Johnny Depp in Talks to Star in Wally Pfister’s Directorial Debut, TRANSCENDENCE; Movie Billed as 2001: A SPACE ODDESSY Meets INCEPTION

     October 24, 2012


Johnny Depp is in negotiations to lead Transcendence, the directorial debut from The Dark Knight Rises cinematographer Wally Pfister.  When the project was announced back in March, details were being kept under wraps.  The plot is still being kept under wraps other than the film now having a title.  So what does “Transcendence” refer to and why keep the logline secret?  Perhaps it could be too confusing or difficult to distill into a single sentence, although when Inception was announced, all we knew was it was a thriller “set in the architecture of the mind.”  It was intriguing even though it explained absolutely nothing.

Depp will next be seen in Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger, which opens July 3, 2013.  Hit the jump for the press release regarding Transcendence, which is scheduled to begin shooting early next year.  [Update: Hit the jump for more details about the project.]

Update: THR has some new details about the project.  Described as a cross between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Inception, “The story centers on a man who creates a computer that develops a malevolent awareness. Depp will play a husband who gets sucked into the computer.”  For some reason The Hollywood Reporter did not include TRON as a comparative film.  Depp’s participation is contingent on changes Pfister is willing to make to Jack Paglen‘s script.  No word if the character will have a useless electronic cigarette.

Transcendence also has other high-profile actors being considered for the lead roles.  Pfister has met with Noomi Rapace to play the female lead, James McAvoy and Tobey Maguire could play the male lead, and Christoph Waltz is being eyed for a supporting role.

Here’s the press release:


LOS ANGELES, CA, OCTOBER 24, 2012 – Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp is in negotiations to star in Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, TRANSCENDENCE, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.  With principal photography set to begin early next year, Alcon will release through its output deal with Warner Bros.

The screenplay, written by newcomer Jack Paglen, was developed by Annie Marter and Straight Up Films, whose company principals include Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Regency Boies. Polvino, Marter and Cohen will produce along with David Valdes (“Book of Eli”), Johnson and Kosove. Boies will co-produce. The plot is being kept under wraps.

Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers on TRANSCENDENCE, which will be financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment.

Depp has been nominated for three Oscars for his work in the films “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Finding Neverland,” and “Sweeny Todd: The Demon of Barber Street.” He will next be seen in “The Lone Ranger” for Walt Disney Studios.

Pfister, who won an Oscar for his cinematography for INCEPTION, is well known for his work on projects with Christopher Nolan. His collaboration with Nolan has spanned seven films, beginning in 1999 with MEMENTO, and earning him his three Oscar nominations and one win.

Pfister recently completed THE DARK KNIGHT RISES with Nolan and served as the cinematographer on last year’s best picture nominee, MONEYBALL. Other credits include such films as THE ITALIAN JOB and LAUREL CANYON.

Kosove and Johnson state, “Johnny Depp is one of the most charismatic, talented actors imaginable and we are delighted he is with us on this project.”

Pfister states, “I’m thrilled, and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Johnny. He is a creative and intelligent artist whom I feel will bring great depth to the character and the overall narrative.”

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