Earlier this year Warner Bros. picked up the Johnny Depp-starring Whitey Bulger biopic from Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace writer/director Scott Cooper (currently going by the working title Black Mass), with an eye on releasing the film in fall 2015. The studio has finally settled on an official release date for the project, which is in the midst of production but just last week, formally added Kevin Bacon (The Following) to its already noteworthy roster of talented character actors.
Black Mass is set to arrive in theaters on September 18th, 2015, which is the same date that Universal has staked out for its mountain expedition thriller, Everest. Cooper’s film joins such other projects as Steven Spielberg’s currently untitled true story-based Cold War drama, F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, and David O. Russell’s next Jennifer Lawrence vehicle Joy, in the lineup of higher-brow historical fare releasing next year.
For Depp, the drama about Boston’s most infamous crime boss in recent memory – the inspiration behind Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed among other film mobster types – will be his second starring vehicle of 2015, following the release of David Koepp’s caper novel adaptation, Mortdecai, during the first quarter of the year.
Both films should feature less colorful turns by Depp compared to his recent costume-heavy performances, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a quality performance (see: his underwhelming work in Transcendence earlier this year). Still, it would be nice to see Depp regain his footing, after having become somewhat pigeon-holed as an actor over the past ten years (i.e. since the first Pirates of the Caribbean film made him a leading man in blockbuster material) – especially since in 2016 he could wind up heading back to two familiar Disney wells, should Pirates of the Caribbean 5 get a green-light along with Alice in Wonderland 2.
Beyond that, Black Mass boasts an impressive supporting cast, headed up by Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) as John Connolly – the FBI agent who for years granted Bulger immunity, in return for information about his fellow Boston mob-types. Other cast members include Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) as Bulger’s onetime wife and Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) portraying Bulger’s brother – along with Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Sienna Miller (American Sniper), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Julianne Nicholson (Masters of Sex), and Rory Cochran (Oculus).
Black Mass will be arriving during a time of year when adult dramas tend to have an easier time finding an audience, before 2015’s late fall/early winter awards-contenders/blockbusters rush begins. If all goes well, then Depp’s real-life gangster flick could perform as well financially as his last venture into the sub-genre with Public Enemies, or perhaps Ben Affleck’s crime/thriller The Town – where the late Pete Postlethwaite also played a crime boss inspired by the actual Whitey Bulger, fittingly enough.
Black Mass opens in U.S. theaters on September 18th, 2015.
Source: Warner Bros.