Johnny Depp'll be a supercomputer in Nolan-produced sci-fi film

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Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

He's played the Mad Hatter, Sweeney Todd and Barnabas Collins, and now he's about to take on possibly the strangest role of his career: Johnny Depp has been cast as a computer.

Well, that's not exactly accurate. But according to The Wrap, Depp will play a scientist whose mind is uploaded into a supercomputer in the upcoming film Transcendence.

Christopher Nolan is the executive producer on the project, and his regular cinematographer, Oscar winner Wally Pfister, is making his directorial debut on the film, which is said to be a mind-bender in the tradition of 2001 or Inception.

So what is the plot? Well, Depp plays one of a team of three scientists—two of whom are husband and wife—who are attempting to create the first supercomputer with a mind of its own. When Depp's character, Will, the husband, is assassinated by terrorists, his wife Evelyn manages to upload his consciousness into their experimental computer.

At first she's not sure if her gamble works, but when the computer begins responding to her, she realizes it's a success. She then hooks up the device to the Internet, where her husband's mind begins making backups of itself to other computers around the world. By the time the terrorists return to steal the machine and finish the job, Will doesn't even need the supercomputer anymore to continue existing.

The Wrap ascertained all this by reading a recent script summary. Producer Andrew Kosove did confirm that Depp's character's mind gets uploaded into the computer, but the production company, Alcon Entertainment, cautioned that the script could undergo further revisions before hitting the screen (that's what they all say).

There's no word yet on who will play Evelyn or the third member of the team, although Ewan McGregor and Tom Hardy were both approached for the latter and were ultimately unable to do the film.

Transcendence sounds like one of those gritty sci-fi thrillers of the early '70s that many of us grew up on, and we can only imagine what happens once Depp's mind is able to save itself to every other computer in the world. Just think of the viral marketing they could do for this one once production ramps up sometime next year.

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