With Johnny Depp almost completely giving up his once considerable character acting chops these days – being happy and content enough to spend his days as a paycheck/blockbuster actor – his attachment to play Mexican Revolutionist Pancho Villa in an obscure, Spanish-language performance piece, always looked vulnerable for the chop. And so it is with little surprise that news has filtered through from a Serbian site (via Bleeding Cool) that Depp has dropped the challenging project from his schedule and is no longer attached.
Thankfully, even without his former star, director Emir Kusturica (who worked with Depp way back in 1993 with Arizona Dream) still intends to make the film and there’s interest from two of Depp’s more interesting peers who are now circling the project, namely Benicio Del Toro and Gael Garica Bernal – both of whom have memorably played another revolutionist on film, Che Guevara!
Director Kusturica is to meet with both thesps in Cuba before deciding on his leading man with production due to begin ‘shortly’. Salma Hayek is still attached.
As The Playlist point out, Bernal has perhaps emerged as the favourite, recently declaring at Kusturica’s Kustendorf Film Festival recently;
“I will probably land the leading role because of physical resemblance with Pancho Villa” and “I believe Emir is the only director who can do the Pancho Villa story. Even better than any Mexican director. You know why? Because he is a kind of Pancho Villa in his own right.”
If that isn’t a come and get me plea, I don’t know what is!
Awesomely titled Seven Friends of Pancho Villa and the Woman With Six Fingers – Kusturica will direct his Sergio Leone-esque epic from a script by his long time collaborator Gordan Mihic who has adapted James Carlos Blak’s novel The Friends of Pancho Villa which “recounts how Villa and his compadres had a great time fighting and robbing the rich, but also dancing, partying and making love!”
Interestingly, Depp is said to have pronounced recently “I think this role has to be played by a Mexican actor”. Hmmm…. so it’s got nothing to do with the paychecks coming his way from the POTC franchise and his new big deals, Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger?