According to a report in the Irish press this morning, Johnny Depp will star in the long-awaited screen version of J. P. Donleavy's novel, The Ginger Man. The novel, a stage version of which was shut down in 1959 after it ran afoul of the Catholic church, tells the story of a "feckless, womanizing American...soldier - supposedly - studying law in Trinity College after the Second World War."

The main character, Sebastian Dangerfield, is both "one of the most famous characters in Irish fiction" and an utter bastard; needless to say, the right actor is required to render him tolerable on screen, let alone likable. For that reason alone, it's easy to understand why Donleavy has traditionally refused to allow the book to be made into a movie, despite repeated attempts. Now, though, after an encouraging meeting with Depp, the author has reportedly changed his mind: "Mr Depp is something else. He is very bright, extremely intelligent, and very knowledgeable."

No other information is available about the film, and it will doubtless be a while before it can get started since Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is not expected to really get going until this summer.