Johnny Depp to Play Art Dealer Hunting Nazi Loot Opposite Gwyneth Paltrow

In "Mortdecai," Depp will play a sleuthing gallerist searching for Nazi gold.

Johnny Depp will play a rogue art dealer in Mordecai. Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Johnny Depp, Swyneth Paltrow, and Ewan McGregor on the set of <em>Mortdecai</em>.

Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ewan McGregor on the set of Mortdecai.

Johnny Depp will play a debonair, globe-trotting art dealer-turned-treasure hunter in next year’s Mortdecai, set to be released February 6, 2015, reports the Los Angeles Times. He heads a star-studded cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Aubrey Plaza, Jeff Goldblum, and Oliver Platt.

The film will follow the adventures of Charlie Mortdecai (Depp), as he chases down a stolen painting that holds the secret code to a forgotten, gold-filled Nazi bank account. The official plot synopsis (see Collider) describes the character as a “part time rogue” who “must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm.” Throw in “angry Russians,” “Mi5,” an “international terrorist,” and an “impossibly leggy wife” (Paltrow?), and you’ve got an action-comedy that has “studio franchise hope” written all over it.

Paltrow last appeared in the high-grossing The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and is rumored to be accepting the role of Dora Maar in an upcoming Pablo Picasso biopic starring Antonio Banderas. Depp, on the other hand, has a recent string of box office busts under his belt, with Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, and the recently-released Transcendence all performing well below expectations.

As artnet News reported yesterday, films set in the art world often have to go to great lengths to get the rights to reproduce famous artworks, so it should be interesting to see if Depp’s dealer character represents any real-world artists. Based on his rather dapper costumes on set, however, our guess is that Mortdecai is involved in the secondary market—or that this is some sort of period piece.

Mortdecai is based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s 1970s book series of the same name, and will be directed by David Koepp, who also co-wrote the script with Eric Aronson and Peter Baynham.

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