Johnny Depp Is 'The Hand Of Dante' For Adventure Epic

Johnny DeppPirate, sadistic barber, Mad Hatter, producer -- there's nothing Johnny Depp can't be at any given time. According to Variety, he's switched his mad hat for the producing one, as his shingle Infinitum Nihil has optioned Nick Tosches' book, "In the Hand of Dante." The novel will be adapted as a potential star vehicle for Depp, thus ensuring teenage girls and women the world over will suddenly develop an interest in Dante.

Tosches' novel is a gutsy one, as it casts the author himself as a sort of DaVinci Code/Indiana Jones-like hero. As Tosches bitterly muses on his own career and the nature of publishing, a gangster named Louie presents him with a stolen manuscript of Dante's "The Divine Comedy." He wants him to authenticate it, leading Tosches on a whirlwind quest that spans the globe, takes a few twists and turns, and causes a few dead bodies along the way.

In quieter moments, Tosches ponders the career of the medieval poet, and the book flashes back to Dante trying to find the inspiration to complete his own life's work. Depp would play Tosches and not Dante, so his fans won't have to read "The Divine Comedy" to prove their love.

The book did not receive very good reviews when it was published in 2002 -- but is there anything Depp can't improve? The schizophrenic and bold style is a perfect fit for Depp, who will be able to put his unique spin on the character. And who doesn't want to see him take on the mob?

Do you count yourself a fan of the book? If so (or even if not!), how does the thought of Depp as the hero character strike you?