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Amber Heard is in negotiations to play the coveted female lead opposite Johnny Depp in “Rum Diary,” the adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel, which Bruce Robinson is writing and directing.
Heard is a relative newcomer who so far has been cast in supporting roles in more modest movies. Her notable roles include the title character in “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” and a stint as Seth Rogen’s high school-aged girlfriend in “Pineapple Express.”
“Diary” will place Heard at the front and center of a love triangle in the tale of a washed-up, hard-drinking journalist named Paul Kemp (Depp) in 1950s Puerto Rico. Heard will play Chenault, the free-spirited girlfriend of a fellow journalist who cheats on him with Kemp, trying to convince him to run away with her.
The role drew strong interest from many a leading lady (Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley were among those reported to have been vying for it), though some had reservations regarding the nudity the role calls for. But that didn’t inhibit Heard — in the upcoming ensemble Bret Easton Ellis adaptation “The Informers,” she spends all but one scene in the flesh. “Diary,” however, also will offer the opportunity to showcase some dramatic chops.
The role of Sanderson, the third point in the triangle, has not been cast.
The project, which Depp, Christi Dembrowski and Graham King are producing, begins March 30 in Puerto Rico. “Rum” is a production of King’s GK Films and Depp’s Infinitum Nihil. Also producing are Film Engine with A.J. Dix, Anthony Rhulen and William Shively attached alongside Robert Kravis and Greg Shapiro.
“Diary” is a passion project for Depp, a friend of Thompson, who has been trying to get the adaptation off the ground since 2003.
Heard, who just booked the lead in John Carpenter’s haunted house thriller “Ward 19,” also nabbed a cameo in Columbia’s “Zombieland,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. She will play the object of Eisenberg’s affection who turns into a zombie.
Heard is repped by Endeavor, Hyler Management and Attorney Karl Austen. (partialdiff)
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