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‘Transcendence’ Revealed: Johnny Depp to Play Supercomputer (Exclusive)

Johnny Depp's highly guarded sci-fi film "Transcendence" — from the team behind "Inception" — will delve into the cutting edge of science, from nanotechnology to singularity

Johnny Depp will play a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer in the highly anticipated film, “Transcendence,” the movie's producer told TheWrap exclusively.

“Transcendence,” plot details of which have been shrouded in secrecy, comes from the team behind the time-bending thriller “Inception”: Christopher Nolan is executive producing, and his longtime cinematograher, Oscar-winner Wally Pfister, will direct "Transcendence" as his first feature. The story is by Jack Paglen.

According to a recent script summary obtained by TheWrap, the plot involves a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer with the aim of creating the world’s first machine that can think for itself.

The film's producer, Andrew Kosove, confirmed in an interview with TheWrap on Tuesday: “It is true Johnny Depp’s brain is uploaded into a computer."

Kosove also confirmed that singularity, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence are important to the script.

A spokesman for Alcon, which is producing the film, cautioned that any script summary might be outdated and is subject to future revisions.

Both Warner Bros., which is distributing the film domestically, and Lionsgate, which is distributing internationally, referred questions to Alcon. A spokesman for Warners Bros.  declined to comment on what he called "speculation."

The summary obtained by TheWrap has many details about the futuristic story. In it, three scientists — Max and the husband-and-wife team of Will and Evelyn — have been developing a programming code for the world’s first fully self-aware computer.

Depp will play one of the lead scientists, Will. The other two roles have not yet been cast.

However, a swirl of potential cast names have been circulating around the project. Kosove told TheWrap that Ewan McGregor had passed on an early draft, and that Tom Hardy — a friend of Pfister's — was not available due to scheduling. He said that despite published reports, Noomi Rapace is not in the running for a role, and that Kate Winslet is not available.

According to the summary, a group of anti-technology terrorists assassinate Will, and Evelyn uploads his brain into a prototype supercomputer. Although she at first finds that the experiment seems to have gone wrong, before long, Evelyn finds Will responding in computer form.

She goes on to connect Will to the Internet so he can help make further scientific breakthroughs. Will asks Evelyn to connect a microphone and a camera to the computer so he can see and speak to her as well.

Will creates a backup of himself to every computer in the world, and furthers his work through accessing online indexes. (Kosove told TheWrap this plot point is no longer in the script.) When the anti-technology organization finds out, they try to steal the supercomputer and destroy it, but Will no longer needs the computer to survive.

Kosove is producing the film with Broderick Johnson, Kate Cohen, Annie Marter, Marisa Polvino and David Valdes, with Nolan and Emma Thomas executive producing. The production is by Alcon Entertainment and Straight Up Films.