Johnny goes Ginger...

Calm down, calm down...Johnny Depp isn’t dying his hair ginger - not that there would be anything wrong with it if he did, we don’t want to offend our auburn-bonced brothers and sisters – he is however preparing to develop and star in The Ginger Man.

“It’s a great book by JP Donleavy who I got to meet recently in New York. He’s a terrific man, he really is,” a gently buzzing Depp says of the native NYC novelist. The tale follows a ruggedly charming Irish-American law student called Dangerfield, as he stumbles from bar to bar, dreaming of money and women.

The Ginger Man was Donleavy’s first novel and was eventually released in 1955, despite being considered far too risqué by some publishers.

Before Depp pushes the boundaries of hard drinking, he’s going to have to slip into the skin of Gregory David Roberts. Shantaram is the staggering tale of an Australian former union activist who went a little off the rails.

“Shantaram is a beautiful book,” Depp says respectfully. “It came to me when we were shooting Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and I just couldn’t put it down.”

Roberts life went from dramatic to exceptional when his wife left him and he became a heroin addict. “He got hooked, he was in a horrible depression and he was desperate for money. He started robbing banks and he was known as the Gentleman Bandit because he would dress really sharp and using a toy pistol would say ‘May I please have the money,’” Depp laughs. “He goes to prison and escapes over a wall in broad daylight and he moved to Bombay and became a slum doctor. It’s a pretty incredible story.”

So with JD all set to break out the ruffled shirt and bandana for the third instalment of Pirates Of The Caribbean - when will he get around to being anyone other than Captain Jack?

“Shantaram looks like the one I am going to do straight after Pirates 3,” he explains. Just before Johnny escapes, TF raises the rumour that refuses to die – Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote project, about a Spanish loon who appoints himself a Knight and travels the land righting wrongs.

“Terry’s been threatening me with going back to it,” Depp says of the troubled production that shut down in 2001. “If he’s able to pull it back together, get his script back, then I’d love to make the film with him.”

At some point, the too-cool Depp might kick back and relax but by the sound of it, it won’t be this year.

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