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Depp casing 'Public' heist

Johnny Depp doesn't shy away from blood in the upcoming "Sweeney Todd," for which he's being touted as a major Oscar contender, and he might again find himself awash in blood if he opts to join up with producer-director Michael Mann for a film about the Depression-era crime wave. Mann has long been interested in mounting a screen adaptation of Brian Burrough's nonfiction book "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34"; at one point, Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to the project, but DiCaprio is headed into Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island." But Mann — who has considered taking the helm of Columbia's spy thriller "Edwin A. Salt" but has not committed to that project because he believes it needs a rewrite — has an open slot. As for Depp, he was to have starred in Warner/Initial Entertainment's "Shantaram" followed by Warner Independent's "The Rum Diaries," but both of those projects were postponed last month, leaving the star with an opening in his schedule (HR 11/20). So Depp and Mann are sitting down this week to discuss the possibility of joining forces; Depp is said to be eyeing the role of bank robber John Dillinger. Along with Mann, Kevin Misher is on board as producer; Robert De Niro and his partner Jane Rosenthal, who originally optioned the book, have been involved as exec producers; and the studio is looking at a March start in Chicago if all the elements come together. (Carly Mayberry and Borys Kit)
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