Arguably, it is long past time that Johnny Depp selected a good movie project. He presumably has a very lucrative set-up with Disney regarding the ongoing Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, but lucrative deals and good films are not the same thing. He has, in recent years, filled his time with uncredited appearances (Jack And Jill, 21 Jump Street, London Fields), supporting roles (Tusk, Into The Woods, Yoga Hosers), and poorly received leads (Transcendence, Mortdecai, Black Mass, Alice through The Looking Glass) – but has not had a solid critical and financial success since 2011’s Rango. Could LAbyrinth be the film to turn things around?
The project comes with controversy baked right in. It is the screen adaptation of the overly titled LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates The Murders Of Tupac Shakur And Notorious B.I.G, The Implication Of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, And The Origins Of The Los Angeles Police Scandal, by Randall Smith – with a screenplay penned by Christian Contreras. It’s now being reported that Johnny Depp is considering the project, with the lead role of LAPD homicide detective Russell Poole in mind.
Poole is the book’s titular detective, who found himself courting scandal when he was assigned to the Notorious B.I.G murder case after the rapper was killed in a shoot-out on March 9th, 1997. In the course of his investigations, Poole became convinced that a number of LAPD officers participated in the crime and, when he presented his findings to his superior, his investigation was shut down. Poole eventually resigned from the police department and became a Private Investigator – continuing his work on the high profile case independently.
As a film project, LAbyrinth has a great deal of potential. Brad Furman is already attached to direct, having made a name for himself with The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner, and this year’s The Infiltrator. The subject matter also guarantees an audience for the movie, as the truth behind the murder of both Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur – who was previously gunned down on September 7th 1996 – remain shrouded in mystery. If Johnny Depp does indeed sign on for this adaptation, he could well have a career renaissance on his hands.