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Johnny Depp is pairing up with Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment to produce a biopic based on the life of famed children's author and illustrator Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. Universal, which produced the Seuss-based 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas', 'The Cat in the Hat', and an upcoming animated adaptation of 'The Lorax', will collaborate with Depp on developing the project with the possibility to have him portray Geisel in the film as well.
Geisel, the son of German immigrants who ran a brewery, first took up the pseudonym "Seuss" after he was caught drinking gin in his college dormroom and was subsequently kicked off the school's humor magazine (forcing him to create the alter-ego to continue publishing his work). After meeting his wife and leaving college, "Dr. Seuss" worked in the ad industry, creating successful print ad campaigns for Flit, an insecticide company. As World War II began, Seuss worked as a political cartoonist in New York, denouncing Hitler and Mussolini, criticizing racism on the homefront, and supporting US war efforts. When that wasn't enough, he created posters for the Treasury Department and was made commander of the animation department for the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Air Force, where he created his Academy Award winning documentary 'Design for Death', as well as the 'Private Snafu' series of adult army training films. After the war, Geisel moved to California to pen his classic children's books and promote literacy until his death in 1991.
Depp - who has now played eccentric filmmaker Ed Wood, 'Peter Pan' author J.M. Barrie, The Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, Barnabas Collins and two different variations of Hunter S. Thompson - seems to almost be crossing off some kind of checklist of colorful characters he hasn't yet played, so the role of Dr. Seuss seems like a no-brainer. However, the actor is currently hard at work on Tim Burton's adaptation of 'Dark Shadows', a possible role as Tonto in Disney's 'The Lone Ranger' (which jumps between "cancelled" and "still in production" by the week), and is attached to star as drunkard detective Nick Charles in the forthcoming reboot of 'The Thin Man', so his dance card may be full.