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At one point Johnny Depp was known for his skills as a thespian, not his ability to wear too much eyeliner and mumble with a drunken grace. Seems like Depp wants to remind us that he can be great in the trailer for his latest movie, Transcendence

Depp's IMDB page reads like a graveyard for big-budget franchises and kiddie popcorn fare. The last time Depp was in a movie for adults, in which he really came to show us Johnny Depp, Actor was four years ago, in 2009's Public Enemies, when he played the outlaw John Dillinger. Before that, he was nominated for Best Actor in Sweeney Todd, and won the Golden Globe, but it gets worse until you clear that first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

While Depp has another Pirates movie and an Alice in Wonderland sequel on the way, the Transcendence trailer marks the first time in what seems like decades that Depp isn't doing a movie for Disney or Tim Burton or mailing in a performance beside someone like Angelina Jolie. This time he enters the House of Christopher Nolan, who executive produces, for a sci-fi thriller with Morgan Freeman and Kate Mara directed by Wally Pfister, Nolan's longtime cinematographer. Depp plays a   scientist who focuses on sentient artificial intelligence. Once he gets shot by an anarchist group, Rift, his injuries force his partner, played by Rebecca Hall, to move his consciousness to a computer. Depp's becomes the thing he strived to prove could exist, and then chaos, of course, with the army and guns and some Skynet-inspired techno-terror.

Depp wearing his serious shoes for the first time in a long time is a welcome sight to behold. Hopefully the movie delivers when it debuts in theaters on April 18, 2014.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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