Johnny Depp and Michael Mann are Public Enemies

Johnny Depp likes the cut of notorious John Dillinger’s Tommy gun, because he’s just signed up to star in the Depression Era-set movie “Public Enemies” for director Michael Mann. The two apparently agreed to work together after Depp’s “Shantaram” was postponed by the writer’s strike. A notorious gangster of the 1930s, Dillinger was considered an outlaw to some, a Robin Hood to others.

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Drama is set during the great crime wave of 1933-34, when the government’s attempts to stop Depression-era criminal legends such as John Dillilnger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd transformed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI into the country’s first federal police force. Mann wrote the script, based on Bryan Burrough’s 2004 tome.

Depp will play John Dillinger, considered the most notorious gangster of the era. Mann and his Forward Pass will produce with Kevin Misher and his Misher Films. Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal will be exec producer.

There are two reasons to love the idea behind “Public Enemies”: It has Johnny Depp as a charismatic gangster and Michael Mann working in the genre he’s most comfortable: crime and punishment.

Here’s more about John Dillinger (via):

John Dillinger (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber, considered by some to be a dangerous criminal, while others idealized him as a latter-day Robin Hood. He gained this reputation (and the nickname “Jackrabbit”) for his graceful movements during bank heists, such as leaping over the counter (a movement he supposedly copied from the movies) and narrow getaways from police. His exploits, along with those of other criminals of the 1930s Depression era, such as Bonnie and Clyde and Ma Barker, dominated the attentions of the American press and its readers during what is sometimes referred to as the public enemy era, between 1931 and 1935, a period which led to the further development of the modern and more sophisticated FBI.

“Public Enemies” has a March 2008 start.

Johnny Depp and Michael Mann are Public Enemies