Iconic oddball actor Johnny Depp has recently taken on a surprising new role: producer. With his freshly minted production company Infinitum Nihil, Depp has had a hand in the production of his latest star vehicle The Rum Diary, as well as the upcoming Martin Scorsese kid-flick Hugo, and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows adaptation. And now Depp and co. have joined with Illumination Entertainment, the production company behind the upcoming Lorax feature, to develop a biopic about the life and works of Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Suess.
Depp is set to produce and could well take the lead in this proposed feature, which has already secured distribution through Universal Pictures. In fact, it seems likely that Depp will shoulder the role of Suess, as he has shown a penchant for leading biopics (Finding Wonderland, Blow, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco), and each of Infinitum Nihil’s productions thus far has included a role for him. But what’s most curious about this in-development project is the promise of an animated supporting cast.
THR has noted, “While producers say that the film is unlikely to take the fantastical CGI-coated style of Alice in Wonderland, which grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide with Depp in the lead, they are not ruling out animated bells and whistles.” This tantalizing tease was recently bolstered by a sly comment Depp made on a recent Larry King interview (via /Film):
It’s something we’re developing with Seuss’ widow, Geisel’s widow. It’s a very exciting possibility, because it’s a combination of live-action and…the characters will certainly have a role.
Considering Lorax producer Christopher Meledandri is one of Depp’s fellow producers on the project, it’s likely these characters would be animated in the vibrant CGI aesthetic of his previous efforts, like Ice Age, Despicable Me, and Horton Hears a Who! A style that appears to have met the high standards of Geisel’s widow and the Seuss estate, who collaborated with Illumination Entertainment on the character design of The Lorax, including the face of the elusive Once-ler. And as Geisel’s children’s books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, it seems a no-brainer to incorporate his colorful creations into his less than harrowing life story. Such a move should attract Seuss lovers of all ages, and make curious parents confident their kids’ will want to watch this Seuss-centered tale.
No production schedule has yet been released for this Dr. Suess biopic. The Lorax hits theaters March 2, 2012.
What’s your favorite Dr. Suess character? What’s your favorite Depp role?
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