It’s been quite a while since Johnny Depp has starred in an original production. In the past few years, the actor has either reprised old, iconic roles like Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney flop Dead Men Tell No Tales, or accepted new ones in established franchises like J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in which he plays the evil wizard Grindelwald.
Yesterday, Samuel Goldwyn Films released the first trailer for its big budget period piece Waiting for the Barbarians. A movie that will mark the English-language debut of renowned Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra, whom movie buffs might recognize as the director of Embrace the Serpent, it’ll star Depp alongside Robert Pattinson.
Based on a 1980 novel by the acclaimed writer J.M. Coetzee, this film will tell the story of a desert-dwelling magistrate working near the border of a mysterious empire. Looking forward to his retirement, the magistrate’s plans are upended when a colonel (played by Depp) warns of advancing barbarians.
If the premise makes you think of 2013’s The Lone Ranger, think again. That picture, which saw Depp playing the wacky Native American sidekick of a gun-slinging vigilante on the rise, was greatly abhorred by critics for its lackluster story. Coetzee, who was born and raised in South Africa, is not only recognized as one of the greatest writers of modern times, but one that knows how to tread the line between sophistication and entertainment.
As of now, Waiting for the Barbarians is set to release straight to VOD on August 7th. And when it does, it’ll mark one of many big budget productions whose debuts are now forced to take place inside the homes of their viewers after the coronavirus pandemic shut down cinemas worldwide.