Johnny Depp Nearing Deal for 'Alice In Wonderland 2'

After a week that saw Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger take a pounding at the box office, his ego has to be a little bruised. Few would have predicted reuniting the Pirates of the Caribbean team for a similar film would flop quite so hard, but it did and one has to wonder if audiences have grown tired of Depp's goofy routine. But if there was any doubt that Disney wants to stay in the Depp business, they've put it to rest today by striking a couple of major deals with him.

Disney already has Depp returning as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 5, due to set sail in 2015. As if returning to the comfort of one billion dollar franchise wasn't good enough, Disney is finalizing a deal with Depp to reprise his role as the Mad Hatter in their developing Alice in Wonderland sequel. Not that there was ever any doubt over Depp's participation, but it seems like Disney is in full on "let's hug it out" mode. And to further solidify their relationship with Depp, Disney is now the exclusive home of his Infinitum Nihil production company.

What we know as of now is that original scribe Linda Woolverton is penning Alice in Wonderland 2, with James Bobin (The Muppets) stepping in as director, replacing Tim Burton. It's still a ways off as Depp has a laundry list of projects to finish up first. He's currently filming Wally Pfister's Transcendence; then he'll take the title role in Mortdecai; from there he'll move on to Rob Marshall's musical Into the Woods; and then it's back to the high seas for 'Pirates 5'. [Deadline/Variety]