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Johnny Depp on Taking Over for Heath Ledger in 'Parnassus': Exclusive! Heath Ledger's tragic death on Jan. 22, 2008, left the world without one of its most promising acting talents. It also left director Terry Gilliam with half of 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' still to film and no leading man with which to film it. Into this gaping void stepped Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, each of whom play a different incarnation of Ledger's character, a mysterious loner who helps the titular Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) save his daughter's soul from the Devil (Tom Waits).

In a heartfelt statement released exclusively to Moviefone, Depp opened up about the honor and the sadness of helping to complete Ledger's final big-screen performance. See what he had to say after the jump.


Heath Ledger's tragic death on Jan. 22, 2008, left the world without one of its most promising acting talents. It also left director Terry Gilliam with half of 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' still to film and no leading man with which to film it. Into this gaping void stepped Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law, each of whom play a different incarnation of Ledger's character, a mysterious loner who helps the titular Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) save his daughter's soul from the Devil (Tom Waits).

In a heartfelt statement released exclusively to Moviefone, Depp opened up about the honor and the sadness of helping to complete Ledger's final big-screen performance. Here's what he had to say:

"Though the circumstances of my involvement are extremely heartrending and unbelievably sad, I feel privileged to have been asked aboard to stand in on behalf of dear Heath ... He was the only player out there breathing heavy down the back of every established actor's neck with a thundering and ungovernable talent that came up on you quick, hissing rather mischievously with that cheeky grin, 'Hey ... get on out of my way boys, I'm coming through!' And does he ever!!!"

'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus' opens in New York and L.A. on Christmas Day and nationwide on Jan. 8.

'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus' Trailer