Johnny Depp will headline a biopic of legendary war photographer W Eugene Smith, Variety reported. Minamata will be directed by actor and filmmaker Andrew Levitas (Lullaby, 2013).
“The film will center on Smith’s work as a photographer for Life magazine in exposing the poisoning of the people of Minamata, Japan,” Variety said. The movie is based on the 1975 book Minamata: The Story of the Poisoning of a City, and of the People Who Choose to Carry the Burden of Courage by Smith and his wife, Aileen Mioko Smith. The film will be shot in Japan and Serbia.
Smith will be portrayed as a recluse who goes to Japan on a Life assignment to photograph the effects of mercury poisoning on a fishing community. Depp’s company Infinitum Nihil has developed the project.
Levitas said in a statement quoted by Deadline Hollywood, “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.”