Johnny Depp steps in to finish Heath Ledger film

Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:34pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Work on Heath Ledger's last film, suspended due to his death by accidental overdose in January, has resumed after three Hollywood stars agreed to play his character, director Terry Gilliam said on Monday.

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law will step in to complete Ledger's unfinished role in the movie "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," portraying various incarnations of his character, but Ledger's presence in the movie will also be maintained.

"Since the format of the story allows for the preservation of his entire performance, at no point will Heath's work be modified or altered through the use of digital technology," the film's producers said in a statement.

"Each of the parts played by Johnny, Colin and Jude is representative of the many aspects of the character that Heath was playing," they added.

Gilliam said filming on the British-Canadian production, due for release next summer, had resumed in Vancouver "with the blessing and support of Heath Ledger's family."

Ledger had just finished shooting scenes for the movie in London before his death. Newspapers have reported that the story involves a magical mirror that takes people into different dimensions, allowing Gilliam to switch between actors.

"I am delighted that Heath's brilliant performance can be shared with the world," Gilliam said. "We are looking forward to finishing the movie and, through the film, with a modicum of humility, being able to touch people's hearts and souls as Heath was able to do."

"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is described as a modern-day fantasy adventure and has a budget estimated at $30 million.

Reuters/Nielsen

 
<p>Johnny Depp, Oscar nominee for best actor in "Sweeny Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," arrives at the 80th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood February 24, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>