×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Johnny Depp to Play War Photographer W. Eugene Smith in ‘Minamata’

Johnny Depp has come on board to star as war photographer W. Eugene Smith in the independent drama “Minamata.”

The film will center on Smith’s work as a photographer for Life magazine in exposing the poisoning of the people of Minamata, Japan. Andrew Levitas will direct the film, which is based on the book by Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith and adapted by David K. Kessler.

The story will start with Smith as a recluse, with the glory days of World War II far behind him. But an old friend and a commission from Life Magazine editor Ralph Graves convince him to journey back to Japan to expose a big story: the devastating annihilation of a coastal community through mercury poisoning. “Minamata” will start principal production in Japan followed by Serbia in January.

HanWay Films will handle international sales and distribution and will commence sales at the American Film Market, which opens on Oct. 31 in Santa Monica, Calif. CAA Media Finance will handle US rights. “Minamata” has been developed by Depp’s production entity Infinitum Nihil and is produced by Sam Sarkar, Bill Johnson and Andrew Levitas. Jason Forman and Stephen Deuters will executive produce.

“Working with Johnny to give voice to those who have been silently suffering is a responsibility we do not take lightly,” Levitas said. “Much like Eugene Smith in 1971, we could not feel more privileged or humbled to be tasked with the mission of bringing this incredible story to the world.”

HanWay Films’ Gabrielle Stewart added, “Eugene Smith’s personal redemptive story arc is really human and touching as he opens up and connects to the people in front of his camera. His story is extremely relevant as it explores how a powerful image can spur the world into action.”

Depp and producer Andrea Iervolino announced Monday that they have formed a partnership to develop and produce film and digital content. The pact is starting with the drama “Waiting for the Barbarians,” starring Depp, Mark Rylance, and Robert Pattinson. Production begins later this month in Morocco.

Depp and Levitas are both represented by CAA. Kessler is managed by Amy Schiffman at Echo Lake Entertainment.

 

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content