Rob Marshall’s thrilled that Johhny Depp’s sticking with him through thick and especially “Thin” – as in “The Thin Man.”
Marshall – whose first collaboration with Depp, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” hits theaters May 20 – tells PopcornBiz the two have long been scheming to launch their just-announced adaptation of the beloved 1934s film based on Dashiell Hammett’s original detective novel.
“Johnny asked me halfway through working on this film [“Pirates”],” says Marshall, “because we had a wonderful, immediate chemistry. We have very similar sensibility about making films.”
The six-film series of the ‘30s – starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, cocktail-swilling, clever-bantering married sophisticates who dabbling in crime-solving between drinks and tending to their pampered schnauzer Asta – were a sensation in their day, and inspired a two-season TV series in the late 50s starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk. Marshall says he plans to set the remake firmly in its original Art Deco environs.
“It will be set in the '30s, but we'll do our own version of it,” says Marshall. “Like when I did a movie like 'Chicago', which is a period movie in the '20s, it's always nice to be able to see an era through modern eyes. I love period films, and I would never take something like 'The Thin Man' out of that era. It's the best era, you know: Speakeasies and martinis and murder.”
“I'm excited about it because I love the sort of murder-mystery genre,” adds the director. “And I love that it's classy like this with Nick and Nora Charles. And so that kind of fulfills something that I've always secretly wanted to do as well.”
Depp, of course, will be Nick, while the role of Nora has suddenly become one of the most coveted in Hollywood (and we’re sure aspiring Astas are lining up as well), and Marshall’s still zeroing in on Depp’s perfect partner in witty repartee. “Oh, that's the fun part – I don't know yet!” says Marshall. “It's going to be fun to see. We're writing it first.”
Marshall, who’s known for his deft touch helming modern musicals like “Chicago” and “Nine,” also has plans brewing to return to his song-and-dance roots on a future film.
“I want to do a musical that is an homage to the musicals of the '40s and '50s -sort of like the MGM musicals,” he says. “That would be really fun to do sometime, because I do feel in an odd way I was born in the wrong era, that I should have been with the Arthur Freed unit at MGM in the '50s. I really do! So to be able to do something like that, to do that kind of musical - an original one for film – would be so perfect.”