Johnny Depp

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — It looks like “The Lone Ranger” won’t be riding again as soon as expected. As we reported earlier, Armie Hammer of “The Social Network” was cast in the title role, with Johnny Depp set to play his trusted companion, Tonto. The Jerry Bruckheimer production was budgeted at $250 million, which Disney balked at, demanding the budget be slashed to $200 million. You’d think with the billions Bruckheimer and Depp made for Disney on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, it would give them what they want — but times are tough!

In the meantime, Depp has “The Rum Diary,” a film based on an early novel by journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Depp plays a writer who leaves New York in the 1950s to write for a newspaper in Puerto Rico and becomes a heavy drinker and womanizer. Sounds like my kind of a job! The film, due out Oct. 28, also stars Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins and Amber Heard of “Pineapple Express” and “Zombieland.” Meanwhile, the script for “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” has been completed, but Depp wants a break before he dives into that character again.

Armie Hammer, who has completed work on Clint Eastwood’s “Edgar” film about FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, is about to play the prince in “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White.” Lily Collins, daughter of pop singer Phil Collins, has the title role, with Julia Roberts as the evil witch and Nathan Lane along for comic relief.
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Ever wonder how William Shakespeare found time to write all those complicated plays? That question is posed by the Oct. 28 release of “Anonymous.” Scholars have wondered for years if Shakespeare’s plays were written by him or penned by others, such as The Earl of Oxford, for one. Their argument is presented with the help of award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, her daughter Joely Redgrave, David Thewlis and Derek Jacobi, an authority on Shakespeare who endorses this theory. How much higher would our grades have been in English class if we hadn’t had to read all those long, hard-to-understand plays?
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Finally, did you believe that roast last week of Charlie Sheen? Is there no level to which he will stoop? It wasn’t enough that he nearly lost the jobs and income of the cast and crew of “Two and a Half Men” with his tirades, but he believed he could harm the reboot of the show by scheduling his roast opposite the premiere of his replacement, Ashton Kutcher. During the low-class … no, strike that … no-class roast, Sheen was referred to as “a drug addict,” “an abuser of women,” “a connoisseur of porn stars and prostitutes,” “a horrible actor” and “a reckless loser” — and those are the nicer things we could print. In other words, he’s a loser, a bruiser and a boozer!

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.