Johnny Depp Back Onboard for Gangster Biopic ‘Black Mass’; Tom Hardy in Talks

Published 1 year ago by

Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary Johnny Depp Back Onboard for Gangster Biopic Black Mass; Tom Hardy in Talks

Ben Affleck is still planning to make a biopic about infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, featuring his buddy Matt Damon as the lead and a script written by Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street), with revisions from Aaron Stockard (The Town). However, before that happens, Affleck is going to play the Caped Crusader in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, then will shoot the period crime drama/adaptation Live By Night for a 2015 theatrical release.

Meanwhile, fellow Bulger flick Black Mass is moving forward once again. The project hit a snag on its way down the production pipeline last year, when attached star Johnny Depp stepped away following a breakdown in salary negotiations; soon thereafter, the film also lost its director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bugsy) and costar Joel Edgerton (Jane Got a Gun), but it has since then replaced the former and looks to recruit another respected character actor to fill the hole left by Edgerton.

Deadline is reporting that Depp has finally sealed a deal to play Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, with Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) directing and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) in talks to play John Connolly – the role previously reserved for Edgerton. The script by Mark Mallouk (executive producer on Rush) examines Bulger’s reign as Boston’s top-dog crime kingpin – while he played informant to the FBI via his childhood friend Mr. Connolly – on through to the 16 years he spent as a fugitive from the U.S. government, after being tipped off about a pending federal indictment against him.

Production on Black Mass will begin this upcoming May, which gives Depp sufficient time to finish playing duplicitous art dealer Charles Mortdecai in the madcap caper Mortdecai adaptation. Thereafter, Depp will reprise his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and then reprise as the aloof Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland sequel (a.k.a. Through the Looking Glass), both of which are slated to open in theaters in Summer 2016.

Tom Hardy in Inception1 570x294 Johnny Depp Back Onboard for Gangster Biopic Black Mass; Tom Hardy in Talks

Tom Hardy is in talks for ‘Black Mass’

Cooper, as a storyteller, is big on creating gritty visions of worlds populated by colorful, yet humanized archetypes, be they Jeff Bridges’ boozing musician in Crazy Heart or the various lower-class citizens that populate the Rust Belt setting from Out of the Furnace. On those grounds, he’s a logical choice to have capture the outlandish (yet also very much dark and disturbing) nature of Bulger’s existence onscreen, with Black Mass.

Depp has always specialized in taking eccentric character roles and fleshing them out beyond caricature; Bulger very much lies within his wheelhouse, yet presents enough of a change of pace from Depp’s recent work that (hopefully) his performance won’t unfold as a best-of-compilation of past offerings (see: his turn in Dark Shadows). Hardy is just icing on the cake, as he’s continued to prove himself as a chamelon-like performer in recent years (see also: Inception, Warrior, Lawless, and so forth), and his involvement would only be a gain for Black Mass.

Indeed, Black Mass is one of a handful of upcoming Depp projects that sounds intriguing, along with this spring’s sci-fi thriller Transcendence¬†from director Wall Pfister (Oscar-winning cinematographer of The Dark Knight trilogy). Let us know if you agree and/or if you’re more interested in seeing Affleck/Damon’s Whitey Bulger project, in the comments section.


We’ll keep you posted on the status of Black Mass as more information is made available.

Source: Deadline

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Black mass
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  1. Johnny Dipp is in this? Well, they spelled the title wrong. “Mess” is spelled with an “e”!
    Lock it in jail and throw away the key.

    • You used the same lame joke for a comment on an article about this movie before. Depp is great when the direction and script are great so don’t talk as if he is the reason why his latest movies were medicore.

      • Same lame joke….looks like good classics deserve repeating! After Dark Shadows’ mess, and maybe the Lone Ranger, I don’t have to go back any farther to say he and his buddy Burton need to quit their jobs as movie people and get a job selling Slurpees and Big Gulps at the local 7-11, something they are probably adequately capable of doing!

        • Lol, They have $$$$$ in their banks more than you’ll ever earn in 1000 lifetimes so no they can make movies as much as they want and you can keep hiding behind your computer screen and hating because they couldn’t give a crap about you and what you say.

  2. so glad that Johnny Depp is going back to a Gangsta role and put aside those corny characters he always plays.

    Tom Hardy?…sign him!

    • +1

    • How can he put them aside, he can only do one character.

      • You clearly haven’t seen much of his movies, have you? How exactly were Sweeney Todd, Jack Sparrow, James Barrie, Donnie Brasco, John Dillnger one character? All of his characters are nothing like each others. Don’t talk about a talented actor’s abilities when you saw like 2 movies of him.

  3. Johnny Depp’s is talented. He did a fine job in Donnie Brasco. A practical choice. And yes, yes, definitely Tom Hardy! But, why in the hell no Joel Edgerton? Especially, to have him on screen w/Hardy again. They are awesome together! I say that boldly just from Warrior alone. Anyone who questions Tom Hardy’s ability needs to watch: The Take, Warrior, Inception, and random clips of his other films(Wuthering Heights, Colditz,) AND THEN watch him as Bane. He works hard and faithfully. Like soul of the character practically takes over him. Joel Edgerton was awesome in Warrior and Great Gatsby. I have not seen him in any other big roles. But I can tell Edgerton works hard to grasp the nature of the character like Hardy. I see Joel Edgerton playing an Irish cop or gangster. Especially, a cop struggling between practicing justice or being loyal to his home town. As for directors go…Affleck’s version is more likely going to perceived as “based on a true story”. After all, as a native of Boston he is loyal to its history. But his casting choices will most likely undermine his work.
    As for this other director, who did Out of the Furnace, well just watch out of the furnace. It not so bad. But very clich√©, copies other movies, like Deer Hunter and Warrior…in a strange way. Casey Affleck is okay but not in depth as Tom Hardy! I heard Casey Affleck didn’t even want to try to learn the accent, regional accent that is, for his character. What’s worse, he ragged on the community where it was filmed. He said they talked too weird and hearing that on the big screen would be confusing. Warrior, was filmed and set in same area as Out of the Furnace. People from that community said Tom Hardy (British) and Joel Edgerton (Australian) lived amongst the community and went to dialect couches for months. Other people love this director, Scott Cooper though. At least he finally realized go to Tom Hardy for the big boy roles. But not including Joel Edgerton was foolish. I’d bet money on Edgerton. Find a role for him! American films desperately need less casting of the same old, lame-ass, Hollywood stars. Guess, Hollywood studios don’t learn. An all star cast may ensure profit but it’s a slap in the face to everyone involved. Eventually, it drains the heart out of storytelling, neglects raw emotions and desensitizes audiences. Also, once talented actors become annoying and over-rated. We certainly don’t need any more glamorization of the career criminal, over the top action, or gore in our pop culture.This narrative should come from the heart, embracing the realities of these character’s and their consequences. So, with all this in mind, I say to both directors- think talent, fresh faces, nuances and empathy. We need method actors. Lastly and most of all, Hollywood studios should be banned from even looking at either projects never mind having any decision making powers. Directors, have to have guts. God damn it, join together and raise money…do something. Just keep their greedy hands out of it. I am born and raised in America, live in new England and I say please, please, let the British and Australians handle this. I don’t care if this is a tale for patriotic Boston.