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Johnny Depp to play war photographer in ‘Minamata’

Hollywood star Johnny Depp has come on board to feature as war photographer W. Eugene Smith in the independent drama “Minamata”.

The film will center on Smith’s work as a photographer for Life magazine in exposing the poisoning of the people of Minamata, Japan.

Andrew Levitas will direct the film, which is based on the book by Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith and adapted by David K. Kessler.

The story will start with Smith as a recluse, with the glory days of World War II far behind him. But an old friend and a commission from Life Magazine editor Ralph Graves convince him to journey back to Japan to expose a big story: the devastating annihilation of a coastal community through mercury poisoning.

“Minamata” will start principal production in Japan followed by Serbia in January.

“Working with Johnny to give voice to those who have been silently suffering is a responsibility we do not take lightly. Much like Eugene Smith in 1971, we could not feel more privileged or humbled to be tasked with the mission of bringing this incredible story to the world,” Levitas said.

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