Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp is in negotiations to star in Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister's directorial debut, Transcendence, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove. With principal photography set to begin early next year, Alcon will release through its output deal with Warner Bros.

The screenplay, written by newcomer Jack Paglen, was developed by Annie Marter and Straight Up Films, whose company principals include Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Regency Boies. Polvino, Marter and Cohen will produce along with David Valdes (The Book of Eli), Johnson and Kosove. Boies will co-produce. The plot is being kept under wraps.

Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers on Transcendence, which will be financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment.

Depp has been nominated for three Oscars for his work in the films Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl, Finding Neverland, and Sweeney Todd. He will next be seen in The Lone Ranger for Walt Disney Studios.

Pfister, who won an Oscar for his cinematography for Inception, is well known for his work on projects with Christopher Nolan. His collaboration with Nolan has spanned seven films, beginning in 1999 with Memento, and earning him his three Oscar nominations and one win.

Pfister recently completed The Dark Knight Rises with Nolan and served as the cinematographer on last year's best picture nominee, Moneyball. Other credits include such films as The Italian Job and Laurel Canyon.

Here's what Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove had to say about the announcement.

"Johnny Depp is one of the most charismatic, talented actors imaginable and we are delighted he is with us on this project."

Wally Pfister had this to say about the star of his directorial debut.

"I'm thrilled, and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Johnny. He is a creative and intelligent artist whom I feel will bring great depth to the character and the overall narrative."