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Aubrey Plaza, Oliver Platt and Jeff Goldblum are the latest names to join the star-stacked cast of the Johnny Depp-fronted action-comedy Mortdecai. This talented trio joins an ensemble that already boasts Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn and Paul Bettany.
The Wrap reports this casting coup comes as the production of Mortdecai swings into its second section, moving from London to Los Angeles. Based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s series of novels, the movie will star Depp as Englishman Charlie Mortdecai, a roguish art dealer who is seeking a stolen painting that inexplicably holds the key to finding a treasure trove of Nazi Gold. There's no mention of what parts Plaza, Platt and Goldblum might play.
Published in the 1970s, Bonfiglioli's original satirical Mortdecai trilogy included titles like Don’t Point That Thing at Me, Something Nasty in the Woodshed and After You With the Pistol. The fourth and final tale of this art dealing anti-hero didn't come out until 1999. The lag between volumes can predominantly be blamed on Bonfiglioli's death in 1985, but thanks to the contribution of satirist Craig Brown, The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery's last draft was completed.
With a cast that features affable A-listers and a slate of stellar character actors, there's obvious reasons to be excited for Depp's in-production follow-up to the massive flop that was The Lone Ranger. But be warned, there are two worrisome names connected to this project, and they are taking on key roles in the production.
Set to helm Mortdecai is director David Koepp whose filmography is a mixed bag at best. First came the critically praised thriller The Trigger Effect, which bombed at the box office. His 1999 horror feature Stir of Echoes was a hit with critics and audiences, but while his first collaboration with Depp, The Secret Windows, was a commercial success it was scorned by critics. Next came the well-reviewed box office dud Ghost Town, a romantic comedy with Ricky Gervais. And last came the little noticed 2012 Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle Premium Rush. The bike messenger-centered drama earned good reviews, but little more than its budget back at the box office.
At least Koepp has managed some wins, and some earnestly interesting features. The same can't be said for Mortdecai's screenwriter Eric Aronson, who is a greater cause for concern. His only previous credit as a scribe is the film On The Line.
This $16 million romantic comedy was meant to appeal to 'N Sync fans, with Lance Bass and Joey Fatone playing the movie's two leads. In spite of this, it pulled in a painfully low $4.4 million worldwide and was savaged by critics. The best thing to come from it seems to be the hilarious How Did This Get Made podcast episode about its creation (you can listen to it below).
Being admittedly over Depp's madcap shtick, I'm inherently dubious of all his latest endeavors. Maybe this mix of incredible cast members and curious crewmates will make for a thoroughly entertaining comedy. I mean, stranger things have happened, right?