Johnny Depp will play Tonto in Disney's previously announced The Lone
Ranger project and has signed on to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in a fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean instalment, attendees heard at today's [September 24] Walt Disney Studios Showcase in Hollywood.

Depp, who will also star as The Mad Hatter for Tim Burton in Disney's Alice In Wonderland, took to the stage at the Kodak Theatre to the delight of studio executives, exhibitors and commercial partners. Jerry Bruckheimer will produce The Lone Ranger and is out to casting for the eponymous lead role.

In other news to emerge from the day-long slate presentation, Helen Mirren and Miramax will reunite following their Oscar winning collaboration on The Queen in the spy drama The Debt. Miramax president Daniel Battsek announced that Mirren will play a Mossad secret agent in post-World War II Berlin. John Madden will direct and the project is set to begin shooting in early 2009.

Showcase host and Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said Disney was developing a third instalment in the National Treasure franchise with Bruckheimer that will once again star Nicolas Cage, while Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of Walt Disney Animation Studio's The Princess And The Frog. Winfrey will play the mother of Princess Tiana's character, voiced by Dreamgirls' Anika Noni Rose, and the film is set to open on December 25, 2009.

Animation chief John Lasseter previewed the upcoming animation slate and told the crowd that Pixar has created a series of short films based on its hugely popular Cars release. The so-called Cars Toon films will either precede theatrical features or air on the Disney Channel. Cars 2 will open in summer 2011.

Cook introduced a near-complete version of November's 3D animated family film Bolt, as well as raw footage from The Prince Of Persia and the Tron reboot featuring Jeff Bridges, along with numerous trailers.

There were celebrity appearances from Jim Carrey and Robert Zemeckis promoting A Christmas Carol which will open at Christmas 2009 and features Carrey in seven roles, Sandra Bullock talking up the June 19 2009 release of the romantic comedy The Proposal, Dwayne Johnson for March 13 2009's The Race To Witch Mountain, and Zac Efron and cast members on the Disney Channel adaptation High School Musical 3: Senior Year, set to open on October 24.

Attendees also watched live musical performances by Miley Cyrus, whose Hannah Montana The Movie opens on May 1 2009, as well as Dr John and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.