Johnny Depp walks on the stage at the Staples Center during the 55th Grammy… (Joe Klamar )
Johnny Depp will next be seen in Disney's "The Lone Ranger" this summer but after that it looks like he's giving popcorn flicks a rest.
The Oscar-nominated actor, who became a giant movie star when he first stole the show as Jack Sparrow in 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," announced Wednesday that he was committing to two new movies this year that are decidedly different than his most recent work.
First up is Wally Phister's directorial debut "Transcendence," a hush-hush project being shuttled through Warner Bros. by Alcon Entertainment. Based on an original screenplay by newcomer Jack Paglen -- and featuring a rewrite by Black List star Noah Oppenheim -- the film's plot lines are being kept under wraps. But it's safe to say that with Phister and Christopher Nolan's Academy Award-winning cinematographer at the helm, the film is sure to look great.
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Production is set to begin in April.
When that wraps, Depp will turn his attention to playing Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger in the thriller "Black Mass" to be directed by Barry Levinson. The film will be based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob" by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. Jez Butterworth ("Fair Game") is writing a new draft of the screenplay by Mark Mallouk.
Cross Creek, the financier behind "Black Swan," is co-financing with Exclusive Media.
Cameras are scheduled to roll in early summer.
With a tentative start date set for "Black Mass," Depp's Bulger project pulls ahead of the two others being developed by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and "Twilight" alum Peter Facinelli. Interest in Bulger peaked in summer 2011 after the mobster was arrested in Santa Monica after vanishing in 1994.
While Damon and Affleck announced a collaboration with TV veteran Terence Winter and Warner Bros. on a project back in 2011, little has been written about the project since then. Facinelli's project, based on an adaptation of the book by Edward MacZenzie and Phyllis Karas "Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer For Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob" has also seen little movement since it was first announced.
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