potential to stimulate audiences on the level of an Inception.

At the very least, it should look amazing.

Transcendence co-stars Depp, Bettany, Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy and the great Morgan Freeman. It will be in theaters on April 18, and I have to believe a trailer is right around the corner. Stay tuned.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.