Johnny Depp by Eamonn McCormack/, Heath Ledger by J. Vespa/ Johnny Depp by Eamonn McCormack/, Heath Ledger by J. Vespa/

From Bela Lugosi's heart attack during Plan 9 from Outer Space and Natalie Wood's drowning midway through Brainstorm to Brandon Lee's fatal shooting on the set of The Crow, a number of productions have had to work around the unexpected death of a leading actor. Now it seems Terry Gilliam, the director of Heath Ledger's last project, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, may have found a most creative way around his own tragic dilemma. According to Ain't It Cool News, Ledger's role in the film will now be played by not one but three alternating replacements: Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

Not much is known about the plot of the film, but Ledger's character has been described as a man in love with a young woman whose soul has been sold to the devil by her father, the traveling showman of the title, in exchange for eternal youth. No word yet on how the rather extreme differences in the four actors' looks will be explained.

If any one could pull this off, it's the imaginative and daring Gilliam, who also directed Ledger in 2005's The Brothers Grimm, but it sounds to me like a risky gambit. This could be either a touching tribute from a director and trio of fellow actors, or a confusing disaster. What do you think?