There are a ton of films this year that while conceptually exciting, will remain a bit nebulous until a trailer of some sort gives us a peek at what’s in store. This is true for no 2011 film more that Hugo Cabret, which will be a 3D family epic from Martin Scorsese, and apparently will feature a few scenes with producer Johnny Depp actually taking an on-screen role. Depp has long been a producer on the project, but his role as Monsieur Rouleau is new info that comes along with this picture of Depp in the film, originating from JoBlo.

Depp will join Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, and Asa Butterfield along with Scorsese’s new Boardwalk Empire buddies Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Pitt in the film. The part is not large (it was shot in less than a week) but it is that of a painter that helps the children at a train station.

Scorsese and crew are taking 3D very seriously, supposedly employing nearly two dozen Arri ALEXA cameras in beam-splitting (vertical, as opposed to side-by-side) 3D rigs. The ALEXA is among the latest generation of hardcore digital motion picture cameras that have absolutely insane low-light capabilities, as well as stereoscopic support and other incredible new features. Along with the new RED cameras and sensors (used on The Amazing Spider, The Hobbit, and many more), Hollywood has truly gone digital, and many of the greatest working cinematographers aren’t looking back. For Hugo Cabret this dedication to the lastest technology is right in line with the spirit of the book itself, which is heavily influenced by the work and imagination of George Méliès, one of the earliest special effects focused directors. The book itself is also a multi-media experience that blends prose with pictures in a fascinating way, and seems to have inspired Scorsese to bring an equally varied set of techniques to the screen.

We learned earlier in the year that the studio would be shifting the release of Hugo Cabret to earlier in the year- November 9th, a somewhat crowded family weekend. One has to hope that’s a sign of confidence, and they’ll need it to go up against the felt monolith that will be the new Muppets film. Adding Johnny Depp certainly gives Cabret one more name with which to compete with the star-packed roster of The Muppets. August 9th should be a good weekend for high quality kids cinema.

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Steadiseg Photo from Definition Mag