Johnny Depp has assembled an impressive back catalogue of English eccentrics over the years, from Pirates of the Caribbean's smokey-eyed dandy Captain Jack Sparrow to Alice in Wonderland's preening, powdered Mad Hatter. Now we get our first chance to check out his latest anglophile creation, Charlie Mortdecai, in the first trailer for the upcoming action comedy Mortdecai.
A roguish and debonair art dealer, our hero has been described as an amoral Bertie Wooster with psychopathic tendencies. The film is based on the novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli, specifically 1999's The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery. It sees Mortdecai traversing the globe in an effort to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.
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The trailer shows a luxuriously moustached Depp travelling to Los Angeles, described as "a terribly vulgar place" and taking part in traditional aristocratic pastimes such as shooting peasants (no typo). Ewan McGregor plays Inspector Martland, who coaxes Mortdecai to help with the investigation in return for turning a blind eye to his civic debts. Paul Bettany plays unfortunately named manservant Jock Strapp, the Jeeves to Mortdecai's Wooster. Other roles are unclear: both Magic Mike'sOlivia Munn and Gwyneth Paltrow could be Charlie's "impossibly leggy" wife from the novels.
The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery was finished by the satirist Craig Brown in 1999 following Bonfiglioli's death in 1985. There are three further Charlie Mortdecai books – Don't Point That Thing at Me, Something Nasty in the Woodshed and After You with the Pistol, all published between 1972 and 1979 – so there's plenty of scope for a sequel if Mortdecai proves a hit.
Depp needs one if he is to maintain his standing at the top of the Hollywood tree. Neither last year's The Lone Ranger nor this year's Transcendence flourished at the box office, and the US actor hasn't really had a major smash since 2011's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Mortdecai hits UK cinemas on 30 January and US multiplexes a week later, with prolific screenwriter David Koepp in the director's chair. Will you be checking in on Depp's bumbling, foppish clot? Or is this one aristocratic adventure you'll be giving a miss?
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