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Johnny Depp AFI Fest 2005 tribute

AFI FEST 2005 powers through a week of Premieres and parties--looks forward to Friday's Johnny Depp Tribute

AFI FEST 2005 played host to a full slate of star-studded screenings, World Premieres and special events this week, and is primed to continue its run with a second spectacular weekend. TRANSAMERICA star Felicity Huffman's film brought out her DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES co-stars, while Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut--THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA--enjoyed its US Premiere at the Egyptian Theatre. The following night, Anthony Hopkins followed suit, attending the US Premiere of THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, with writer/director Roger Donaldson, Annie Whittle, Christopher Lawford and others in attendance. Star Robin Wright Penn and her husband, Sean Penn, showed up for Jeff Stanzler's SORRY, HATERS, where after the screening la femme Penn was peppered with questions from attendee Jack Nicholson. Other Festival attendees included Cuba Gooding, Jr., Harry Dean Stanton, Alan Cumming, Patrick Swayze, Dwight Yoakam, James D'Arcy, director Roger Spottiswoode, Steven Bauer and, of course, Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix, who walked the red carpet for the Opening Night Gala presentation of their new film, WALK THE LINE.

On Friday, November 11, Richard Schickel hosts a special Tribute to Johnny Depp at 7:00 p.m., with the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN star making a rare live appearance to talk about his career. At 10:00 p.m. follows the World Premiere of THE LIBERTINE--featuring Depp's latest starring turn, as a Restoration-era poet and pornographer--from director Laurence Dunsmore. With a diverse lineup that includes 127 films from 44 different countries, there is truly something for everyone at this year's Festival, continuing through November 13 at ArcLight Hollywood.
Johnny Depp will make a rare appearance in a lively on-stage conversation with acclaimed film critic, commentator and author Richard Schickel. The Tribute will also include a career montage, and a series of clips that will take a close look at the work and art of this singular, stylish performer. The Tribute is made possible through a collaborative partnership with the Skirball Cultural Center. With special thanks to Montblanc and Media Partner LA Weekly.

"Johnny is a brilliant and truly unique actor, whose remarkable career has been defined by its diversity and veracity. The originality of both the characters he has portrayed and the films he has made, further emphasize his integrity and passion, says Laurence Dumore, director of THE LIBERTINE. "I am delighted Johnny is being honored by AFI FEST."

THE LIBERTINE stars Depp as history's notorious enfant terrible, the Earl of Rochester. Rochester was a man of many contradictions: an anti-monarchist Royalist who was the friend confident of British King Charles II (played by John Malkovich in the film); an atheist who converted to Christianity; and a poet and pornographer in Restoration-era Britain. The film follows how Rochester's famous cynicism is thrown for a loop when he falls in love with a struggling young actress (Morton).

"Johnny's character in THE LIBERTINE is multifaceted and he conveys the complexities with brilliance," says Harvey Weinstein. "He is a true master and his performance in this film is outstanding."

Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile and compelling actors working in contemporary world cinema. His ability to recognize and then whole-heartedly immerse himself in memorable film roles has made him the rarest of movie stars-- simultaneously iconoclastic yet eminently bankable--a true original. Pivotal performances in films as diverse as CRY BABY, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?, ED WOOD, DONNIE BRASCO, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, DON JUAN DEMARCO, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, BLOW, CHOCOLAT AND ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO make his matinee idol good looks almost incidental to his work as a great actor.

More recently, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN (now with two sequels currently in production), FINDING NEVERLAND, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and the daring THE LIBERTINE, have earned Depp a new legion of fans and made him more in demand than ever, with a slew of new projects in the pipeline.

Johnny Depp will be in conversation with Richard Schickel, a film critic, documentary filmmaker and movie historian, who has written over 30 books, among them The Disney Version; His Picture in the Papers: D.W. Griffith: An American Life; Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity; Brando: A Life in Our Times; Matinee Idylls and Good Morning Mr Zip Zip Zip. He has made thirty documentaries including CHARLIE: THE LIFE AND ART OF CHARLES CHAPLIN; WOODY ALLEN: A LIFE IN FILM and SHOOTING WAR, the latter of which is about combat cameramen in World War II.

Schickel recently completed the book Elia Kazan: A Biography, and is working on a documentary about Martin Scorsese, which will be the 18th installment in a series of portraits of American film directors he has made over the course of his career. He also recently completed a reconstruction of Sam Fuller's classic war film THE BIG RED ONE, restoring over 45 minutes cut from the original release print. He has been reviewing movies for Time since 1972 and writes a monthly column, "Film on Paper," for The Los Angeles Times Book Review. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and was awarded the British Film Institute Book Prize, the Maurice Bessy prize for film criticism and received an Honorary Degree from AFI.

As part of the Tribute, AFI FEST 2005 will also screen a retrospective of four of Depp's films during the ten day festival: DEAD MAN (1995), directed by Jim Jarmusch; EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), directed by Tim Burton; FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAST VEGAS (1998), directed by Terry Gilliam; and WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE? (1993), directed by Lasse Hallström - whose latest film, CASANOVA, will close the Festival's program this year.

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