December 09, 2016

Johnny Depp will play Whitey Bulger in Black Mass

Johnny Depp headshot 600x300

An adaptation of the Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob has been in the works for some time now, always intending to have Johnny Depp play the centerpiece role of mob boss Whitey Bulger (the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Departed was loosely based on Bulger, just so you know). Barry Levinson was initially going to be in the director’s chair, with Depp having Joel Edgerton as his main co-star. That never came to pass though, with some reports indicating that Depp wanted more money than was being offered. He officially dropped out at one point, but now that the film has a new director in Scott Cooper, it seems that Depp is back in for this. At this moment at least, Black Mass is a go.

"The Lone Ranger" Berlin Premiere - Arrivals
This time around, Depp will have the aforementioned Cooper directing and Edgerton’s Warrior co-star Tom Hardy in the other role. While Depp will undoubtedly have some fun playing the mob boss (or at least more fun than he had with the role of John Dillinger in Public Enemies), Hardy will get the juicy sounding part of FBI John Connolly, who apparently was a longtime friend of Bulger’s. Not your standard issue crime flick, for sure, or at least from the sound of it.

Could this wind up being a return to Oscar contention for Depp? One certainly hopes so, as he’s too talented of an actor to pigeonhole himself into the oddball roles he’s been occupying over the last few years. As for Hardy, he’s been getting closer and closer to his first Academy Award nomination, so perhaps this could do the trick for him as well. We’re only a few months away from production getting underway in May, so most likely this will be a 2015 release. I don’t know about you all, but I’m very curious to see how this one turns out. The pieces are there for an awards contender, that’s for sure!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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