A report emerged last week at The Sun that director Terry Gilliam was trying to get Johnny Depp to finish what remains of the late Heath Ledger’s role in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”.
Ledger had been a little over halfway through filming on the fantasy project before his untimely death in New York last Tuesday. The role had the character falling through a magic mirror between separate worlds, and word was that at least one if not more actors would inhabit the roles in these different dimensions whilst Ledger’s work would anchor it all.
Now though, People Magazine got in touch with Depp’s representatives who say “there have been no official talks, and he is currently working on Public Enemies for Michael Mann for Universal.”
Christopher Plummer, Ledger’s biggest co-star on the project, tells the mag that Gilliam is working hard to find a way to finish the film and may even use CGI: “Terry’s throwing himself into the job of trying to salvage the picture. [Gilliam is] trying to work out at this moment how to continue on. Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way, perhaps, of turning Heath into other people and then, using stills and I think they call it CGI… Terry was a very good friend [of Heath’s]. He very wants to go on with the movie, and I can very much understand why. Because he wants to dedicate it to Heath, of course.”
In other words it sounds like Gilliam will be using some kind of CG trickery to put Heath’s face on other actors in order to finish some of Ledger’s remaining sequences. It’s certainly not unheard of, most famous the same trick was used when actor Brandon Lee died in an accident a week before filming ended on 1994’s “The Crow” and Lee’s face was digitally composited onto his stunt double.