By Anthony Breznican
May 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM EDT
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Picture a combination of Finding Neverland and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

That’s sort of what Johnny Depp has in mind for a new biopic of Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Geisel, with the movie plunging into the imagination of the author to see his creative process unfold through interaction with his most famous characters.

“A lot of writers I know have a tendency to talk to themselves or talk as the character — and then talk as the other character. You know what I mean? They can have a whole dialogue with themselves,” Depp tells EW. “There’s something interesting about bringing these characters to life and maybe even witnessing him have a relationship with them.”

The movie is still in the development phase, so it’s too soon to say which iconic Seuss characters would turn up, but safe bets would be the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and the Lorax — the stars of three of his most beloved stories.

Geisel, of course, had a rich history beyond his storybooks, working throughout World War II as a prolific political cartoonist, which was chronicled in the 1999 book Dr. Seuss Goes to War. Depp said he’s interested in the author and illustrator’s whole life.

“This is the man who created all these incredible characters that every single one of us grew up with and loved,” Depp says. “What was going on inside his mind? What was his life all about — all the way up to the end? How did he feel about it, how did he feel about those characters, and how did he live?”

Depp is producing the movie with his sister, Christi Dembrowski, his partner in the company Infinitum Nihil, and they have joined forces with Christopher Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, which made this year’s blockbuster version of The Lorax and is developing a new animated version of The Cat in the Hat. Meledandri previously turned Horton Hears a Who! into a film, and has strong ties with Geisel’s widow, Audrey, who oversees her late husband’s estate.

Depp said he and his sister have been in touch with Ms. Geisel “and she was very keen to do something together.”

There’s no schedule yet for starting or releasing the Universal Pictures film, but since it’s still the very early stages, make your own voice heard about which characters should appear …

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