Johnny Depp is doing a movie with Wes Anderson because the world loves pleasant surprises

Possibly realizing that he me have overstayed his welcome in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie that was not well-received, Johnny Depp has signed on to appear in Wes Anderson's next movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which includes an illustrious cast of thousands and one Mr. Bill Murray. This means a couple of things: 1. There is a very good chance of seeing Johnny Depp walk in slow motion alongside people like Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and (maybe) Angela Lansbury. And 2. He may also have the splendid opportunity to be hilarious and touching in the most subtle way possible. This... this is excellent news.

As his follow-up to Disney's The Lone Ranger (the trailer for which revealed trains, trains, and more trains at Comic Con last weekend), Depp has been officially confirmed to have a role in the quirky director's next movie. Annnnnd... aside from the people on his casting wish list -- all of the stars mentioned above, plus Jude Law and Adrien Brody -- that's about all we know about The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson did tell /Film that it probably won't be considered "family-friendly," which has some people rightfully intrigued as to which role Ms. Lansbury would be playing amongst all those menfolk. (You saucy thing, you.)

I like this idea of Depp doing a Wes Anderson movie a lot. The specific tone of those movies has treated unexpected actors really, really well (see: Bruce Willis and Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom), and it's high time that Depp took a break from his buddy Tim Burton for a while. They can totally still hang out, but they're getting to that point in their careers as collaborators where they just start making all the things they talk about over drinks because they have all that money and time. And it's just not always a good idea.

Wes Anderson and Johnny Depp to make a movie [Splitsider]


    1. Yeah. Honestly, I’ve only seen one Wes Anderson movie … well, to be honest, I’ve only seen *part* of one Wes Anderson movie. “The Life Aquatic …” — what an awful, awful movie. Was that a fluke, or are all his films like that?

      I usually like quirky movies. It seems like I *should* like Anderson’s work. But I had such a negative reaction to “The Life Aguatic” that I’ve avoided seeing anything else by him.

      1. so.. you’ve avoided all wes anderson movies based solely on just a segment of one of his movies?

        Maybe try watching one of his movies all the way through.  You might like it.  Just start with Rushmore.

          1. I watched Darjeeling Limited again about a month ago and I saw a lot of stuff that I didn’t notice the first time.  It’s actually a pretty dense movie.  There is a lot of nonverbal communication between the brothers that illustrates their relationship dynamic.

        1. Pretty much, yeah. I have a very lengthy movies-I-want-to-watch-someday list, and my reaction to the first half or so of “The Life Aquatic” meant that the rest of his films that had been on (or might be added to) the list fell way, way down the list.

          Maybe I’ll scoot “Rushmore” back up a ways and give him another chance.

          1. Bottle Rocket might be a more entertaining movie.  It doesn’t have Bill Murray but it does have James Caan.

      2. It seems to me that “The Life Aquatic” wouldn’t work as well to someone who hadn’t seen other Anderson movies. I like it, but it is one of the weaker ones. Royal Tennenbaums or Bottle Rocket would be good first ones for me. (Come to think of it, those *were* the first ones for me.)

        1. “The Life Aquatic” also really required watching Jacques Cousteau television specials as a child.

      3.  I would seriously start with The Royal Tennenbaums.  It’s probably the darkest comedy I’ve ever seen.  Rushmore is another good first choice, and is probably a bit more accessible.

    1. The Queen of Diamonds is still in play.

      Maybe it’s just because I watched 4 seasons of Breaking Bad in the last week, but I’d like to see her and Betty White play ruthless rival drug lords.

      In 1943 White would be 21 and Lansbury 18 years old.

      Imagine the flashbacks to them as best friends working as WW2 nurses, in a doomed love triangle with a recovering wounded soldier. Stealing morphine to sell on the black market for funds to smuggle orphans out of Warsaw…

      1. I’m just about to tuck in to The Harvey Girls, in which Ms. Lansbury plays the slutty saloon keeper.

  1. ” splendid opportunity to be hilarious and touching in the most subtle way possible”  The last time he tried that was in Dark Shadows.   Enough said.

    1.  Except I don’t think the character was supposed to be touching – I’m thinking of what he did to the guys who dug up his coffin. He had a few funny lines; I liked ‘Fear not, drunkard.’

  2. When an artist’s main descriptor is “quirky,” that’s a red flag for me. Never really understood the big deal about Wes Anderson: he’s ok, but not nearly as brilliant as everyone gives him credit for.

      1. Sez me too.  I eventually enjoyed his latest, but I had to grit my teeth and roll my eyes through a lot of its essential WesAndersonness.

      1. I enjoy quirky, like perhaps Baz Luhrmann. But Luhrmann isn’t “quirky” as a defining characteristic (and neither is Depp); that’s what I’m leery of.

  3. Going to the Tim Burton exhibit at the LA County Museum a few years back gave me a little too much insight into the mind of that man.  Suffice it to say: there’s creepy, there’s deranged, and then there’s Burton.  Depp will be well-served by getting away from Burton’s influence for a while, even if it’s only as far as Anderson.

  4. The last time Johnny Depp and Bill Murray were in the same film was ‘Ed Wood’ – which also happened to be the last good film Tim Burton had anything to do with.

  5. Possibly realizing that he me have overstayed his welcome in a fourthPirates of the Caribbean movie that was not well-received…

    The film grossed A BILLION DOLLARS worldwide.  It didn’t do well with critics, but it did fine with audiences.  On Rotten Tomatoes, that resulted in audiences rating it 27% higher than the critic score.  So I don’t really think that Depp is suddenly rethinking his choices, here….especially since they’ve announced a 5th movie.  And it still rated higher than The Tourist, which has a RT score of 20% (but which also scored 268 million worldwide).

      1. Yeah, it was awful, but “not well-received” implies failure with most audiences, not just with critical ones.

  6. Well, I guess cashing in on action flicks and making movies about old Hunter S has taken him a little too far from the career as a charming fellow he once had.

  7. Yay!

    Spoiler alert: Some eccentric father didn’t give his son enough attention, and now the son is trying to sort out why he is a failure, while being surrounded by a bunch of rich textures and eclectic oddities. Fascinating stuff.

    Hoping Wes Anderson will take his schtick to outer space some time- I think his style would look wonderful with rockets and moon bases and the solitude of space!

  8. … in which one worn out franchise piggybacks on another one. gee, maybe Tim Burton can executive produce this to make sure it really, really sucks.

  9. If you’re tired of Depp’s star turns in blockbusters and standard-issue thrillers, you may want to take a closer look at his back catalog.  Dead Man is interesting, although Jim Jarmusch’s work may be tough sledding for some, and there’s also a quirky little number titled What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that has a decent performance by another young man, Leo something-or-other.

    1. “Decent performance”?  Man, that was the last truly great performance that kid ever gave.  I really thought he’d be something to watch after that movie, and I’ve hated everything he’s ever done since then.  But Gilbert Grape is full of amazing performances.

  10. Surprised at the distaste for Wes Anderson in the comments. I find most intentionally quirky stuff pretentious, but not Anderson – I love all his films (though I could definitely rank them).

    Depp is a great actor but isn’t picky enough about the roles he plays, especially all of the Burton dreck after Ed Wood (which is an absolutely brilliant film). I thought he was excellent in the first Pirates film, but it shouldn’t have had more than one sequel with the same cast – the character of Jack Sparrow was totally played out by the second film.

    Since he’s a different sort of actor than Anderson’s usual crowd, it should be pretty interesting I think.

    Each Anderson film shares a common thread and certainly a common style, but if you look beyond the superficial there has been a huge evolution through his career. Most directors get stuck in a rut of predictability after their first few films, but Anderson seems to have embraced that and enforced a commonality to his films that allows him to evolve artistically without having to artificially make his films look different from each other. I think he has many more films in him before sliding into mediocrity (as all directors do, though not irrecoverably).

  11. With all the trash talk on Tim Burton I am surprised no one has mentioned “Big Fish” that film was phenomenal!!! Yes I know TB has went completely downhill. However not once has there been an “original” TB movie that wasn’t great. His flops are all remakes, for example, Planet of the apes, charlie and the chocolate factory, alice in wonderland (not as bad as the others), and most recently Dark Shadows. Dark Shadows is actually a remake of an old sitcom. And a hat tip for Halloween Jack for mentioning “Dead Man”….. “do you have any tobacco?”

    1. I must slightly disagree.  I thought Burton’s Alice was the worst thing he’s ever touched, by far.  Mostly because of the script, but also Depp made matters worse.  And I almost always really like Depp’s work.

      1. The woman playing Alice was awful. I think that she was supposed to be spunky, but she just came off as surly.

  12. Don’t forget, Depp has always done quirky movies that may or may not make it in the main stream. “Beeny & Joon”, “Edward Scissorhands”, “Cry Baby”, etc. When his career first started, he was the one to create the iconic stereotype of the big actor doing small, weird movies.

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