David Koepp will direct the movie from a script written by Eric Aronson.
Depp will also produce the movie with his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski as well as Andrew Lazar.
Until earlier this year, the project was based at Warner Bros. but the studio quietly put it into turnaround.
Depp will star as Charles Mortdecai, a debonair art dealer and part-time rogue who, according to the studio, “must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.” He also has to juggle angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist.
The series of books was written in the 1970s.
Koepp, one of Hollywood’s biggest screenwriters (Jurassic Park and Spider-Man are among his credits), last wrote and directed Premium Rush, the well-received thriller that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is repped by CAA.
Depp, repped by UTA, is coming off The Lone Ranger, where he played yet another eccentric character, Tonto. The plan is for Depp to squeeze the movie in before making a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean.