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Johnny Depp books ‘Hand of Dante’

Actor's Infinitum Nihil acquires rights to novel

Johnny Depp’s production company Infinitum Nihil has acquired screen rights to the Nick Tosches novel “In the Hand of Dante.” The novel will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Depp.

Depp will produce with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski. The company, which has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and Graham King’s GK Films, optioned the book with its own coin.

Book revolves around Dante’s masterwork “The Divine Comedy,” and tells parallel storylines involving Dante in 14th-century Italy as he tries to complete the work, and a contemporary storyline involving Tosches, who is asked to authenticate what might be Dante’s original manuscript. Depp would play Tosches. The novel was published in 2002.

Depp, who is playing the Mad Hatter in the Tim Burton-directed “Alice in Wonderland,” has a dance card that includes toplining another “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, “The Lone Ranger,” and voicing the title character in the Gore Verbinski-directed animated film “Rango.”

At the same time, his production company has become more ambitious, and is getting close to the starting line on its first movie.

Depp will star in March as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in “The Rum Diary,” an adaptation of the Thompson book that Infinitum Nihil is producing with GK Films, with King’s company financing the picture. Bruce Robinson is directing his script. It’s Depp’s second turn in a Thompson tale; he starred in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Infinitum Nihil also is working with GK Films and WB on a film transfer of “Dark Shadows” that will have Depp playing Barnabas Collins; an adaptation of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” that will be directed by Chris Wedge; an adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts book “Shantaram” that was scripted by Eric Roth; and “The Bomb in My Garden,” the Mahdi Obeidi/Kurt Pitzer book that has a script by Robert Edwards. Infinitum Nihil also is developing an adaptation of “Inamorata” that was scripted by the book’s author, Joseph Gangemi.

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