January 11, 2008 / 9:25 AM / 12 years ago

Bale on Depp's trail in "Public Enemies"

Christian Bale attends the premiere of "3:10 to Yuma" at the Mann National theatre in Westwood, California August 21, 2007. Bale is in talks to join Johnny Depp in "Public Enemies," director Michael Mann's Depression-era crime drama. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Christian Bale is in talks to join Johnny Depp in “Public Enemies,” director Michael Mann’s Depression-era crime drama.

An adaptation of Bryan Burrough’s book “Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-43,” the Universal Pictures project follows the government’s attempt to stop the criminals John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Depp is playing Dillinger.

Bale would play Melvin Purvis, who led the FBI’s manhunt for Dillinger and captured more public enemies than any other agent in FBI history.

It was Purvis who uttered, “Stick ‘em up, Johnny” when he confronted Dillinger outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre in 1934, moments before the gangster was shot dead by FBI agents. Ben Johnson played Purvis in the 1973 movie “Dillinger.”

Production is due to start later this winter in Chicago and other Midwest locales. The job is not expected to conflict with Bale’s commitment to play John Connor in the fourth “Terminator movie, “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins,” which will follow “Enemies.”

Bale will next be seen in this summer’s Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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